What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

The cognitive-behavioral model describes how an individual’s perceptions or spontaneous thoughts about situations influence emotional, behavioral, and physiological reactions. When distressed, it is common for thoughts to become inaccurate or dysfunctional. Those who participate in CBT can learn to identify and evaluate their “automatic thoughts”, which occur instantaneously as a response to an internal or external cue from past negative experiences. Such thoughts are also referred to as cognitive distortions. CBT looks at thought patterns and beliefs that can contribute to self-destructive behaviors. Essentially, it teaches people to modify the way they think in order to redirect or prevent cognitive distortions.

In treatment, learning occurs to correct cognitive distortions so that it more closely resembles reality. When they do so, mental health symptoms generally decrease over time. While traditional talk therapy can go on indefinitely and its duration is often left to the patient to decide, CBT more often has a fixed timeline of typically 10–20 sessions.

This treatment approach is a collaborative effort between the therapist and the client. Cognitive-behavioral therapists seek to learn what their clients want out of life. Beginning with identifying these goals and then supporting their clients in achieving them. Therapists are present to listen, teach, support, and encourage. The client’s role is to express concerns, learn, and implement the techniques explored in sessions. Those who complete CBT as treatment generally report increased satisfaction in their relationships, independence, and self-confidence.

Types of conditions commonly treated with CBT include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Substance abuse disorders

We offer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at Healing Conversations Counseling, please let us know if you think this would be beneficial to you. We would be happy to set you up with an appointment to get started.