Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) helps people understand how their thoughts and behaviors contribute to how they feel. The treatment focuses on changing an individual’s thoughts (cognitive patterns) in order to change his or her behavior and emotional state. Patients often come to CBT therapy wanting help dealing with stress and anxiety or to relieve depression.
Instead of reacting to the reality of a situation, an individual may sometimes react to his or her own distorted viewpoint of the situation. CBT therapists attempt to make their patients aware of these distorted thinking patterns and behaviors, and then help them to change them and replace them with healthier thoughts and behavioral patterns. (Read more about how to rid yourself of negative thinking patterns here.)
CBT is a collaborative, structured treatment that can include a variety of homework assignments where patients try out new responses to situations discussed in therapy sessions. Journal writing helps make the patient aware of his or her maladaptive thoughts and shows their consequences on behavior.
Cognitive rehearsal is also often used, where the patient imagines a difficult situation and the therapist guides him or her through the step-by-step process of facing and successfully dealing with it.
Cognitive behavior therapy was pioneered by Dr. Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s. For more information, visit http://www.beckinstitute.org/cognitive-behavioral-therapy/