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Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Work?

A person wanting to know, "How does cognitive behavioral therapy work?"

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short-term psychotherapy approach that helps people refrain from undesirable behaviors by changing their thought patterns. The idea behind this approach is that thought patterns and the way we process life events have a great influence on our behaviors and feelings. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective talk therapy approach that aims to teach coping skills and strategies for dealing with a variety of obstacles throughout life. One of the major components behind the theory of CBT is that distorted thinking can lead to anxiety, depression, and problematic behaviors while thinking logically with a positive outlook can help people respond to life events more effectively.

Research has shown that cognitive-behavioral therapy is a powerful and useful technique for treating depression, anxiety, and panic and disorders, as well as addiction and other dysfunctional behaviors. On a fundamental level, cognitive-behavioral therapy works. To learn more about CBT, call us today at (877) 881-2689.   

How Effective is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

Research shows cognitive behavioral therapy can be more effective at treating behavioral problems than some medications and other forms of psychotherapy. It can be used to treat almost any dysfunctional behavior issue in which cognition plays a major role. In clinical studies, CBT is known to be the most effective form of talk therapy.

Unlike medication, cognitive behavioral therapy yields minimal side effects. After undergoing short-term CBT treatment sessions, many patients exhibit significant signs of improvement. Even when they discontinue therapy, most patients continue to improve because they are able to leverage the tools they learned in CBT and adjust their thinking styles and behaviors for the long-term.

In order for cognitive behavioral therapy to be truly effective, patients must commit to doing their “homework” between sessions with their CBT therapists. This means they use the skills they learned during therapy and apply them to real-life scenarios before their next visit. The process will also involve confronting various anxieties and fears, which can be difficult to do.

How Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Work?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on changing certain thoughts and behaviors that prevent positive results. The psychotherapy technique can assist with working out numerous emotional, medical, and social problems. CBT is short-term and involves one-on-one treatment sessions. The therapy sessions are goal-oriented and intended to eliminate cognitive issues and prevent relapse of various behavioral disorders.

CBT is a one-on-one, short-term form of psychotherapy therapy that lasts anywhere from one to 20 sessions. It is problem-specific, goal-oriented, designed to achieve remission and prevent relapse of specific mental disorders. Other forms of psychotherapy work by exploring a person’s past to gain insight into their emotions and behaviors. Conversely, CBT focuses on present beliefs and feelings. During cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions, patients will develop skills to help them recognize problematic thinking, modify their thought patterns, and behave in more productive ways. Eventually, they will develop the tools to be able to act desirably in their ongoing life.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy’s Core Principles

  • Psychological behavioral issues are partially based on insufficient ways of thinking.
  • Some psychological problems are a result of learned patterns of faulty behaviors.
  • Individuals who suffer from psychological behavioral issues can learn better ways to cope in therapy which will relieve their symptoms and allow them to live less strained or destructive lives.

Cognitive misinterpretations can lead to adverse behaviors. When someone goes through a stressful experience, certain thoughts will automatically arise, leading to unfavorable emotions. Some individuals draw incorrect or illogical conclusions about the meaning of certain events and experiences based on this automatic thought process. When this occurs, they may fret, overreact, or shut down completely. This flawed thinking will lead to negative behaviors unless interrupted or corrected through psychotherapy.

A cognitive behavioral therapist can help their patients realize how distorted thoughts directly affect moods and ignite fears and teach them how to change these thinking patterns. During CBT sessions, the patient and therapist will work together to develop a plan to overcome negative thoughts and irrational fears.

Common Practices in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

  • Identifying problem areas
  • Practicing awareness of automatic thought patterns
  • Diminishing negative thinking
  • Learning to distinguish between rational and irrational emotions
  • Challenging underlying assumptions
  • Learning to view situations from various perspectives
  • Identifying what is realistic and what is illogical fear
  • Learning to stop catastrophizing
  • Testing perceptions against reality
  • Examining the validity of certain thoughts
  • Modifying distorted beliefs
  • Improving awareness of moods
  • Avoiding “all or nothing” thinking
  • Keeping a cognitive behavioral journal
  • Slowly increasing exposure to feared scenarios

During cognitive-behavioral therapy, the therapist and patient will discuss different techniques and develop goals and practices that will be used throughout treatment as well as after CBT is completed. In order to see sufficient results with CBT, patients must be an active participant in their treatment.

What Happens During a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Session?

Since cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy, early treatment will be similar to those in any initial therapy session. CBT Sessions will begin with a discussion of the patient’s background, expectations, and a general overview of the therapy. During the subsequent sessions, the patient will discuss their fears, struggles, and emotional setbacks. The therapist will work with them to develop the most effective responses to these emotional dilemmas.

CBT patients will prepare for behavior therapy sessions by thinking of emotional hurdles they’d like to overcome or stressful situations they fear. After presenting these items to the therapist, the two will work together to create an action plan. The goal of the plan will be to identify problematic thoughts and reactions and use strategies to change the adverse behaviors in between therapy sessions.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy action plans are sometimes referred to as “homework.” With relatively few therapy sessions and active application of goals and strategies, CBT has shown to be effective at reducing symptoms of behavioral problems. Cognitive behavioral homework may include:

  • Keeping a journal of moods throughout the week
  • Relaxation techniques, assigned reading
  • Seeking out opportunities to apply the refined approach to feared scenarios

Cognitive-behavioral therapy works by eliminating behavioral symptoms as soon as possible. This usually occurs within a few weeks or months of starting treatment. 

Get the CBT Help You Need From Apex Recovery

At Apex Recovery, cognitive behavioral therapy is used as part of our approach to integrative treatment. Through CBT, we are able to help patients adjust their thinking and behavioral patterns and help them overcome addiction, mental illness, and depression. Our cognitive behavioral therapists work closely with patients to improve their outlook, behaviors, and general lifestyle.

Apex Recovery administers cognitive-behavioral therapy to combat a variety of conditions including addiction, depression, anxiety, and phobia. It’s a very hands-on approach that allows our cognitive behavioral therapists to work closely with each patient to improve his or her behavior and thought patterns through thought and behavior therapy. For more information on cognitive-behavioral therapy or other rehab programs we offer, call us today at (877) 881-2689 or contact us online

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