Reviewing CBT

Reviewing CBT

CBT is therapy that focuses on how you think and replaces negative thoughts with positive

Whether or not you know it by the official term, you likely know something about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This form of therapy focuses on changing the thought patterns of an individual. Essentially, negative thought patterns are replaced with positive thought patterns. What an individual thinks about and how he or she processes thoughts about a specific pattern of thinking is more the focus rather than the reason why a person thinks that way. Over time with treatment, believed ways of thinking is challenged, and then these false thoughts are corrected. If an individual has been abused, CBT is often used such as this example with the San Francisco Health Improvement Partnership. According to this non-profit, CBT is a way of minimizing reduce psychological harm among children and adolescents who have psychological symptoms resulting from exposure to traumatic events.

Historically, according to PsychCentral, CBT is a blend of two therapies: cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. CBT was developed by Aaron Beck, M.D. and focuses on a person’s thoughts and beliefs. Behavioral therapy is about a person’s actions and aims to change unhealthy behavior patterns. This is not unlike other treatment programs. The following are some specific details about CBT:

CBT Is Very Educational in Approach

In treatment, a therapist will often use lessons that teach patients to monitor and write down their negative thoughts and mental images. One of the most basic tools of cognitive therapy is called the thought record. For this exercise, an individual makes note of their thoughts in a journal and spends time to thinking about them. When not acting in the moment, it becomes easier for the individual to process the situation and to reflect. The overall goal is to recognize how these ideas influence their thoughts, behavior and even physical condition like in dealing with an addiction to drugs such as Xanax.

CBT Is Used for a Wide Range of Mental Issues

Some specific disorders that CBT has been used with include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, eating disorders and schizophrenia. For example, if someone struggles with depression, an automatic way of thinking could be, “I feel terrible,” or “I’m worthless.” These thoughts are replaced with a healthier line of thinking. By focusing on the positives, a person can say, “I look forward to going to dinner tonight with my friend,” or “I am glad I get to do this activity today at work,” as opposed to a negative line of thinking. CBT helps you recognize irrational thoughts that simply are not true. This is one of the most helpful aspects of this approach. In many cases, irrational thoughts are believe to be true—at least at the subconscious level, and CBT education and treatment will help with this area. In many cases, the way you think leads to how act. If you feel as if you are going to make a mistake like a Xanax relapse, you are more likely to make a mistake. This may sound hard to believe at first, but think about it. If you believe you will fail in whatever it is you want to do, you are more likely to fail especially once your mind is convinced of something and you do not realize it.

CBT Is Often Used With Other Treatment Options

Some strategies that are used in CBT include asking questions to dig deeper with the Socratic method, role playing, imagery, guided discovery, behavioral experiments and more to help patients discover their thought patterns. Typically, CBT treatment is three to four months in length. There is no one specific version of CBT. Instead there are many different versions of CBT. For example, even the popular 12-Step program has some similarities to CBT. AA’s First Step, admitting you are powerless over your addiction, is similar to CBT’s first stage which focuses on the here and now. In both methods, it is essential to first identify behavior patterns you want to change.

CBT is not a cure-all, but it can help you deal with your thoughts in a more positive way. CBT helps a person focus on his or her current problems and how to solve them. Both patient and therapist need to be actively involved in this process. The therapist helps the patient learn how to identify distorted or unhelpful thinking patterns, recognize and change inaccurate beliefs, relate to others in more positive ways, and change behaviors as  needed. Research from the National Institute of Drug Abuse states that the skills learned through CBT remain after the completion of treatment. In many cases, more powerful effects are achieved by combining CBT with medications and other types of therapy. CBT is also known to enhance an individual’s self-control by providing helpful coping strategies.

Do you struggle with substance abuse like to Xanax? If so, you may wonder if CBT is the right treatment solution for you. The answer will vary from individual to individual. Please talk to your healthcare professional and find out, or feel free to talk to one of our counselors at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline. Our counselors will tell you more about CBT and other forms of therapy.

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