An introduction to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy used to treat many different problems, especially psychiatric problems such as depression and anxiety. CBT has its roots in the late 1950s and was officially formed in the late seventies. Since then it has been shown to be a very effective way to help people overcome a variety of problems. CBT is an umbrella term that encompasses many different types of therapy that are all based on the same ideas. The principle is that first there is a thought, this triggers a feeling and this changes a person’s actions. The problem is that in many people these thoughts are based on ‘incorrect beliefs’. The aim of CBT is to correct these beliefs and this will lead to a change in thoughts leading to a change in feelings and finally a change in behavior.
What is CBT?
CBT is a relatively short-term form of psychotherapy (a type of counseling) that can be used for the treatment of a wide range of psychological disorders including depression, anxiety, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, substance abuse and personality disorders amongst others. It can also be used to help people change their lifestyles. It focuses on working on the ‘incorrect beliefs’ that people have. These ‘incorrect beliefs’ are usually unintentional but they seriously affect how people react to situations.
How Does CBT Work?
CBT is based on the theory a thought or idea must precede a mood, meaning there must be something that a person thinks that leads them to feel a certain way. This, in turn, will lead to the way in which people act. It also says that the way in which people act is heavily influenced by the way that they see themselves and the way that they think others see them.
The idea behind CBT is that unwanted behaviors and moods such as depression are often caused by a certain type of thought. These thoughts have usually been held by people for a long time, remaining under the surface. Certain events ‘reactivate’ these types of thoughts and can cause negative moods and behaviors. These thoughts, when pulled apart and examined, are often based on the illogical ideas and ‘false’ beliefs that CBT aims to correct. If CBT can correct these false thoughts then in that situation in the future, the person will react differently and see things from a point of view that will not lead to a negative mood.