Various types of therapies are used by psychologists to treat their patients. One of the most popular therapies these days is Cognitive behavioral therapy. It is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that is well known for its empirical evidence in helping a range of conditions. The article below discusses everything you want to know about what is cognitive behavioral therapy.
What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
In simple terms, it may be defined as a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that is used for treating a wide range of issues including addictions, phobias, depression and anxiety among others. One of the most unique things about this therapy is that it requires much fewer sessions as compared to various other types of therapy and this treatment is conducted in a structured manner.
It is also important to keep in mind that the term cognitive behavioral therapy is a very general term for classification of various similar therapies. There are a number of different approaches to this therapy including rational behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, rational living therapy, dialectic behavior therapy and rational emotive behavior therapy among others.
As far as the basis of this behavioral therapy is concerned, it is based on the underlying concept that the feelings and thoughts play a fundamental role in the behavior of an individual. For instance, a person who thinks a lot about runway accidents and plane crashes is more likely to avoid air travel. The ultimate goal of this therapy is to teach patients that while everything around them is not under their control, they can control their interpretation of various things and deal with things in a positive manner in their environment.
This form of therapy is a short-term treatment option and many studies have shown that how it has helped a number of patients overcome a wide variety of various maladaptive behaviors.
As mentioned above, the most unique aspect of this form of therapy is that it can be short term. In fact, the average number of sessions is only 16 across all types of approaches. On the other hand, various other forms of therapy such as psychoanalysis can take many years to achieve results.
CBT is considered to be highly effective due to its structured nature and its use of homework assignments. The professionals inform the clients at the beginning of the therapy process that the formal therapy will end at a particular point of time. As far as the ending of formal therapy is concerned, this decision is jointly made by the client and therapist. In simple words, it is not an open-ended process and has a fixed ending date once goals are achieved.
Another important aspect of this form of therapy is that it is considered a collaborative effort between the client and the therapist. The therapist tries to learn the goals of the clients and they try to help the clients develop ways that can help them in achieving their goals. The role of a therapist providing this treatment is to help their clients realise their internal thought process whereas the role of a client is to ask questions, learn coping skills as well as implement the learning.
This therapy is structured and directive. Every session in this therapy has a specific agenda and clients are taught specific concepts and techniques during each session. The focus of this therapy is to help clients achieve their goals. The therapist does not define the goals for the clients but may help clients be aware of other helpful goals to achieve. The goal of the therapy is to show their clients how to behave in a manner to achieve their goals.
In other words, the focus of therapists in this therapy is not to tell the clients what to do but the focus is on teaching their clients how to do things.
One of the central features of this therapy is that it includes homework. The therapist assigns various reading assignments and encourages clients to practice techniques learned during the sessions to reinforce learning.
Uses of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
As mentioned in the beginning, this form of therapy has been used all over the world for treatment of a wide range of disorders including addictions, phobias and depression among others.
For this therapy to be effective, the client needs to be ready and willing to spend time and effort on analyzing their thoughts and feelings. Self-analysis is not easy but it is one of the best ways to learn more about how the internal state of a client affects their outward behavior.
This form of therapy is also considered better for people who want a short-term treatment. One of the biggest advantages of this therapy is that it helps clients in developing coping skills that can be useful in the present as well as in the future.
Overall, there are a number of benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy. However, it is important to choose the right therapist to get the maximum out of this therapy so best to obtain a recommendation from a friend or GP.