What is CBT? 

Cognition is defined as the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an enduring therapy that has limited sessions with a therapist. It involves the therapist to be collaborative with the client to create enduring strategies for coping with situations. CBT is often used with clients, but not limited to, those dealing with major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, substance abuse, eating disorder, and couples’ problems. It proves to be an effective model because it is a realistic evaluation and revision of dysfunctional beliefs, which produces an automatic improvement in mood and behavior. This improvement proves to be enduring because of the modifications in dysfunctional beliefs. Each session is goal driven which allows for treatment with results.  A key component to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is to alter the client’s dysfunctional beliefs by modifying old ways of thinking. The therapist helps the client pinpoint how he thinks in terms of his environment and in what ways his thinking is dysfunctional. Clients in CBT will learn to identify their own dysfunctional beliefs and new ways of approaching problems to overcome dysfunction in their thinking. This is done through: coping skills, cognitive restructuring, problem solving, and behavior techniques. There is so much stress on dysfunctional belief, because once thinking is changed, a person’s feelings and behaviors automatically change for the better. Positive thoughts yields positive thinking and positive behavior.

History of CBT

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a therapy that combines various psychology approaches. Psychology began with Sigmund Freud in the early 1900’s with Freud’s development of psychoanalysis. The principal of psychoanalysis is that before people can respond to their environment in a realistic manner, people must be consciously aware of how their compulsive responses to the environment come from their unconscious. Maslow was a psychologist who based his theory on Freud’s ideas. Maslow believed in a humanistic approach; meaning, experiences are the primary phenomenon in human learning and behavior. He believed that the external events in peoples’ lives shape how people learn and behave. Following this approach was Carl Rogers in the 1940’s. He believed in Person-Centered therapy; in order for peoples’ conditions to improve therapists should be warm, genuine and understanding. He encouraged people to focus on their own understanding of their environment rather than on unconscious motives (like Freud) or a therapist’s interpretation of a person’s situation. One of the latest therapy advancements is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, conceptualized by Aaron Beck in the 1970’s. Beck believed people have their own interpretations of situations that shape their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, often referred to as “CBT”, there is an emphasis on acceptance and mindfulness. The goal is to change a person’s dysfunctional belief, or negative thoughts, and feelings by focusing on acceptance of experiences to enhance well being.  In other words, the client is taught to think about their dysfunctional beliefs in order to determine if they are realistic while considering the context of their environment (the world around them). CBT is to be used as a short-term therapy, (ten weeks-six months, varies depending on the client). The therapist’s role is to teach the client how to be his or her own therapist. In CBT the therapist gives reassurance the client will be able to face challenges on his/her own with the tools learned. This practice uses therapy sessions and homework to ensure people have the most productive experience. 

The problem solving and coping techniques you learn in CBT will encompass every crisis in modern life, including chronic problems that seem to have no obvious external cause, such as low self-confidence, frustration, guilt, or apathy
— David Burns

What are the Benefits of CBT?

Most people make appointments to see a doctor for their bodies, (physicals), but rarely do we check up on our minds. It is important that we take care of our mental health just as much as our physical health. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy works for major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, substance abuse, eating disorder, and couples’ problems. It works for people with different levels of education, income, and background. It works well for individuals, groups, couples, and family therapy. Although CBT is often used with patients who have a diagnosis like the ones listed above, that is not to say other people could not benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Everyone has dysfunctional beliefs. Challenging these dysfunctional beliefs can allow for a better lifestyle. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is gaining help from a professional therapist, to learn how to be your own therapist. Using skills taught in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to change your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, you can banish the symptoms that often come from life experiences. Giving children the gift of knowing how to deal with their problems before they happen will teach them resiliency and better coping mechanisms. With this program, your child can learn to recover from any of these conditions.