How and Why Thoughts Change: Foundations of Cognitive Psychotherapy

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Cognitive behavioral therapy can be thought of as a combination of psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. Psychotherapy emphasizes the importance of the personal meaning we place on things and how thinking patterns begin in childhood.

Behavioral therapy pays close attention to the relationship between our problems, our behavior and our thoughts. Most psychotherapists who practice CBT personalize and customize the therapy to the specific needs and personality of each patient.

Home | Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy was invented by a psychiatrist, Aaron Beck, in the s. He was doing psychoanalysis at the time and observed that during his analytical sessions, his patients tended to have an internal dialogue going on in their minds — almost as if they were talking to themselves. But they would only report a fraction of this kind of thinking to him.

Beck realized that the link between thoughts and feelings was very important. He invented the term automatic thoughts to describe emotion-filled thoughts that might pop up in the mind.

If a person was feeling upset in some way, the thoughts were usually negative and neither realistic nor helpful. Beck found that identifying these thoughts was the key to the client understanding and overcoming his or her difficulties. Beck called it cognitive therapy because of the importance it places on thinking.

The balance between the cognitive and the behavioral elements varies among the different therapies of this type, but all come under the umbrella term cognitive behavior therapy. CBT has since undergone successful scientific trials in many places by different teams, and has been applied to a wide variety of problems. In other words, we continue to hold on to the same old thoughts and fail to learn anything new. Nothing will go right. She might have found some things she could do, and at least some things that were okay. They will be angry with me.

Thinking, behaving and feeling like this may start a downward spiral. This vicious circle can apply to many different kinds of problems. Beck suggested that these thinking patterns are set up in childhood, and become automatic and relatively fixed. No one will like me. It helps him or her to step outside their automatic thoughts and test them out. CBT would encourage the depressed woman mentioned earlier to examine real-life experiences to see what happens to her, or to others, in similar situations.

Then, in the light of a more realistic perspective, she may be able to take the chance of testing out what other people think, by revealing something of her difficulties to friends.

Cognitive therapy

Clearly, negative things can and do happen. But when we are in a disturbed state of mind, we may be basing our predictions and interpretations on a biased view of the situation, making the difficulty that we face seem much worse. CBT helps people to correct these misinterpretations. Learn more about other: Depression Treatments. Cognitive-behavioral therapy differs from many other types of psychotherapies because sessions have a structure, rather than the person talking freely about whatever comes to mind.

At the beginning of the therapy, the client meets the therapist to describe specific problems and to set goals they want to work towards. The problems may be troublesome symptoms, such as sleeping badly, not being able to socialize with friends, or difficulty concentrating on reading or work. Or they could be life problems, such as being unhappy at work, having trouble dealing with an adolescent child, or being in an unhappy marriage.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

These problems and goals then become the basis for planning the content of sessions and discussing how to deal with them. Typically, at the beginning of a session, the client and therapist will jointly decide on the main topics they want to work on this week. They will also allow time for discussing the conclusions from the previous session. And they will look at the progress made with the homework the client set for him- or herself last time. At the end of the session, they will plan another assignment to do outside the sessions.

Working on homework assignments between sessions, in this way, is a vital part of the process. Today, in modern addiction therapy, psychoanalysis is uncommon, but many modern therapies and addiction treatments take their roots from the foundations of psychoanalysis. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one such offspring that is widely used in contemporary medicine.

Developing Recovery Skills

However, it has shown to be beneficial in a variety of therapeutic settings. For addiction treatment purposes, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be useful in determining emotions and thought patterns which can contribute to addiction. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help with a wide variety of issues. Its therapeutic uses are well-documented and proven to effectively treat a broad range of psychological problems. Whether used to treat addiction or other conditions, the primary goal of a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program is to recognize and stop harmful thought patterns or beliefs.

This is because these negative ways of thinking or relating to the world lead to emotional distress and cognitive dissonance. Someone who suffers from addiction often abuses a substance to cope with the stress brought on by such thought patterns. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help participants stop these issues and develop new, more effective thought patterns.

What makes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy so useful is the many ways it can work for a patient.

The treatment is relatively short-term and highly goal-oriented. For example, the focus of treatment is on identifying your negative thought patterns and taking actions to correct them. Among addiction therapy services , his form of therapy is effective for a wide range of addictions.