What is CBT?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that how we think (cognition), how we feel (emotion) and how we act (behavior) all interact together. Specifically, our thoughts determine our feelings and our behavior. Therefore, negative thoughts can cause us distress and result in problems. One example could be someone who, after making a mistake, thinks "I'm useless and can't do anything right." This impacts negatively on their mood and makes them feel depressed; then they worsen the problem by reacting to avoid activities. As a result, they reduce their chance of successful experience, which reinforces their original thought of being "useless." In therapy, the latter example could be identified as a self-fulfilling prophecy or "problem cycle," and the efforts of the therapist and client would be to work together to change this. This is done by addressing the way the client thinks in response to similar situations and by helping them think more flexibly, along with reducing their avoidance of activities. If, as a result, they escape the negative thought pattern, they will already feel less depressed. They may, hopefully, also then become more active, succeed more often, and further reduce their depression.
Thoughts as the cause of emotions
With thoughts stipulated as being the cause of emotions rather than the outcome or by-product, cognitive therapists reverse the causal order more generally used by psychotherapists. Therefore, the therapy is to identify those irrational or maladaptive thoughts that lead to negative emotion and identify what it is about them that is irrational or just not helpful; this is done in an effort to reject the distorted thoughts and replace them with more realistic alternative thoughts. Cognitive therapy is not an overnight process. Even after patients have learned to recognize when and where their thought processes go awry, it can take months of concerted effort to replace an irrational thought process or habit with a more reasonable, salutary one. With patience and a good therapist, however, cognitive therapy can be a valuable tool in recovery.
Treatment at Behavioral Health Associates
For more information on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at Behavioral Health Associates please contact Dr. Neil Bockian, Ph.D. at (773) 852-2400 or by email at email@example.com
CBT Treatment at Behavioral Health Associates
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