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What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, is one of the most common and effective types of psychotherapy. It’s an extremely versatile type of therapy and can be used as a structure to treat a variety of mental health issues and emotional and behavioral problems.

Principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is grounded in a set of core principles. As outlined by the American Psychological Association (APA), these are:

  1. Psychological problems are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking.
  2. Psychological problems are based, in part, on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.
  3. People suffering from psychological problems can learn better ways of coping with them, thereby relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives.

Essentially, cognitive behavioral therapy hinges on the concept that our thoughts and behaviors are linked. By changing our thoughts, we can change our behaviors and thus create positive outcomes in our lives.

Who Can Benefit From Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven to be effective for a variety of different mental health disorders and emotional problems, including (but not limited to):

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work? 

CBT, like most other forms of therapy, will look different depending on the individual receiving treatment and the therapist providing it. However, the basic structure of CBT is usually the same. It’s also worth noting that CBT isn’t mutually exclusive with other forms of therapy. For example, an individual who is receiving CBT as treatment for depression might also utilize antidepressants to help further alleviate their symptoms.

Take, for instance, the hypothetical example of someone who sought out CBT to help with anxiety. Their therapist might start by working with them to identify stressful situations in their life or triggers of anxiety. Then, they might work with the therapist to start to examine their thoughts and beliefs about those things, and how those are affecting their feelings and behavior. Once the individual has cultivated an awareness of their thoughts and feelings, the therapist might then work with them to identify biases or inaccurate perceptions in their thought patterns that aren’t helping them, and try to reframe those into thoughts that are more in line with their long-term goals.

RADIAS Health provides person-centered integrated healthcare services to people experiencing mental illness, substance use, or co-occurring disorders. Compassionate, skilled health care and support staff deliver our behavioral health services. In addition, our care includes supplementary services such as case management, supportive housing, homeless services, residential services, outpatient DBT treatment, and more. If you or someone you know could benefit from our mission, contact us today or consider donating!

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