Cognitive behavioral therapy

What is cognitive-behavioral therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychological therapy, i.e., talk therapy, in which, with the help of a psychotherapist, sessions are conducted to help you become more aware of your negative thoughts, so that you can be more decisive in demanding situations.

It is a very useful tool, whether it is done alone or combined with other therapies. It can be used to treat some mental health disorders, such as eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. However, not everyone who benefits from CBT has a mental illness. This therapy can be a useful tool for anyone, as it can help you learn to deal more calmly with the high-stress situations you experience on a daily basis.

Why is it done?

It serves to treat a wide range of problems, as well as helping to identify and deal with specific situations quickly. It generally requires fewer sessions than other types of therapy.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a useful tool for addressing emotional challenges. For example, it can help you with the following:

  • Control symptoms of mental pathologies and avoid relapses.
  • Coping with stressful situations of our daily routine.
  • Learn to control emotions.
  • Solve conflicts and learn to relate better.
  • Overcoming losses and pain, as well as emotional traumas.
  • To face the diagnosis of an illness.
  • Having chronic physical symptoms under control.

The following mental disorders could improve with CBT:

  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Phobias.
  • Post-traumatic stress.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • Addictions.
  • Bipolar disorders.
  • Schizophrenia.
  • Sexual disorders.
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Sometimes cognitive behavioral therapy is more effective when combined with taking antidepressants or other medications.

Are there any risks involved?

At times, you may feel emotionally uncomfortable, as it makes you explore painful feelings, emotions and experiences. It is common to cry, become distressed or angry during a session.

Some forms of CBT, such as exposure therapy, may cause you to confront situations that you are afraid of (such as fear of flying). This can cause temporary anxiety or stress.

What does it involve?

Cognitive behavioral therapy consists of these steps:

  • Identify problematic situations or disruptions in your life. A medical condition, divorce, grief, anger, etc.
  • Pay attention to your thoughts, emotions and opinions in relation to these problems. Once you have identified the problem, you should tell the therapist what you think about the problem. The therapist may ask you to keep a journal of your inner dialogues.
  • Identify negative or inaccurate thoughts. The therapist will ask you to pay attention to your physical, emotional, and behavioral responses to various situations.
  • Reform negative or inaccurate thoughts. You will learn to see if your opinion is supported by facts or an inaccurate perception of reality.

Duration of therapy

CBT is a therapy of short duration, ranging from 5-20 sessions. These will vary depending on these factors:

  • Type of disorder or situation.
  • Severity of symptoms.
  • The speed with which you evolve.
  • Level of stress endured.
  • Degree of help you receive.