Cognitive behavioral therapy in the Berkshires: How does CBT Work?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps individuals manage their mental health by exploring relationships between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. During therapy sessions, a CBT therapist will actively work with an individual to identify problematic thought patterns and how they might cause self-destructive behaviors.
By addressing unhelpful thought and behavioral patterns, the individual and therapist can work together to establish more productive, positive ways of thinking. For example, CBT might help someone replace anxiety-inducing thoughts (“Everyone judges me in social situations”) with more positive expectations (“My friends won’t judge me, based on my past experiences”).
Wondering if CBT is right for you? Here’s how CBT can help you gain valuable insight into your mental health.
What is CBT?
Cognitive behavior therapy is based on several core principles, following the idea that psychological issues are based on unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving. An essential part of CBT is pinpointing how your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors affect your feelings and actions.
Cognitive behavior therapy aims to help individuals learn new skills to cope with psychological problems. For instance, although anxiety might cause you to avoid social situations, CBT can help you confront your fears gradually, helping you shift your mindset. By becoming your own therapist, you’ll be able to take control of your mental health and live a more fulfilling life.
What should you expect during CBT?
Cognitive behavior therapy aims to replace negative thoughts, behaviors, and emotions with more positive ones. Your therapist might help you practice cognitive restructuring by recognizing distortions in your automatic thoughts and replacing them with more realistic ones.
It’s important to remember that not all behavior therapists use the same behavioral techniques or therapeutic approach, and you’ll work closely with your psychologist, counselor or social worker to determine the best interventions for you.
Depending on your specific problems, your CBT therapist may utilize different therapeutic approaches, such as exposure therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, rational emotive behavior therapy, or interpersonal therapy—all of which are forms of CBT. Many CBT therapists also offer different therapeutic modalities, such as family therapy, couples counseling, and group therapy.
If you’ve tried psychodynamic therapy before, you’ll quickly find that CBT takes a different approach than psychoanalysis and other types of psychotherapy. Instead of focusing on your past, your CBT therapist will ask about your current problems and mental health goals.
Above all else, CBT helps individuals learn to become their own therapists. Through CBT techniques and “homework assignments” outside of therapy sessions, clients learn to develop better coping skills. In turn, these coping skills can help clients change their own thoughts, behavioral patterns, and emotions.
What does cognitive behavior therapy treat?
Unlike other forms of therapy, CBT techniques are supported by ample scientific evidence. Research has demonstrated that CBT is an effective treatment for a wide range of mental health problems, including:
- Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder and social anxiety
- Eating disorders
- Emotional problems
- Mood disorders, including bipolar disorder and depression
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Relationship problems
- Substance use disorders
Clinical trials have shown that CBT leads to significant improvements in functioning and quality of life among individuals with mental illness. CBT is also an effective treatment for children, adolescents, and adults.
In clinical practice, CBT is an effective tool for treating emotional distress and pain perception associated with chronic medical conditions, such as cancer. CBT is as effective as—or more effective than—other forms of psychotherapy and psychiatric medications, including antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy in the Berkshires
Whether you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety, struggling with negative feelings, or just looking to improve your mental health, CBT can help you start feeling better.
To find a good fit, reach out to a psychologist through The Berkshire Therapy Group. We’ll connect you to a psychotherapist you feel comfortable with based on your personal preferences, requirements, and mental health concerns. Our experienced mental health practitioners will help you explore your treatment options and choose the best type of therapy for your situation.