Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy where the client and therapist work together for a short period of time to reconstruct negative thinking patterns. During this type of therapy clients are typically assigned homework.
CBT is very popular when managing depression, stress, anxiety, grief, and some instances of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CBT helps negative thoughts become more logical but manageable.
Steps in CBT
CBT typically includes these steps:
Identify troubling situations or conditions in your life. These may include such issues as a medical condition, divorce, grief, anger or symptoms of a mental health disorder. You and your therapist may spend some time deciding what problems and goals you want to focus on.
Become aware of your thoughts, emotions and beliefs about these problems.Once you've identified the problems to work on, your therapist will encourage you to share your thoughts about them. This may include observing what you tell yourself about an experience (self-talk), your interpretation of the meaning of a situation, and your beliefs about yourself, other people and events. Your therapist may suggest that you keep a journal of your thoughts.
Identify negative or inaccurate thinking. To help you recognize patterns of thinking and behavior that may be contributing to your problem, your therapist may ask you to pay attention to your physical, emotional and behavioral responses in different situations.
Reshape negative or inaccurate thinking. Your therapist will likely encourage you to ask yourself whether your view of a situation is based on fact or on an inaccurate perception of what's going on. This step can be difficult. You may have long-standing ways of thinking about your life and yourself. With practice, helpful thinking and behavior patterns will become a habit and won't take as much effort.