When you’re living with intrusive, negative thoughts, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often an excellent therapy method to learn how to cope with them. You learn to identify distorted thoughts and develop control of them and your behavioral responses.
What is CBT?
CBT is a structured type of psychological therapy that can help you change your thought patterns and behaviors. It’s based on several core principles including:
- Psychological problems are in part due to distorted or harmful ways of thinking
- Psychological problems are in part due to patterns of unhelpful behavior
- You can learn better ways of coping with the thoughts and actions that contribute to your psychological problems
CBT usually involved a set number of sessions, during which you and your therapist explore your thoughts and behaviors. You then learn and practice coping strategies.
When is CBT recommended?
Therapies use CBT to address several different psychological issues including anxiety disorders, depression, marital problems, eating disorders, and drug and alcohol misuse. If you have negative or distorted thoughts that lead to self-destructive or unhelpful behaviors, CBT can help you improve your quality of life.
What should I expect during CBT?
You might imagine therapy as lying on a couch talking about your childhood to identify the root causes of your psychological issues. However, when you participate in CBT, you’ll find a much more pragmatic approach.
You’ll identify specific thoughts and behaviors that are interfering with your quality of life. You and your therapist focus on your current problems and develop strategies to address them. You’ll develop particular goals you want to achieve. You won’t dwell on the past, but instead, focus on what you can do to change the way you think and act now.
How to get the most out of CBT
While CBT is a very structured form of therapy, you can maximize what you get out of it with a few tips.
For example, if your long-term goal is to overcome your social anxiety, your mini-goals may include talking to the cashier at the grocery store and practice being curious and kind.
Identify where to address the issue
When it comes to negative thoughts and behaviors, everyone is unique. You and your therapist work together to identify where you can apply your strategies to change. You might need to focus on the situations that trigger your intrusive thoughts or the environments where those thoughts impact your ability to function. You might practice visualization techniques to practice during your session.
When you’re exploring your thoughts and feelings in therapy, your conversation may take a turn down a tangential path. While it’s important to recognize that your emotions and triggers aren’t always linear, during CBT, you focus on the problem in front of your right now. Be flexible, but stay on track.
Do your homework
One of the hallmarks of CBT is homework. When you’re learning strategies to address your psychological problems, you need to practice. At
You should also share feedback with your therapist. You may want to begin each session with a recap of how your practice went, or you could close each session with a recap of your discussion and identify what was good or if there were aspects that could have been better.
When should I talk to a therapist about my mental health and CBT?
If you’re living with intrusive thoughts and feelings that are disrupting your relationships or negatively impacting your quality of life, you should make an appointment to talk to a therapist. After an initial assessment, your therapist may recommend CBT or another style of therapy to help you resolve your issues and restore both your mental and overall health.
The team of licensed therapists at North Brooklyn Marriage and Family Therapy offer a variety of different therapy methods to address a wide range of mental health conditions. Schedule an appointment today.