Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

CBT is one form of psychotherapy that is structured, short-term, and present-oriented. CBT is based on the conceptualization or in-depth understanding of each individual patient (their specific behavioral and belief patterns). CBT is the most researched formed of psychotherapy (Hoffman et al,2012) and considered the gold standard of psychological treatment (David et al,2018). More information about CBT outcome studies can be read here

How CBT works

The CBT therapist will look at how to produce cognitive changes by modifying the patient's mind and belief system so that it can lead to changes in the emotional and behavioral aspects. A dysfunctional mindset that affects the mood and behavior of patients is the cause of various psychological disorders, aside from chemical imbalances or structural abnormality. As patients learn to evaluate their thoughts, they become more realistic and adaptive, and may show improvements in emotional and behavioral domains. Generally, CBT is used to treat anxiety disorders and depression, but it can also be very useful for other mental and physical disorders, such as addiction.

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Generic Cognitive Model

Taken from Beck & Haigh, 2014

The generic cognitive model emphasizes common putative cognitive and behavioral processes across human psychopathology. The interplay represents the common underlying psychopathology among environmental events, behavior, focus, and beliefs, and the unique features of mental disorders derive from the belief content (Beck & Haigh, 2014).

 

Illustration

Can you imagine when you sit in one of your professor’s class with your friend? You might think that the way the professor explains the material is uninteresting, and you feel like you’d rather go outside and enjoy the sunny day. On the other hand, your friend, who is sitting next to you, has a different perspective on the situation. She thinks that the way the professor explains the material is entertaining! Therefore she refused when you asked her to come with you to go outside.

 

What is happening here? You and your friend are in the same situation but have different thoughts, emotions, and behavior responses. We can conclude through this illustration that the problem is not the professor's teaching style but your way of thinking or how you perceive the situation. Imagine that this thought process happens every single day and time, and for some, to an extent that it affects how they perform daily. CBT will guide you in restructuring how you perceive situations more rationally to increase your coping mechanisms when dealing with “difficult” situations.

 

CBT is based on the therapeutic relationship between the therapist and the client. The therapist and the client work together collaboratively (collaborative empiricism) to speed the healing process by developing a therapeutic relationship. The collaborative relationship makes sessions in CBT more engaging and supportive for the client.