What exactly is CBT?
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the important role of thinking in how we feel and what we do.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy does not exist as a distinct therapeutic technique. The term “cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)” is a very general term for a classification of therapies with similarities. There are several approaches to cognitive-behavioral therapy, including Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Rational Behavior Therapy, Rational Living Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, and Dialectic Behavior Therapy.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations, and events. The benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we think to feel / act better even if the situation does not change.
Some forms of therapy assume that the main reason people get better in therapy is because of the positive relationship between the therapist and client. Cognitive-behavioral therapists believe it is important to have a good, trusting relationship, but that is not enough. CBT therapists believe that the clients change because they learn how to think differently and they act on that learning. Therefore, CBT therapists focus on teaching rational self-counseling skills.
Cognitive-behavioral therapists seek to learn what their clients want out of life (their goals) and then help their clients achieve those goals. The therapist’s role is to listen, teach, and encourage, while the client’s roles is to express concerns, learn, and implement that learning.
Cognitive-behavioral therapists want to gain a very good understanding of their clients’ concerns. That’s why they often ask questions. They also encourage their clients to ask questions of themselves, like, “How do I really know that those people are laughing at me?” “Could they be laughing about something else?”
Cognitive-behavioral therapists have a specific agenda for each session. Specific techniques / concepts are taught during each session. CBT focuses on the client’s goals. We do not tell our clients what their goals “should” be, or what they “should” tolerate. We are directive in the sense that we show our clients how to think and behave in ways to obtain what they want. Therefore, CBT therapists do not tell their clients what to do — rather, they teach their clients how to do.
CBT is based on the scientifically supported assumption that most emotional and behavioral reactions are learned. Therefore, the goal of therapy is to help clients unlearn their unwanted reactions and to learn a new way of reacting.
Therefore, CBT has nothing to do with “just talking”. People can “just talk” with anyone.
The educational emphasis of CBT has an additional benefit — it leads to long term results. When people understand how and why they are doing well, they know what to do to continue doing well.
If when you attempted to learn your multiplication tables you spent only one hour per week studying them, you might still be wondering what 5 X 5 equals. You very likely spent a great deal of time at home studying your multiplication tables, maybe with flashcards.
The same is the case with psychotherapy. Goal achievement (if obtained) could take a very long time if all a person were only to think about the techniques and topics taught was for one hour per week. That’s why CBT therapists assign reading assignments and encourage their clients to practice the techniques learned.
Call our toll free, 24 hour Utah Treatment Center HELPLINE today at 1-888-576-HEAL (4325).
All calls are confidential. Source(s): National Alliance on Mental Illness and National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists