If you have ever received any form of counselling—or even looked into the possibility of receiving counselling—it is very likely that you have run across the term CBT, or cognitive behavioural therapy. But what is CBT and how can counsellors use it to help you in your therapeutic journey?
Cognitive behavioural therapy is a form of talking therapy that is highly researched and is typically standard practice for counsellors treating those dealing with a number of mental health issues. In fact, it stands out amongst other types of talk therapy as one of the only forms with demonstrated clinical effectiveness. In CBT, a counsellor will work with you to guide you through exercises and conversations that aim to intentionally change your thinking patterns and allow you to recognize harmful or distorted thinking patterns and integrate these realizations into a more accurate version of reality. Throughout your sessions, the counsellor will help you to problem-solve your actions along with the actions of others so that you can develop confidence in your own choices, as well as more effective strategies for day-to-day living.
How does CBT work?
In order to change the negative thoughts and behaviours that you might already have in place, a therapist leading a cognitive behavioural therapy session will ask structured questions that are intended to uncover contributing factors to specific problems and guide the collaborative discussion towards a potential solution. The session will not only focus on your thoughts and emotions, but also your physical feelings, the situations you find yourself in, and the actions that you take. Your counsellor will help you investigate the manner in which all of these elements are connected—the thoughts that you have will impact the actions that you take, and the situations that you are presented with can affect the thoughts that you have. In this way, CBT seeks to stop the cycle of negative or maladaptive thoughts and reactions as a way to improve an individual’s overall quality of life and happiness.
Although a therapist will be guiding you through these sessions, the main goal is to provide you with the tools to allow you to have control over your own life and your actions, essentially teaching you to be your own therapist and to recognize maladaptive behaviours and manners of thinking independently as they occur in real life. In this way, cognitive behavioural therapy moulds your inherent way of thinking in order to allow you to create a healthier mental state.
What conditions can CBT help?
One of the reasons why cognitive behavioural therapy is so widely used as a therapy technique is because it has demonstrated effectiveness for a number of conditions. Research has shown that cognitive behavioural therapy can have a marked usefulness for conditions such as:
- Substance abuse and alcoholism
- Relationship dysfunction, including marital
- Disordered eating
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the conditions that could benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy. An experienced counsellor can use the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy to address almost any mental illness that you may be struggling with.
At Horizon Plymouth, our counsellors are all trained in providing cognitive behavioural therapy for a variety of challenges and conditions. Whether you are feeling overwhelmed by intense anxiety or are dealing with the effects of depression, our expert team is here to help you work through these feelings and reframe your thoughts to promote a happier, healthier you. No matter what you are struggling with, our team can help you. If you or someone you know could benefit from speaking with one of our qualified counsellors, don’t wait! Reach out to Horizon Plymouth to schedule your initial consultation today.