What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that aims to alter patterns of thinking and behaving. It is a common treatment for a range of mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. CBT teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems; it focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes affect your feelings and actions.

How does CBT work?

Cognitive-behavioral treatment often involves efforts to change behavior and thinking patterns. There are a few strategies that are effective including;

  • Recognizing distortions in thinking that are creating problems and then reevaluating them in light of reality.
  • Gaining an understanding of the motivation and behavior of other individuals
  • Using problem-solving skills to cope with difficult situations.
  • Developing confidence in one’s own abilities.

CBT treatment also usually involves efforts to change behavioral patterns which include;

  • Facing fears instead of avoiding them.
  • Implementing role-playing to prepare for potentially problematic interactions with others.
  • Learning the skill of being able to calm and relax your mind and body.

How is CBT different from other forms of therapy?

CBT is different from other therapies because it focuses on the theory that how one perceives a problem or situation causes negative or dysfunctional emotions.

This form of psychotherapy differs from other therapeutic approaches in several key ways including:

1. Concentrate on the present

CBT is designed to focus on the individual current feelings, thoughts, and behaviours and not to concentrate on the past. While other therapies, such as psychodynamic therapy, may explore childhood or past traumas, CBT aims to address and modify current issues and symptoms.

2. Focuses on goals

CBT is extremely structured and goal oriented. The session is created around setting specific achievable and measurable therapeutic goals.

3. Short-term therapy

CBT is typically considered a short-term therapy and is designed to be completed within a specific number of sessions. This approach results in this therapy being more accessible and cost-effective for clients.

4. Evidence-based therapy

CBT is now regarded as one of the most researched and effective forms of therapy. Over the years, it has resulted in a wealth of research and evidence showcasing its effectiveness in treating various mental health conditions including anxiety disorders, PTSD, OCD, and depression.

According to research, “ CBT, together with guided self-help books, was revealed to be the most common form of therapy given (72.7%) during 2021-22.” As a result of extensive research, therapists use established techniques and interventions.

How long does CBT treatment last?

The duration of CBT treatment varies depending on many different factors, including the severity of the individual condition, the nature of the condition, the goals they want to achieve from treatment, and the therapist’s approach.

Here are some guidelines to consider when it comes to the duration of treatment.

1.     Short-term CBT

These sessions typically last for 10 to 20 sessions over a few months. This length of sessions usually benefits well-defined problems or issues, such as panic disorder, depression, or anxiety.

2.     Medium-term CBT

When issues are more serious and complex, for example, severe anxiety or depression, treatment may be necessary for several months to a year. Intense treatment like this usually requires weekly or biweekly sessions, which allows for a more complex and in-depth exploration of underlying behavioral patterns and beliefs.

3.     Long-term CBT

When individuals are dealing with chronic or recurring mental health conditions, long-term CBT may be necessary.

Is CBT suitable for everyone?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an extremely effective form of psychotherapy for many individuals. CBT may not be suitable for everyone. The suitability of this form for therapy depends on many factors, including, the nature of their mental health condition, the individual’s specific needs, and their personal preferences. Check with a professional to see if CBT is suitable for you.

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