Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) works on the premise that thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are connected. It seeks to spot unhealthy or damaging ideas and sensations, address them, and swap them out for better ones.
This involves techniques, including thought recording, challenging irrational beliefs, and developing realistic self-talk to replace negative or critical thinking. As part of your therapy assignment, your therapist will also push you to put these new techniques to use between sessions.
What Is CBT?
The link between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is the subject of cognitive behavioral therapy, sometimes known as CBT. It teaches people to look at their negative perceptions and unhelpful beliefs in new ways. They then learn how to replace those with more realistic and positive ones.
A Seattle therapist specializing in CBT can work with individuals in one-on-one sessions or small groups. They also may provide “homework” for patients to complete between sessions. Various therapists, including licensed psychologists, mental health social workers, and counselors, provide CBT. Some programs are even available online.
It is essential to be aware that some forms of CBT can cause emotional distress, mainly when a therapist addresses distorted thinking. This can temporarily stir up or worsen symptoms but is usually short-lived. Also, it is not uncommon for people to experience a return of symptoms once they stop therapy, although relapse rates tend to be lower than other types of treatment.
How Does CBT Work?
During your initial therapy session, your therapist will discuss with you the challenges you are currently facing in life and how anxiety or depression is affecting your day-to-day activities. They will also help you realize that negative thinking is a habit that can be modified.
During subsequent sessions, your therapist will work with you to identify unhelpful core beliefs and dysfunctional assumptions. They will teach you how to challenge these thoughts and use evidence-based practices to adjust your beliefs, affecting your behavior. You may be asked to complete assignments between sessions to practice the new skills you’re learning. Cognitive behavioral therapy is time-limited and goal-oriented so it can be faster and more effective than other types of psychotherapy. However, it’s important to remember that undoing deep-set patterns of thought and behavior takes time. It’s normal to feel some initial resistance or hopelessness during this process. It takes courage and dedication for both you and your therapist to work through these feelings.
Marriage counseling Seattle and cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) are two distinct forms of therapy, each with its focus and approach. However, they can be related in couples therapy, where CBT techniques and principles may be integrated into the counseling process.
What Can I Expect from CBT?
CBT is a potent technique for treating various mental health disorders and is regarded as the gold standard of psychotherapy. It’s often used to treat anxiety, depression, phobias, PTSD, addiction, eating disorders and insomnia.
CBT can help you overcome obstacles by teaching you to identify and change unhelpful thoughts. You’ll also learn to use various coping techniques. You’ll practice new skills in therapy sessions and will be given homework. You’ll work with a therapist to break down problems into manageable parts and work together to find solutions.
It’s essential to be open with your therapist about how you’re feeling and what you’re struggling with. It can be emotional to discuss your concerns, and you may cry. However, you should feel comfortable and have a good rapport with your therapist. If you don’t, it’s okay to try another therapist.
How Can CBT Help Me?
In addition to treating depression, anxiety, and other disorders, cognitive behavioral therapy can help people overcome substance abuse, PTSD, and phobias. Versions of the therapy have also been developed to treat insomnia and eating disorders.
A cognitive behavioral therapist can help you uncover problematic ways of thinking and acting and teach you new skills to counteract these harmful habits. It is typically a shorter-term treatment than some other psychotherapy approaches, with sessions usually lasting about an hour each.
You must show up for your first session with an open mind and a willingness to work through challenging thoughts and behaviors. Your therapist will spend the first few sessions getting to know you, which may include questions about your prior experiences and present health. They may also ask you to complete paperwork, including HIPAA forms, medical history, and insurance information. If you’re worried about your comfort level, bringing a trusted friend or family member for support can be helpful.