What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? Types, Techniques, Benefits

Mental health professionals employ various types of therapies to deal with psychological issues and mental illnesses. CBT is a very famous treatment. Today, we’ll discuss what is cognitive-behavioral therapy; its types, techniques, benefits, challenges, and how to get started. 

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is a form of therapeutic treatment that allows you to recognize and change disturbing thoughts that have a bad and negative impact on your emotions and behavior. The focus of CBT is to change your disturbing thoughts automatically that would like to cause anxiety, stress, depression, and other emotional difficulties. 

The negative thought pattern has a dangerous influence on your mood. It helps you to recognize and replace your difficult and challenging thoughts with realistic and objective thoughts. 

CBT Helps with 

CBT helps treat various types of mental illnesses in the short term, some of them are as follows; 

  • Phobias 
  • Personality Disorder 
  • Panic attacks 
  • Eating disorder 
  • Depression 
  • Bipolar disorder 
  • Anxiety 
  • Anger management issues 
  • Addiction 

CBT also helps you deal with the following types of mental health issues; 

  • Stress management 
  • Problems in the relationship 
  • Low self-esteem 
  • Insomnia 
  • Loss and grief 
  • Break up and divorce 
  • Serious health illness and chronic pains 

Types of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 

CBT comprises various types of approaches and techniques to deal with behavior, emotions, and thoughts. Some of the main types of CBT are as follows; 

REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy)

REBT comprises of recognizing irrational thoughts and beliefs, challenging them actively, and finally learning to recognize and change the pattern of those thoughts and beliefs. 

Multimodal Therapy 

It allows you to deal with psychological issues by focusing on 7 different and interlinked modalities. They are like biological/drug, interpersonal factors, cognition, imagery, sensation, affect, and behavior. 

DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)

DBT deals with behaviors and thoughts by employing strategies like mindfulness and emotional regulations. 

Cognitive Therapy 

It focuses on recognizing and changing distorting and difficult thought patterns, behavior, and emotional responses. 

Every type of CBT follows a different approach to address the problem. Their goal is to focus on the underlying thought pattern that are causing psychological issues. 

Techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 

CBT is much more than recognizing difficult thoughts. It employs various types of strategies and techniques to deal with troubling thoughts. Mental distractions, relaxation techniques, role-playing, and journaling are some of the main techniques. 

Self Monitoring 

Self-evaluation and maintaining a diary or journal is a significant element of CBT, and it comprises of tracking your symptoms, experiences, and behavior over time and discussing it with your psychotherapist. When you offer your therapist sufficient information, then your shrink could choose the best treatment for you. 

For instance, a person is facing an issue of an eating disorder, the self-evaluation would allow him/her to track eating habits, thoughts, and behavior while consuming food. 

Problem Solving 

It allows you to recognize and resolve difficult problems (big or small) in your life. When you do that, then it helps you to decrease the negative influence of mental illness. The problem-solving skill in CBT comprises of following steps; 

  • Recognizing the problem 
  • Creating a list of probable solutions 
  • Checking the strengths/weaknesses of every option 
  • Selecting a solution 
  • and then implementing it 

Goal Setting 

When you’re recovering from mental issues, goal setting helps you to change your behavior and improve your health. Your therapist could guide you to develop goals and make differentiation among short and long-term goals. You should follow the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time) approach. 

Learning New Skill 

You should put your focus on learning new skills relevant to a real-life situation. For instance, a person dealing with substance use disorder should learn new managing skills, and look for ways to avoid the triggering situation. 

Recognizing Negative Thoughts 

It’s significant to know that feelings, thoughts, and emotions could impact your behavior. Introspection is a difficult process and takes a lot of time, but it could lead you to discover yourself that is the main part of the treatment. 

How to Start Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 

CBT helps you to deal with various types of psychological and mental issues. If you’re facing any mental illnesses and want to enjoy the benefits of CBT, then you should follow these steps; 

  • Consult the Physician: you should look for a certified therapist in your area 
  • Personal Preferences: you can choose either online or face to face consultation with the therapist 
  • Health Insurance: you should contact your insurance and make sure whether they cover therapeutic treatment or not 
  • Initial Experience: you should fill out various documents like therapist-client agreement, symptoms, and medical history. It could be online or offline 
  • Ready to Answer Question: you should be ready to answer the difficult questions that brought you to the therapist like current life, romantic relationship, married life, job, career, education, childhood, etc. 

Benefits of CBT

The gist of CBT is that feelings and thoughts play a significant role in impacting your behavior. For instance, a person thinks about air disasters, run accidents, and the plane crash, then he would avoid air travel resultantly. 

The objective of CBT is to tell people that they can’t control various elements of the world around them. What you can control is how you interpret and deal with the reality of the world and environment. Some of the main benefits of CBT are as follows; 

  • For those people who don’t want psychotropic medication, they can use therapy 
  • Face-to-face and online therapy is equally effective 
  • An affordable form of therapeutic treatment 
  • It’s an effective treatment for maladaptive behavior 
  • Very effective short term therapeutic option, patients begin to exhibit improvement from 5 to 20 sessions 
  • Makes you develop a habit of positive thinking and avoid unrealistic and negative thoughts 
  • Helps the patient to develop a self-managing skill to deal with any type of situation 

Potential Challenges 

Some of the challenges that you should keep in mind while applying CBT are as follows; 

Gradual Progress 

When we talk about change in a person’s behavior, then CBT works in gradual steps. For instance, a person has social anxiety issues; first, he starts with provoking the social anxiety and then communicating with friends, strangers, and acquaintances. 

Patient willing to Change 

The patient should be willing to change and show some interest in the therapeutic treatment. It means doing the homework of self-analysis and learning the fact that how your internal state impacts your behavior. 

Highly Structured 

CBT doesn’t consider unconscious resistance toward the change of a person like psychoanalytic psychotherapy. It’s good for those patients that are well-focused and structured. 

Difficult to bring Change 

Many patients say that they can identify the difficult thoughts; just being aware of them doesn’t mean that you can easily change them. 

Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 

Nowadays, CBT is a well-researched form of therapeutic treatment. Studies have proven that it turned out to be an effective treatment for a variety of mental illnesses like substance use disorder, PTSD, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, insomnia, eating disorder, depression, and anxiety. 

Conclusion: What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? Types, Techniques, Benefits 

After an in-depth study of what is cognitive-behavioral therapy; its types, techniques, benefits, challenges, and how it works; we’ve realized that CBT is a very effective form of therapeutic treatment. If you want to use CBT to address any of your mental illnesses, then keep in mind the abovementioned guidelines and challenges.