SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices. (2013). Cognitive behavioral therapy for depression and anxiety disorders.Retrieved from http://www.nrepp.samhsa.gov/CBT.aspx.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on the connection between your feelings, beliefs and behaviors. A cognitive behavioral therapist helps you understand how your distorted, unhealthy and/or self-destructive thinking patterns influence how you behavior or respond in certain situations. Once you are able to grasp why you think the way you do and how your thinking affects your behavior, then you can begin to change your mindset so it reflects a healthy, well-adjusted individual. The main goal of a cognitive behavioral therapist is to help you effectively cope with stresses in your life.
Cognitive behavioral therapy utilizes a goal-directed, problem-focused treatment approach. It focuses on the complicated symptoms normally associated with mental illnesses like anxiety and depressive disorders (manic depression and clinical depression).This type of therapy is considered a short-term treatment approach. It can last as short as 10 sessions or as long as 20 sessions, but it normally does not extend past the 20th session. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy is considered an interactive treatment approach so you will be asked to complete homework assignments that demonstrate what you have learned in your therapy sessions.
How Does Cognitive Behavior Therapy Help Manage Anxiety?
One of the most effective treatment approaches for anxiety disorders is cognitive behavioral therapy. Current research suggests that this form of therapy is especially beneficial if you suffer from social anxiety disorder, phobias, panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder.
Cognitive behavioral therapy consists of two key elements:
Cognitive Therapy: This part of cognitive behavioral therapy explores how your self-destructive beliefs and feelings contribute to the anxiety that you feel.
Behavior Therapy: This part of cognitive behavioral therapy explores your anxiety triggers and how those triggers influence your behavior.
Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you understand that your thought patterns, not things outside of your control, influence how you behavior in certain situations. In other words, it is not the actual situation that triggers your anxiety; it is how you view the situation that influences your behavior.
How Can Cognitive Behavior Therapy Help Manage Depressive Disorders?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is also effective at treating depressive disorders (manic depression and clinical depression). Cognitive behavioral therapists help you recognize situations or triggers in your life that contribute to your depression. Once those situations and/or triggers are identified, you and your cognitive behavioral therapist work together to unlock the hidden cause of your past and present problems. In other words, your cognitive behavioral therapist helps you understand how your unhealthy, negative and self-destructive thought patterns contribute to your depressive disorder.
During cognitive behavioral therapy, you may be required to keep an outside journal. The journal is used to document your reactions to certain situations and triggers. At each therapy session, you and your therapist explore your journal entries. The goal of the journal is to separate and classify your responses and reactions into groups so that you can recognize unhealthy thought patterns and change your behavior. Your journal helps your identify unhealthy thought patterns so that you can replace them with healthier ones.
Research suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy is effective for treating a wide variety of psychological disorders such as: mood disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders and psychotic disorders because it alters brain activity and improves brain function in people with mental illness.
Dobrenski, R. (2013). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression.HelpforDepression. Retrieved from http://www.helpfordepression.com/article/psychotherapy/co gnitive-behavioral-therapy.
HelpGuide.org. (2013). Therapy for anxiety disorders. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_therapy.htm.
National Alliance of Mental Illness. (2013). Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).Retrieved from http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_Treatm ents_and_Supports&Template=/ContentManagement/Conte ntDisplay.cfm&ContentID=141590.