What Makes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy aka CBT Effective?

Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT, is a well-known psychotherapy that has been proven effective in treating various mental health conditions, and dealing with problems such as family issues and substance abuse. CBT focuses primarily on changing distorted thinking patterns and unhelpful behavior. The psychiatrist works with you in developing a treatment strategy which involves exercises-both during sessions and outside-meant to help you learn the coping skills you need. So, what makes cognitive behavioral therapy effective?

You Are Your Own Therapist

Unlike other therapies, CBT encourages the patient or client to get on the driver’s seat instead of merely following what a psychiatrist says. You are responsible for understanding your situation and taking the necessary actions to improve it. With guidance and a treatment plan, all that’s required of you is to keep moving towards your goal.

Capability Is Highlighted

Therapy usually exposes your weaknesses before figuring out how to deal with them. CBT, however, emphasizes your ability in using coping skills. You’re given an important role. As a result, you discover that you are able to take control after all. You gain a greater sense of confidence which helps bring you closer to recovery.

Here are a few common coping skills you might encounter in CBT:

  • Anger management skills.
  • Social support.
  • Stress management.
  • Emotional regulation skills.
  • Spiritual practices such as meditation and prayer.
  • Physical activity (can be as simple as walking).
  • Distraction (e.g. entertainment).

Coping skills are essential in therapy. There are many different ones, but they can be modified according to your needs. Moreover, you and your therapist can make new skills if necessary.

You Face Your Fears

Nothing is solved by turning a blind eye. You can only make progress when you don’t run away from matters that need your attention. CBT includes techniques that help you do this. Exposure involves gradually and repeatedly entering feared situations until you feel less anxious. It can help weaken learned associations you have between your feared objects, activities, or situations, and the bad outcomes. Once you and your therapist find the right technique for you, he will guide you throughout the process.

Knowing the Real Enemy

CBT aims to make you realize distortions in your thinking. For example, people around you aren’t always to blame when you’re having a bad day. You may believe you’re better off without your family, but unless they are causing you harm, that’s not true. In the same way, you can’t blame yourself for having a psychological disorder. You can only win the battle when you know where your target is.

Although CBT may not be the best choice for complex mental disorders, it certainly is effective–research studies and scientific evidence say so. A good psychiatrist can help you determine if this therapy is right for you, and guide you all throughout the treatment process. On the whole, CBT needs your commitment. If you focus on reality and the desired outcome ahead of you, it will be a little less difficult to keep yourself on track.

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Written by Hannah Grace

A B.S. Psychology graduate who fights both real and imaginary shadows every day with music and words.

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