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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Who Can Benefit?

Westside Behavioral Care / Blog - Anxiety  / Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Who Can Benefit?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Who Can Benefit?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a commonly used, evidence-based practice that’s employed to treat mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. While perhaps not for everyone, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or “CBT”) treatment has proven effective for a number of individuals who wish to change irrational and/or negative patterns in their cognitions by attempting to regulate their thoughts, feelings and behavior. The idea is that by influencing one of these three self-monitored functions, the rest will be affected.

CBT Approach vs. Other Psychotherapy

CBT presents a significant departure from traditional psychotherapy, wherein a therapist might use a psychoanalytic approach with an individual by searching for unconscious meaning behind certain beliefs and behaviors and making a diagnosis from there. Instead, CBT is action and problem based methodology, focusing primarily on coping strategies to treat specific issues. The argument can be made that CBT is less about self-reflection and more about learned solutions – the therapist’s job is to help you discover and utilize effective practices that will both combat your symptoms and also achieve specific goals of your therapy.

Cognitive Distortions and Restructuring

The devaluation of cognitive distortion is a key element to a mental health expert’s approach to CBT. This type of thought pattern is described as a system of beliefs that isn’t based in reality, as well as exaggerated, irrational thinking. These distortions can create negative feelings and an unfavorable outlook on the world, likely leading to distressed mental states, emotional dysfunction and continued depression/anxiety.

Through the use of cognitive restructuring (or “CR”), a therapist can help guide you toward having a more rational, realistic reaction to a stressful situation. CR is designed to eliminate the automatic thoughts that occur in a cognitive distortion and instead provide you with the feeling of being in control. By changing your behavior, CBT therapy is meant to reduce your negative perceptions and subsequently lead to a positive impact on your attitudes, beliefs and overall mental health.