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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Therapy is any therapeutic approach that teaches people new beliefs, new expectations, and new ways of thinking. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a cognitive therapy in that this method focuses on changing the cognitive (thought) processes that in turn, affect behavioral changes. CBT uses cognitive restructuring, which teaches an individual how to identify negative, irrational beliefs and replace them with truthful, rational statements.

This form of educational therapy is different than the traditional form of talk therapy. Instead of delving into the past for the source of problems, this therapy focuses on what is going on at the present time, what perpetuates the problem, and teaches what can be done to alleviate the problem. Compared to traditional psychotherapy, cognitive therapy is a short-term highly structured form of therapy. The patient takes a proactive role in CBT, with a trained therapist to guide them.

Disorders treated by CBT include anxiety, phobias, eating disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, substance abuse, depression, relationship problems and learning difficulties.

IN CBT, therapists work with individuals to help them identify those thoughts and those behaviors that are connected with their problem. The individual learns how their thoughts, emotions and behavior are3 connected and how to examine their primary beliefs. They are taught how to recognize distorted thinking and how to consider alternatives to these beliefs, and thus restructure their self-harming beliefs.

For example, distorted thinking can lead to depression and anxiety. Imagine two young men applying for their first job at a fast food restaurant. Both really want the job and both are thinking that they shouldn't have a problem getting the job. However, both are turned down for the job. The first young man is disappointed, perhaps he realizes it might not have been a good fit, and decides to look elsewhere. The second young man is devastated: his thinking has led him to believe that his landing this job is a measure of his entire worth. He retreats to his room and refuses to look for another job.

Cognitive therapy can help the second young man because it
is a treatment designed to teach an individual how to identify and monitor negative thinking patterns and how to change these patterns to think in a more positive, realistic manner. The individuals learn how to challenge their own thoughts.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy uses diaries and charts in order to help the individual identify the problems, the triggers, and the thought processes. The therapy usually consists of three areas:

1. Cognitive - what the individual thinks. The individuals are trained to identify and stop negative thoughts, to slow down in talking and moving, how to accept themselves more readily, and to use positive self-statements.

2. Emotional - teaching the individual how to calm himself or herself to allow the thought processes to work more slowly and rationally.

3. Behavioral - what the individual does. The individual is taught how to use their newly achieved thought processes to carry them through their actions and reactions.




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