COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY (CBT)
CBT is a form of psychotherapy that rests on the idea that thoughts and perceptions influence behaviours. Cognitive behavioural therapists bring about change by getting their clients to recognise, identify, and change destructive or disturbing thought patterns (including all cognitive processes – thoughts, images, beliefs, and attitudes) that have negative influence over their emotions and behaviours.
The goal of CBT is to teach clients that while they cannot control every aspect of the world around them, they can take control of how they interpret and deal with things in their environment. Practitioners guide their clients in identifying harmful thoughts, assessing whether they are an accurate depiction of reality, and, if they are not, empower them to employ strategies to overcome them. CBT is used to help treat a wide range of issues in a person’s life, from sleeping difficulties or relationship problems, to drug and alcohol abuse or anxiety and depression.
CBT is appropriate for people of all ages, including children, adolescents, and adults. Evidence has mounted that CBT can benefit numerous conditions, such as major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and many others.
AUTOMATIC NEGATIVE THOUGHTS (ANTS)
ANTS exacerbates emotional difficulties and fuels depression and anxiety. If our ANTS are not being dealt with and goes out of proportion, it automatically blocks us from seeing things in its true perspectives. We’ll continue to ruminate the same old thoughts and fail to learn anything new, basing our predictions and interpretations on a biased view, and making the difficulty that we face seem much worse. CBT helps people to correct these misinterpretations. Clients who go through CBT are encouraged to look at evidence from reality that either supports or refutes these thoughts. And by doing so, people are able to see things in a more objective and realistic way.
THE BENEFITS OF CBT
The tools deployed in CBT—which include learning to identify and dispute unrealistic or unhelpful thoughts and developing problem-solving skills—have been used to treat a broad range of mental health challenges. CBT is now considered among the most efficacious forms of talk therapy, especially when clients incorporate strategies into their daily life. This effort to gain insight into one’s cognitive and behavioural processes and modify them in a constructive way often involves ongoing practice, but is favoured by many clients as it can require fewer therapy sessions than other modalities.
There is a new and rapidly growing interest in using CBT (together with medication) with people who suffer from hallucinations and delusions, and those with long-term problems in relating to others. It’s less easy to solve problems that are more severely disabling and more long-standing through short-term therapy. But people can often learn principles that improve their quality of life and increase their chances of making further progress.