In its essence, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short‑term form of psychotherapy that focuses on addressing problems by modifying thoughts, behaviors, and emotions to improve happiness.
CBT is different from the traditional psychoanalysis introduced by Sigmund Freud because it doesn’t focus much on past wounds to determine the cause of conflict.
The benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy
CBT has been gaining more recognition as a form of psychotherapy because of the tools it uses to identify and manage unrealistic or unhelpful thoughts and preventing future circumstances from happening by developing better problem-solving skills.
CBT is known to be an effective form of treatment for different mental health challenges. The strategies from CBT to change your thinking can be incorporated into daily living.
It is also focused on creating a proactive and shared therapeutic relationship between the therapist and patient, which many find a lot more effective.
The different principles of CBT
The goal of CBT is to help you learn new ways of thinking and behaving so you can manage your anxieties and emotions in the long run. It focuses on these three main principles:
- The here and now
CBT doesn’t look back on childhood wounds to know the cause of the problem. Rather, it focuses on the symptoms that you are dealing with right now. This form of psychotherapy believes that digging up the cause of your anxiety doesn’t necessarily make it easier for you to manage it.
- The importance of homework
Since CBT is all about incorporating newly acquired skills into your daily life, homework becomes a key component to the success of the therapy, whether you’re doing it alone or with the help of a therapist. Each newly learned skill should be applied and practiced every day for them to be useful in the long run.
Seeing a therapist
While you can go through CBT on your own, it’s still best to seek the help of a therapist who can guide you through the treatment. In therapy sessions, you get a structured approach where you get to review your homework and learn new coping strategies.
It is also very collaborative where you and your therapist work together in understanding and managing your symptoms.
CBT is a unique approach to treatment and one that is preferred by many. However, it doesn’t need to be the only form of treatment. Many therapists have integrative therapy approaches where they combine various treatment approaches and include elements of CBT into their practice. In this way, the therapist can tailor their approach to fit each client’s unique needs.