Are you interested in understanding more about cognitive Behavioural therapy? Read this article for an expert explanation.
What Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
CBT is a method of psychotherapeutic treatment founded on the idea that by changing the way a person thinks you can change the way he/she behaves. In a CBT session the therapist analyzes your thought patterns based on interview questions. And then the therapist gives you suggestions for replacing specific un-supportive thoughts with those that can make you feel better.
For example, let’s say you have a fear of public speaking, every time you need to do it you freeze up and can’t go through with it. A CBT therapist will look for the thoughts attached to this behavior and try to replace them. The therapist might find out that one of your thoughts is “I’m not good enough to speak here” and tells you to replace it with the thought, “I am well prepared and can do this.”
Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Effective?
A good amount of research shows that CBT is relatively effective for producing change. The problem is that for a majority of people this change is temporary and relapse into old behaviours is common. Also fairly common is that a CBT client develops a similar symptom in another area of /his/her life. For example you may overcome your fear of public speaking through CBT but develop a fear of socializing in groups.
In my opinion this is because CBT only treats symptoms and leaves the underlying issues that cause them unaddressed. The difficulty arises in treating people as symptoms rather than as whole, complex individuals with distinct psycho-dynamics.
Read more in the book “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple: 10 Strategies For Managing Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Panic, And Worry“
What Are The Alternatives To Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
Because of the limitations of rigid approach of CBT, other types of therapy hold promise for effecting long lasting and profound change at a core level. Here are the most widely used ones:
- Traditional psychoanalysis which can involve years of sessions.
- Person-centered psychotherapy which focuses on the person rather than the symptom and works toward deep changes.
How I Work With Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Although I see the limitations of CBT clearly there are times in my practice that I use some of its tools to help people move on from unhelpful thoughts. I use this form of therapy as a complementary tool to the person-centered approach that forms the foundation of my practice. I find that focusing on the individual with his/her unique inner dynamics while staying open to moments where CBT is exactly the right tool gives my clients a better chance at creating deep and lasting change for themselves.