CBT is short for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It’s a method of talk therapy that highlights the reality that our thoughts and our behaviors are connected. Once that connection is understood, it’s way easier to recognize how our distorted thought patterns shape our choices. CBT is very effective and is popular for taking place over a relatively few sessions.
It all sounds good, right? But, you’re wondering what is CBT used for. This post will focus on that but first, we’ll go over some basics of the treatment approach. How does it work and what principles and techniques are used?
How Does CBT Work?
To keep things brief, these three steps can help sum up CBT:
- Assessing and challenging your current thought patterns
- Replacing thought distortions with productive thought patterns
- Altering your behavior when triggered
The techniques used to accomplish these goals include:
- Cognitive reframing: Restructuring your perception in a positive way
- Guided discovery: With your therapist’s help, you’ll learn how to see situations from multiple perspectives
- Exposure therapy: Slowly confronting fears and phobias
- Journaling: Keeping records of your thoughts and behaviors as they evolve
- Scheduling new behaviors: Learning to not put off actions due to anxiety or fear
- Behavior experiments: When scheduling those new behaviors, you’ll be asked to predict how it will go and then compare that with the actual outcome.
- Stress reduction: This will involve visualization, deep breathing, and more.
- Role-playing: Gain confidence, develop problem-solving tools, improve social and communication skills
- Successive steps: Breaking big tasks into smaller, more attainable steps
What is CBT Used For?
This goes for all forms of anxiety. CBT helps the client challenge the cognitive distortions that usually heighten anxiety. In other words, they become more skilled at facing up to fears and no longer default to avoiding them.
CBT has a stellar track record in treating two high-profile forms of anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
CBT was originally developed precisely for the purpose of treating depression. Generally speaking, CBT empowers people who suffer from depression as a mood enhancer. Also, it encourages them to replace negative thought patterns with accurate beliefs and thinking.
3. Eating Disorders
There are different types of disordered eating. Different forms of CBT can address different types of eating disorders. CBT is often combined with other modalities when used for anorexia nervosa. However, with bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, CBT is usually the first line of treatment.
For people with schizophrenia, it is essential to disrupt the cycle of delusions leading to a worsening of all symptoms. CBT is an ideal option for this critical task.
Daily Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Whatever the reason you have sought treatment, the skills learned during CBT offer daily support, e.g.
- Rational thinking: You now feel as if you are in control of your thoughts and thus, the behaviors they inspire.
- Self-esteem: This feeling of self-control boosts confidence and self-esteem — two crucial components in the work of reducing symptoms.
- Relaxation: Feeling confident in your ability to handle stress has a powerful calming effect on your mood.
- Hope: People who have tried CBT report feeling more optimistic — not just about their condition or issues but about life itself.
Is CBT Right For You?
You’re surely curious about a treatment choice that:
- Alerts you to distorted thinking and its impact
- Teaches you how to reframe your negative thought patterns
- Guides you away from relapse and toward recovery