WHAT IS - CBT?
What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
If you have been interested in therapy, there is probably a high chance that you’ve come across the recommendation of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
According to the American Psychological Association, CBT is a form of psychological treatment (also known as talk therapy) that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use problems, marital issues, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. Its popularity stems from the results, which show a significant improvement in an individual's functioning and quality of life.
CBT is based on several core principles, including (1) any psychological problems based on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking, (2) psychological problems based on learned patterns of unhelpful behaviour, and lastly (3) people suffering from psychological problems who can learn better ways of coping by relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives!
How does CBT help with anxiety and depression?
CBT specializes in helping individuals become more aware of any outstanding negative patterns in their life and how to adjust them, which can help them to reframe their thinking during moments of heightened anxiety or panic attacks.
For example, you may be struggling with feelings of worthlessness as a result of your parents verbally abusing while you were growing up, which can lead you to obsess over your flaws. CBT would focus on assisting you with overcoming these negative beliefs about yourself, and then replace them with more positive qualities for overall, more balanced thoughts. This can be a delicate process since traumatic experiences are involved in this scenario; therapists are trained to strategically create a plan that can help individuals to tackle anxiety and unhealed trauma.
In terms of depression, CBT helps modify thought patterns to change your moods and behaviours. Since CBT is a goal-based therapy, it does require problem-solving and homework exercises to help individuals apply what they learned to their life outside of therapy. Therapists challenge the client’s depressive thinking patterns that are leading to inaction or self-harming behaviours. By targeting both thoughts and actions, CBT aims to change individuals' feelings and perspective of themselves!
What to expect when doing CBT?
When doing CBT, it is a common procedure to sit down with your therapist and discuss long term goals, the issues/challenges you want to tackle, and your overall expectations. During treatment, your therapist will help you focus on what you feel and think now, and methods to change it, which can require reflecting on the past.
It’s important to recognize that treatment can vary, but it typically lasts 10-20 sessions. Sometimes people go for a few sessions, and they address everything that they wanted to resolve; while others may attend sessions for more than a year. Treatment is completely individual and is different for every person regardless of when they share the same mental health concern like depression.
How does CBT improve relationship(s)?
1. When you work on reducing your anxiety, negative thought patterns, and rumination; it helps you to be more present with those around you, which can ultimately increase closeness and intimacy!
2. Within CBT you are practice emotional stability exercises which help to improve your mood and to balance your thoughts better!
3. CBT encourages healthier thought patterns. Even if you're not managing a diagnosable condition, the tools of CBT can have powerful positive effects on our relationships.
4. By building healthier thought patterns, you will find it easier to regulate intense emotions. This can improve your understanding of your own feelings and your partner(s), which may improve communication.
Where do I go from here?
CBT is a powerful tool in the mental health world that is effective in treating many mental health disorders. We believe that CBT provides great skill sets that support clients in improving communication that enhances their intimate relationships.