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Understanding How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is useful for a variety of conditions, ranging from anxiety to depression to substance abuse. CBT has been proven effective in helping people overcome psychological problems, such as substance abuse, as explained below.

What Is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a therapeutic practice which theorizes that psychological problems can be solved through making positive cognitive changes. That is, anxiety, addictions and other mental problems can be solved through making challenging existing thought patterns. CBT focuses on recognizing and stopping negative thoughts and emotions in order to change feelings and reactive actions. In a nutshell, CBT stops negative cognitive cycles.

How Does CBT Work?

CBT can change and manage how a person reacts to situations. For example, someone who loses their job might consider themselves a failure and become frustrated and hopeless. Therefore, they might avoid going out, looking for a new job and interacting with others. CBT analyzes emotional reactions and cognitive thought patterns and replaces them with optimistic thoughts and accompanying behaviors. For example, CBT would help the person, who lost their job, understand that losing a job is normal. CBT would also help the person recognize cognitive or situational triggers that result in stress and negative emotions.

What Techniques Does CBT Use?

Specifically, CBT uses a tool called ‘ABC.’ The activating event, or A, is anything that causes a negative psychological reaction. The belief, or B, is the illogical thought patterns that follow. The Consequence, or C, is the result of the negative thoughts, which often take the form of upset emotions, irrational behavior, depression and interpersonal conflicts. For example, the person who lost their job would recognize that innocent comments about their employment status may trigger a reaction. They would recognize that the resulting negative self-talk and self-blame are counterproductive. They would then recognize the consequences of this would be anger, anxiety and unhelpful behaviors.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), CBT has been clinically proven to help with the following conditions:
  • Depression
  • Chronic Pain
  • Substance Abuse
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Schizophrenia/Psychotic Disorders
A person must learn new ways of dealing with stress, sadness, and other normal daily emotions in order to completely overcome substance abuse and continue living a drug-free lifestyle.

CBT Can Help You

If you or someone you know are struggling with a psychological problem or disorder, consider using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. If you or someone you know have a substance abuse problem, consider seeking inpatient treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

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