Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a method of psychotherapy wherein an individual’s irrational and maladaptive thoughts and behaviors are explored in relation to unhealthy behaviors and emotions. CBT is a combination of cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy, with the central idea being that cognition (thoughts) strongly influences emotion and behavior. By modifying dysfunctional beliefs, expectations, attitudes and so on, an individual can alter emotions and thereby alleviate the emotional suffering of many mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. CBT not only helps people identify dysfunctional thoughts, but also encourages them to test the validity of those thoughts. This leads them to think and perceive more realistically and rationally, thus fostering accurate emotional responses and suggesting appropriate responding. CBT is action-oriented and empirically validated, with a deep foundation of research substantiating it’s effectiveness in treating a broad spectrum of behavioral and emotional problems. In addition, treatment tends to be shorter than traditional therapy (usually around 6-12 sessions).
During CBT sessions, the therapist explains the method, goals of treatment, and teaches the individual lifelong skills for coping with the stresses of daily life. CBT sessions involve active participation by the individual, and encourage him or her to develop goals and implement positive coping strategies in everyday life. The therapist will guide the individual to identify irrational thoughts, challenge the validity of the thoughts, and finally replace the dysfunctional thoughts with realistic ones. The therapist may also include homework to reinforce the cognitive restructuring process.
The therapists at Great Lakes Psychology Group implement cognitive behavioral therapy techniques when treating a broad range of mental disorders. According to licensed therapist, Holly Workman, MA, LPC, NCC:
[When treating depression] I educate on relaxation techniques, guided imagery, progressive relaxation, etc. I encourage yoga, meditation, and/or some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. For anxiety I assess whether there are any underlying schema (faulty belief systems) or irrational thoughts that need to be corrected or challenged through cognitive reframing.
Furthermore, when treating depression, the therapists at Great Lakes Psychology Group, “encourage moving away from ruminative thinking and more toward distracting oneself from negative thoughts through action.”
Cognitive behavioral therapy can be used to effectively treat many of the most common forms of mental and emotional suffering. Contact Great Lakes Psychology Group to make an appointment with a professional counselor experienced in cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.