Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a psychotherapy that is used to dissect the thought process and feelings of an individual. This technique is utilized to understand why people who have a complex thought process and complex feelings, dictate their behavior. This psychotherapeutic method is based on the theory that our feelings and behavior are influenced by our own thoughts, not by other external factors.
CBT is often used to treat depression. CBT studies the negative thoughts that affect an individual's mood, behavior, and physical state. After a psychotherapist cultivates this information from the individual, it is then analyzed thoroughly. A psychotherapist then helps the individual to understand his or her thought process, and in turn helps to replace these feelings with healthier, positive thinking. The most beneficial technique used in this method is that specialists can help alter an individual's thought process to improve their health and well being.
The most important characteristics of this therapy include:
- Cognitive restructuring – In this therapy, thought patterns are restructured and then used to influence an individual's behavior. This enables the individual to overcome difficult situations with ease.
- Specificity – CBT depicts the flaws in thought patterns and behaviors, with a specific issue.
- Structured – A therapist teaches a specific concept or a technique to maintain negative thoughts through one session. This method will help the individual to direct his or her thoughts to create a different, healthier response. Patients are not directly told what they should do; instead, they are guided how to handle different reactions and situations. This therapy is goal-oriented, and directive in nature.
- Educational approach – A therapist will conduct and program for the individual, and have the individual note down any negative thoughts so that the her or she can understand how each thought can affect his or her mood and behavior. This is followed by instruction to teach coping skills so that they will be able to face an issue or problem confidently.
- Socratic method – Therapists are able to understand the depths of a patient's internal struggle through a method of questioning. Therapists will also encourage their patients to question themselves about different thought processes.
- Multiple strategies – CBT uses several different approaches to get to the root of the problem; this includes role playing, guided discovery, behavioral experiments, and guided imagery.
CBT is a form of treatment that is typically used for people with mild to moderate depression. This therapy can help better an individual, without the use of medication. Studies report that this psychotherapeutic technique is as effective as antidepressant medication, normally used for the treatment of depression. Individuals who have major depression, will undergo this therapy, in addition to taking medications for a more effective treatment.
For CBT to be a success an individual must:
- Be motivated to recieve treatment
- Have internal control
- Have the ability to introspect