Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a well-tested specialized type of psychotherapy shown to be effective for certain types of psychiatric illnesses. CBT suggests that individuals' thoughts, behaviors, and feelings are inextricably linked and affect one another. The goal of CBT is to control and change thinking, actions, and feelings through collection and use of observable data. Homework assignments and peer group reflections help in that process.
In CBT sessions with patients, we first try to identify the maladaptive thoughts and then use logic and data to rethink those thoughts. For example, a person may think, “I’m worthless. I’m a terrible person. I’m going to get fired from my job.” By using CBT skills, a patient would first identify the thought and then figure out what emotion that brings up. In this case, if a person were to lose his or her job, he or she may be depressed or anxious. After identifying the emotion, we look at the validity of the thought by collecting data.
For example, we ask the individual, “How have you done in the past?” and “What are your supervisor reports?” After collecting data, we look at the probability of that event actually happening and realize the unlikelihood of it taking place. By using CBT skills to evaluate the situation, the individual becomes less despairing, depressed and anxious.
Benefits of CBT for Depression, Anxiety & Mood Disorders
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy works well for individuals diagnosed with depressive disorders and anxiety disorders. Within anxiety disorders, CBT treats obsessive compulsive personality traits, phobias, social anxiety, generalized anxiety and, to some extent, post-traumatic stress disorder.
CBT focuses on what a person is experiencing here and now; it is not focused on going back and reviewing the hurts of your childhood. This form of therapy is time-limited, meaning there are a limited number of therapy sessions in which patients learn a new skill set and how to incorporate it in their own lives.
Our CBT recovery community is led by clinicians with specialized expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy. Ultimately, clients learning CBT develop skills to prevent mood problems, intrusive thoughts, and problematic behaviors from diminishing their quality of life.