Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an active type of psychotherapy. CBT helps us to better look at how we think, find and recognize inaccurate or negative interpretations of different situations, and make changes in behavior so that we can look at difficult situations more objectively and respond to them more effectively. The use of this method is not limited to the treatment of mental disorders, but can also be an effective tool that can help everyone learn to better manage stressful situations.
Key CBT principles
CBT is one of the most effective methods of psychological assistance. At the moment, there are about 300 studies that confirm its effectiveness. So, what principles can we use in our everyday lives to manage our emotions?
1) The “here and now” principle
This technique is focused on the person’s current problems, so we try to reduce suffering in the present, but we also explore the past, look for the person’s vulnerabilities and try to strengthen our defense mechanisms. Sometimes, Hometown Hero gummies might help patients with anxiety.
2) Continuum principle
It is believed that mental health problems are best viewed as an extreme version of the norm, this is the time along which we move throughout life, from mental well-being to certain difficulties. Statistics show that one in five people will have one or another mental disorder during their lifetime.
3) Cognitive principle
Our thoughts about a particular situation can often influence how we feel both physically and emotionally, as well as how we act in response. For example, a person is texting a close friend, and although they typically respond immediately, many hours have passed with no response. One person may think that something bad must have happened. They may feel anxious, their heart rate will increase, it is more difficult to breathe, and they begin to call everyone they know, trying to find out what happened. Another person thinks that a person is no longer interested in them. Then sadness and depression may appear, so they stop writing to a friend. Thus, our interpretations affect our state and the further development of the situation.
4) Behavioral principle
Our actions can contribute to the maintenance of problems and vice versa. In the last example, by asking a friend why it took so long to answer, you could find out that he/she has not had an Internet connection, or that he/she was very busy, instead of trusting any other suggestions. As a result, it would change our mood and the development of the situation.
When is CBT recommended?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective way to treat several mental disorders:
- Complex anxiety;
- Simple and social phobias;
- Panic attacks;
- Sleep problems;
- Constant pain and fatigue;
- Post-traumatic stress disorder;
- Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia);
- Anger regulation disorders, etc.
CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are connected. By influencing one of them, we can cause changes in the others. The principles of CBT can be applied outside the therapist’s office, giving you the tools to help you deal with life’s challenges. CBT teaches you to correct negative patterns, which can help you rethink your minds in moments of heightened anxiety or panic. It can also provide new skills, such as meditation for those struggling with depression.
How does CBT work?
CBT sessions provide an opportunity to identify current life situations that may contribute to your mental health, such as anxiety or depression. CBT allows you and your therapist to identify thought patterns or misconceptions that no longer serve you. This type of therapy involves working backward through your life history to discover the unconscious source of the problems you are facing.
You may be asked to keep a diary as part of the CBT. In a diary, you can record life events and your reactions. Your therapist can help you break down reactions and patterns into several categories of self-destructive thoughts:
- all-or-nothing thinking: seeing the world in absolute black and white;
- positive disqualification: a rejection of a positive experience, insisting that it “doesn’t count” for some reason;
- increasing or decreasing the importance of an event;
- personalization: taking things too personally or feeling like actions are specifically directed at you, etc.
You and your therapist can also use the diary to help replace negative thought or perception patterns with more constructive ones. This can be done using several well-established methods, such as:
- learn to manage distorted thoughts and reactions and change them;
- learn to accurately and comprehensively evaluate external situations and reactions or emotional behavior;
- practice accurate and balanced self-talk;
- using self-assessment to reflect and adequately respond.
You can practice these techniques on your own or with a therapist. In addition, you can use them to expand your ability to cope with stress.