- Posted by Jon Harju
- On August 8, 2019
Everyone engages in some kind of self-talk or inner monologue daily – it’s as normal as breathing. The problem arises when our self-talk starts to sound demanding, degrading and just downright mean. As our conscious mind begins to hear this wretched negativity, the result often leads us to depression, anger, sadness or frustration.
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) has become the therapy of choice for many people overwhelmed by negative thoughts and self-talk.
What is CBT?
Cognitive behavioural therapy, otherwise known as CBT, is a popular therapeutic, evidence-based approach that can be practised independently using therapist-approved CBT tools or under the guidance and facilitation of a therapist.
Compared to traditional therapy, CBT focuses on what is currently happening in your life, as opposed to your past. In practice, CBT generally consists of identifying problematic thoughts and behaviours, replacing them with healthy responses.
Basically, if you have an issue involving your thoughts, self-talk and/or behaviours (which let’s face it, covers a lot of ground), then CBT has a treatment approach for you!
What issues can CBT help?
CBT can help with a range of things, including the following mental health conditions:
- anxiety disorders, including panic and phobia
- substance misuse
- eating disorders
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- bipolar disorder
But you don’t need to have a specific mental health condition to benefit from CBT. It can also help with:
- general life stress
- low self-esteem
- relationship difficulties
- breakup or divorce
- grief or loss
- chronic pain
- a serious health diagnosis, such as cancer
Why is CBT so popular?
One of the reasons CBT is so well known and widely used is because it has been studied extensively and universally treats a variety of mental health problems.
CBT is a goal-specific approach. Instead of talking freely about whatever comes to mind, your therapist will ask you to describe your problems as well as set goals you would like to achieve. You will then proceed to work together, tackling each of your problems.
“Done correctly, I believe CBT can help anyone since we all have faulty thoughts and beliefs from time to time,” says, Kati Morton, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and author of Are U OK?
What happens during a therapist-led CBT session?
The client identifies specific problems they’d like to overcome or the situations they find stressful, and works with their therapist to create an action plan.This helps them identify the problematic thoughts or behaviours, and find a way to change them, developing a positive strategy to implement this change.
Working alongside a therapist is beneficial since their analysis helps us to objectively define a problem, which can sometimes be the hardest task of all. Your therapist may give you additional reading material, and CBT exercises to practice on your own, such as: learning how to identify your trigger points, practicing breathing exercises, thought recording, etc.
The goal of CBT is to help you develop the skills to deal with difficulties on your own, whenever they arise.
CBT is life-changing and life-long work
Therapy can challenge you emotionally. It often helps you get better over time, but the process is hard work. You’ll need to talk about things that might be painful or distressing, and undoing deep-set patterns is significant work, so try not to pressure or expect yourself to resolve issues instantly.
Download Snapclarity to start receiving complimentary weekly CBT tools to your inbox, helping you to change your challenging thought patterns.
Book your confidential, virtual CBT session with a registered, licensed therapist from the comfort of your smart device.