How to solve problems and initiate healthy behavioral change.
At Foundations Counseling we deploy many different types of psychological and therapeutic approaches to help our clients. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), play therapy, existentialism, and family systems are examples of the many varied approaches we utilize to serve our clients.
One of the most effective types of psychotherapy we use is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). To put it briefly, CBT is a type of psychotherapy where negative patterns of thought about yourself and the world are challenged. This technique helps alter unwanted behavior patterns or treat mood disorders like depression and anxiety. There’s a huge emphasis on consistently and proactively solving problems and initiating behavioral changes.
How does CBT work?
Cognitive Therapy is based on the premise that what we think impacts our emotions — our thoughts become our reactions and responses to the world around us.
In contrast to other forms of psychotherapy, CBT takes a solution-focused approach to treatment. Patients are taught how to solve problems and learn new coping skills. I sometimes think of it as “learning to be your own therapist.”
Often times we aren’t even aware of the connection between our thoughts and our emotions and behaviors because a situation is so fleeting or engrossing or traumatic. Think about it: do you always take the time to stop and reconstruct a thought you might have to see if it’s accurate and rational? Probably not.
Negative emotions lead to faulty thinking
The irony is that research has shown that a great deal of negative emotion is related to inaccurate thinking. Cognitive therapy involves learning skills that help you see the connection between thoughts and feelings that upset you, to assess the accuracy of these thoughts that are making you feel upset, and if they are inaccurate, to make them more accurate.
The major goal of cognitive therapy is to teach you a method for testing the accuracy of your thoughts. This enables you to really assess, check in, and ask yourself, “Is this thought or feeling rational? Is it based on real, valid data? Is this thought or painful emotion really about something else?” By learning to ask yourself these questions you are able to unpack some of your own emotional baggage and focus on what’s real.
CBT is a way to test your thoughts
It’s important to note that in cognitive therapy we don’t tell clients that their thinking is wrong. That wouldn’t make anyone feel very good!
Instead, you’ll learn how to test your thoughts via real life experiments so that you can balance out your thought patterns. This newfound balance and mindfulness will help you control a number of emotions that felt absolutely overwhelming and uncontrollable prior to therapy.
The relationship with your therapist will be a collaborative one, and that’s why we emphasize a teacher-student relationship. This means you’ll take an active role in your therapy. It might be hard at first, but when you’re solving future decisions independently and with calm clarity, you’ll be thrilled to have worked so hard to understand your emotions.
Can Cognitive Behavior Therapy help me?
CBT is helpful for many different emotional issues, mood disorders, and so much more. Cognitive therapy can be helpful in the following areas:
- Relationship Issues
- Chronic Pain
- Eating Disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Stress Related Medical Disorders
- Stress Management
- Substance Abuse
- And more!
Whether you think CBT is the perfect tool for your life, or you still have some questions, all of us at Foundations Counseling are here to help. Give us a call today for a free consultation, and we’ll figure out what tools and techniques will help you stay emotionally healthy.