Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Explained

Are you unsure about what Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is? We go through the different types, techniques and what it can help with.
What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Explained

Tags – What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapeutic treatment which helps patients learn how to identify negative thought patterns and change them into positive behaviours and emotions.

As such, CBT focuses on changing negative thoughts that occur as an automatic response to certain situations that contribute to, and worsen, mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.

So, through CBT, thoughts are identified and challenged, then replaced with more positive, more realistic thoughts.

That said, let’s take a look at the different types of CBT, the techniques used and what mental health disorders it can help with.

Types of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

CBT includes a whole range of different approaches to address thought patterns, emotions and behaviours.

And these can range from more structured psychotherapies to self-help, at home materials.

1. Cognitive Therapy

This centres around identifying and changing distorted thinking patterns, emotional responses and behaviours.

2. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

This addresses negative thoughts and behaviours but incorporates strategies like mindfulness and emotional regulation.

3. Multimodal Therapy

This suggests mental health issues need to be treated by addressing 7 interconnected modalities: behaviour, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal factors and drug considerations.

4. Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT)

This involves identifying irrational thoughts, challenging these and then learning how to recognise and change them.

Overall, even though each type of these therapies above take a different approach, they all work to address the underlying thought patterns that contribute to your mental wellbeing.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Techniques

Due to the fact that CBT is about identifying negative thought patterns, there are a wide range of techniques and strategies used to help people overcome these.

For example, these could include writing in a journal, role-playing, techniques to learn how to relax and mental distractions.

1. Identifying Negative Thoughts

The main reason why it’s important to identify negative thoughts and feelings is to understand how it affects mood and behaviour.

And whilst this process can be difficult for some, it can help to lead to self-discovery and insights which is an essential part of your recovery.

2. Practicing New Skills

At the same time, it’s important to practice new skills that your therapist suggests as these can then be applied to real life settings.

For instance, if a patient has a problem with drug abuse, they can practice coping skills to deal with social situations that could trigger a relapse.

3. Setting Goals

Setting goals is crucial when it comes to your recovery and helping you to make positive life changes to improve your mental wellbeing.

During your sessions, your therapist can help you to set goals by teaching you how to identify a goal, understand the difference between long and short term goals, and set SMART goals to help you stay focused on the end outcome.

4. Problem Solving

Learning how to solve problems that arise from life stressors will help to reduce the negative impact these have on your mental state.

In CBT, there are 5 steps to problem solving:

  1. Identifying the problem
  2. Creating a list of solutions
  3. Weighing up the strengths and weaknesses of each solution
  4. Choosing the solution
  5. Implementing the solution

5. Self-monitoring 

Sometimes referred to as diary work, self-monitoring works to track your behaviours, symptoms and experiences over time, and then sharing these with your therapist at your next session.

By doing so, this provides extra information to your therapist so they can provide the best treatment for you.

For instance, if a patient is suffering from an eating disorder, self-monitoring can include keeping a track of everything they’ve consumed and how they felt at that time.

What Mental Health Disorders Can CBT Help With?

CBT can be used as a short term treatment to help people focus on present thoughts and beliefs, rather than looking at the past.

And, it is used to treat a whole range of mental health disorders, which include:

  • Addiction
  • Anger management
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Panic attacks
  • Personality disorders
  • Phobias 

On the other hand, CBT can also help people cope with:

  • Chronic pain
  • Divorce and breakups
  • Grief 
  • Insomnia
  • Stress management

Final Considerations

Ultimately, the goal of CBT is to teach people that they cannot control everything around them, but they can control how they cope with things in their environment.

Beneficially, this helps the patient to engage in healthier thought processes by being aware of the negative, and often unrealistic, thoughts that affect mental state.

Generally, CBT is seen as a short-term treatment, and usually, improvements are seen after 5 – 20 sessions.

Plus, if you don’t feel comfortable seeing a therapist in person, it has still been found to be effective through online sessions too.

Overall, CBT provides patients with coping skills that can be useful in the present as well as applying them in the future.

Please get in touch today for more information.

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You may also like:

  1. How to Find a Therapist That’s Right For You?
  2. How to Combat Social Anxiety?
  3. Talking to Your Family About Mental Health

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