Developed in the 1960s by Dr. Aaron Beck, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a structured, time-limited, and goal-oriented type of psychotherapy that numerous studies have proven to be effective for the treatment of a wide variety of mental health conditions. CBT’s basic premise is that it is a person’s interpretation of a situation—and not the situation itself—that dictates the way they feel and behave.
CBT is geared toward helping people understand that although it is not possible to control every aspect of the world around them, they can control how they perceive and deal with their own circumstances. CBT sessions are designed to help people recognize thought patterns that are potentially self-defeating, evaluate them, and reframe or reconceptualize them in a way that can lead to positive feelings and functional behaviors.
This article aims to help you get a better grasp of cognitive-behavioral therapy, particularly how it can help you if you’re dealing with any of the mental health issues mentioned below.
Mental Health Disorders CBT Can Help With
These are some of the mental health disorders that could benefit from CBT:
- Anxiety disorders- panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, phobias, etc.
- Mood disorders- major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder, etc.
- Eating disorders- anorexia, binge-eating disorder, and bulimia
- Trauma- or stress-related disorders- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder, etc.
- Substance use disorders- drugs, alcohol, or medications
Studies show that CBT is just as effective as medications and provides greater benefit for these conditions when combined with the latter. However, unlike medications, CBT works to instill skills that you can apply to your daily life and that stay with you even after your treatment.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques
The following are some of the most commonly used techniques in CBT. It’s important to take note that not all of these will be incorporated into your treatment plan and that your mental health provider may use other techniques not listed below.
Your mental health provider will work with you to assess and develop an understanding of your unique situation and specific mental health issue and develop a treatment strategy that works best for you.
This involves you observing your own thoughts, emotions, body sensations, and behaviors. This helps you recognize negative automatic thoughts (NAT)— which are a kind of negative self-talk that pops in your head instantaneously in response to a trigger— and understand the connection between these thoughts and your emotions, body sensations, and behaviors.
This helps improve your ability to cope with stressful situations. It consists of the following steps:
- Determining a problem
- Generating potential solutions
- Assessing the weaknesses and strengths of each potential solution
- Choosing a solution to execute
- Implementing the solution
This equips you to navigate potentially difficult situations and tackle problematic interactions with other people.
4.) Exposure therapy
Your therapist will use this to help you if you’re dealing with anxiety, panic disorder, PTSD, or phobia. This involves your therapist gradually exposing you to the things that provoke anxiety or fear while providing you with guidance on how to effectively cope with them at the moment.
5.) Relaxation and stress reduction techniques
Your mental health provider may teach you progressive relaxation techniques, such as imagery and deep breathing exercises, as well as practical skills to help you effectively manage stress and improve your sense of control.
Your therapist can help you develop goal-setting skills by teaching you how to identify what you want to achieve and your starting point; know the difference between short- and long-term goals; establish specific, attainable, and relevant goals; and work on the entire process as much as you do your desired outcome.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Danville, Martinsville, and Richmond, VA
At Epic Health Partners, our team of highly qualified and empathetic counselors and social workers offers cognitive behavioral therapy as part of our commitment to helping people dealing with various mental health issues find the confidence, power, and strength they need to live the lives they want.
We will work closely with you to provide you with education about human behavior and emotions, help you recognize signs of negative thought patterns, and teach you healthy coping skills and other strategies to help you remain in control of your life. We may combine CBT with medications to help you achieve the best possible treatment outcome.
Schedule a consultation with one of our providers today by calling us at (434) 835-4601. You may also fill out this appointment request form, and our staff member will contact you as soon as possible to confirm your visit.