Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a solution-based approach to psychotherapy that helps patients modify dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. It encourages patients to identify and ultimately change distorted cognitions, which are inaccurate perceptions that reinforce negative thinking and emotions. Common distorted cognitions include the tendency to view even minor mistakes as catastrophic and the tendency to filter out positives in life, focusing only on the negatives.
- anger management
- anxiety and panic attacks
- child and adolescent problems
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- chronic pain
- drug or alcohol problems
- eating problems
- general health problems
- habits, such as facial tics
- mood swings
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- sexual and relationship problems
- sleep problems
Lessening Depression: Depression comes in a variety of forms and intensities. While many people respond well to antidepressant medications, CBT can also help patients cope with depression. In particular, CBT can help patients learn to identify the ways their depression creates distorted cognitions, and then adjust behaviors in ways that push against rather than intensify depressed feelings.
Lowering Anxiety: Like depression, anxiety can present in a variety of ways. Some people live in a more-or-less constant state of apprehension, always worried something is about to go wrong. Others fixate so intensely on a single problem or mistake they have difficulty functioning. But no matter the specificities of a patient’s anxieties, CBT can help them lower their anxiety by challenging anxiety-provoking distorted cognitions.
Combatting Bulimia and Anorexia: Bulimia and anorexia typically involve body dysmorphic disorder, a condition that makes it difficult for people to objectively view the size and shape of their body. CBT can help bulimic and anorexic patients combat the distorted cognitions leading to their inaccurate perceptions of themselves. CBT can also help these patients focus on and embrace healthier behaviors.
Limiting Anger Issues: People with anger issues tend to have a heightened need for control, or a heightened belief that anything that goes wrong is due to them failing to take control. An inability to properly perceive what can and can’t be controlled is a common distorted cognition. As such, CBT can help patients better identify what can truly be controlled and react more appropriately to difficult situations.
Decreasing Somatic Symptoms: Somatic symptoms are physical symptoms with a psychological rather than physiological cause. Common somatic symptoms include headaches, fatigue, digestive ailments, and certain kinds of pain. CBT has proven effective in treating the underlying mental health issues that can cause somatic symptoms.
|Further reading and resources|
|PsycheCentral: CBT In-Depth Review|
|Montreal CBT Clinic|
|Beck Institute: CBT Resources|
|Mayoclinic: Preparation to start CBT|