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What is involved in CBT therapy and does it really work?

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Mika, Staff Writer

Thursday, 18th February 2021

Over the past few decades, the subject of positive mental health has been brought further into the limelight. This modern acceptance of the importance of good mental health has led to a range of therapeutic mental health treatment methods, including cognitive behavioural therapy.

Based on much older psychological methods, cognitive behavioural therapy has grown into a much deeper method of treating patients, including those who seek treatment for depression, anxiety and other psychosocial problems. So what exactly is involved in this form of therapy and how can it help? Let’s delve into these questions and more as we take an in-depth look at cognitive behavioural therapy. 

What is involved in CBT Therapy?

Cognitive behavioural therapy is based on the idea that psychological problems are caused by harmful thought processes which negatively impact how someone views their life (also known as maladaptive thought processes). It goes on to say that negative emotions and thoughts are based, in part, on learned patterns of unhelpful behaviour.

CBT therapy sessions use a version of talking therapy to analyse a patient’s thought processes and how they view themselves, others and the future. This helps the patient develop new ways of processing thoughts and, in turn, leads to more positive actions and outcomes. 

Can you do CBT on yourself?

There are ways of doing cognitive behavioural therapy by yourself and on yourself. This is mainly done through a self-help book or using techniques you may have learned from a one to one session of CBT. There are also other CBT resources online; these again can help boost your own CBT techniques and reinforce positive ways of thinking.

This being said, CBT has been proven to be successful mainly when working alongside a therapist. This is for a few reasons. The main reason is the fact that a trained professional has both the experience and the background psychological knowledge that leads to success. Second of all, CBT works best as a medical talking therapy when it is practised between two people, as it is meant to be. Creating a dialogue between the patient and the therapist is key to the success of CBT.  

Does CBT really work?

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence to prove that cognitive behavioural therapy does really work. Yet this doesn’t mean it is a cure-all or the ideal course of action for everyone and every psychological disorder. CBT tends to be most successful when used for conditions where anxiety or depression is the main problem. CBT has also been found to be just as effective as antidepressants for many types of depression.

For those with far more severe mental health conditions, CBT may not be the answer. As the theory requires the patient to be self-aware and show an ability to assess their own feelings and thought processes, those whose conditions make this near impossible will struggle or fail to respond to this treatment.    

To sum up 

Research has consistently shown that CBT is a highly effective form of treatment for a range of mental health issues, including those suffering from depression and anxiety.

From helping people to develop self-esteem, to gaining a more rational thought process and even improving sleep, the potential benefits are endless. All it takes is the right therapist to guide you through the process. 

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