The Fundamentals of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is a treatment approach that is based on a combination of basic cognitive and behavioral techniques and principles. It is often used to address an array of dysfunctional cognitive processes and emotional behaviors. In essence, it is an action-oriented and problem-focused strategy that professional therapists use to help patients deal with certain problems that they are going through. These problems often range from depression and anxiety to other more complex psychiatric issues that patients need to deal with.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy utilizes an array of structured psychotherapy methods as a reference to the issues that the patient goes through. A survey made on more or less 2,300 psychologists in the US found that nearly 70% use CBT in combination with other treatment methods to treat anxiety and depression. CBT is also a major psychotherapy paradigm taught to students taking psychology graduate degree programs.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy stems from the idea that human beings are innately irrational. Whenever they assess the benefits and risks of different scenarios and courses of their actions and thoughts, they tend to make plenty of illogical errors. All these factors can lead these people to display emotions that are out of their control like depression and anger. Aside from these two issues, CBT is also used to treat an array of more complex issues of the mind. These include PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder, ADHD, OCD, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, substance abuse, and others.
When therapists use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as their treatment approach to their patients, they must make sure to establish a good rapport with them. Only by building rapport with the patient can the entire treatment program be effective. Therapists and patients can establish good rapport when they have matching personality types as well as good communication skills. For CBT to work, the therapist and patient must work hand-in-hand to discuss patient issues as well as the patient’s reasoning and thinking for the actions and thoughts that they have around these issues. The primary goal of CBT is to change the patient’s thinking patterns so that they will deal with these issues using fewer chronically negative emotional states.
CBT has excellent scientific data support for its use in the clinical treatment of patients suffering from mental health issues. For this reason, the National Alliance for Mental Health favors its use. Also, it is widely popular among mental health patients and therapists alike. An increasing number of psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, and social workers are also getting training for CBT.
According to research studies on CBT effectiveness, this treatment approach is effective in treating an array of disorders. These studies are carried out in a well-controlled setting. Data from these studies are also sufficiently analyzed. With the results, they very much speak for themselves. For instance, CBT has been found to offer more advantages in the treatment for patients with bipolar disorder. With CBT, patients suffering from bipolar disorder have fewer hospital days, lower rates of self-injurious or para-suicidal behavior, and lower rates of suicide.
Mental health professionals spend years of education and training to practice CBT. However, some still practice this treatment approach without any solid background and training. Before getting these sessions from any CBT therapist, make sure to check their educational background, training, and professional associations.