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Reviewing CBT

Reviewing CBT

Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on examining the relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviors

Understanding the basic principles, methods and uses of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is very important in the context of addiction and mental health conditions. If you or a loved one in Des Moines is struggling with an addiction or mental health issue, find out if CBT could be helpful to you in your treatment and recovery.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the important role of thinking in emotional control and life choices. The first thing to understand about cognitive behavioral therapy is that it is based on what is referred to as the cognitive model of emotional response. The cognitive model of emotional response states that a thought is the root of feeling and behaviors. Emotions and choices are not wholly based on circumstances, events, or other people, according to this theory.

The cognitive model of emotional response is the common source for a variety of cognitive behavioral therapy methodologies. Some therapeutic approaches that are based on the cognitive model of emotional response include rational emotive behavior therapy, rational behavior therapy, rational living therapy, cognitive therapy, and dialectic behavior therapy. The specifics of these therapies do vary in some significant ways, but each holds to the same base behavioral theory.

Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on examining the relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. CBT explores the patterns of thinking that lie behind self-destructive behaviors, uncovers the beliefs that are hidden underneath these behaviors, and addresses these directly. The expectation is that an individual will be able to modify the unhealthy behaviors by addressing the thoughts and beliefs that guide them.

How Is CBT Different from Other Techniques?

As a natural outgrowth of this focused approach to treatment, CBT is typically comprised of 20 or less sessions. This stands in stark contrast to the lengthier counseling programs that are typical of many other approaches to therapy.

Many other therapeutic techniques are dependent upon a trusting relationship between the counselor and client. While this remains important with cognitive behavioral therapy, it does not receive the same level of focus in therapy. Instead, the focus is on identifying unhealthy or non-useful thought patterns or beliefs, and subsequently teaching rational self-counseling skills.

This approach in CBT also creates a greater sense of collaboration between the client and therapist. Many other therapeutic approaches tend to emphasize the expertise of the counselor and as such can create a sense of dependency upon this expertise. In CBT, the primary role of the therapist is to listen, teach and encourage; the client’s role is to learn and implement learning after expressing concerns.

A cognitive behavioral therapist establishes specific agendas for each session, with a focus on one or more techniques and concepts. Further, a CBT therapist is unlikely to tell a client what appropriate goals are, but will instead provide the path and skills for the client to accomplish the goals they set for themselves.

One additional distinction between CBT and other therapeutic approaches is the emphasis on homework. It is impossible to learn a new skill and incorporate it into a daily routine without practicing this new skill. Skills are emphasized in cognitive behavioral therapy through reading assignment and the daily practice of new techniques.

Who Can Benefit from CBT?

It is remarkable how many different diagnoses or disorders cognitive behavioral therapy can be useful for, particularly in contrast to some of the other therapeutic approaches. CBT has proven to be useful in any number of diagnostic situations. Scientific studies support its usefulness in the treatment of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse disorders, sleep disorders, and psychotic disorders. Indeed, CBT has been shown to be as effective as antidepressants for those suffering from severe clinical depression.

The fundamental reason behind this success is that clients are taught new patterns of thought. They are also taught to take control and take responsibility for their thoughts, their beliefs, and their choices. This shift makes a significant difference in a person’s life across many spectrums of disorders and addictions.

Find the Treatment that Best Meets Your Needs

If you or a loved one in Des Moines is struggling with an addiction or mental health issue, call our toll-free helpline today to learn more about treatments such as CBT that may be helpful in your recovery. Admissions counselors are available 24 hours a day to help you find the resources and specific types of treatment you need to make a full recovery.