Cognitive Behavioural Therapy might sound extremely complex, but it’s actually a pretty simple concept to grasp. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (or CBT) is a form of talk therapy that focuses on changing the way someone thinks and behaves. So during a CBT session, any thoughts or behaviours that can be problematic are identified, challenged and replaced.
What Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Can Help You With
These are some of the things Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help with:
Introspection & personal growth
The age-old saying states that you cannot change what you don’t acknowledge. And as CBT helps to identify any negative thoughts or behaviours that don’t serve you, it can be seen as the starting point of introspection and the launchpad for your personal growth.
Learning a new skill
CBT can change behaviours, but it can also teach you new ones. By practising or repeating certain things it will inherently become part of your skill set.
CBT is designed to help you solve problems in a very systematic way by using the following five steps:
- Identify the problem.
- Make a list of all potential solutions.
- Review the pros/cons or strengths/weaknesses of each of these solutions.
- Choose which solution is best.
- Implement the solution.
There is an element to CBT that’s called diary work. This type of self-monitoring is incredibly important when you’re in the process of changing thought patterns or behaviours. Or you’re trying to manage a mental illness. Diary work is all about tracking thoughts, behaviours, symptoms etc. daily and over an extended period of time to stay on top of your progress and to spot any potential red flags.
CBT can be extremely useful when it comes to treating addictions since it helps the addict to find connections between their thoughts feelings and the addictive actions/behaviour. That makes them especially aware of their triggers and can help prevent relapses.
Managing mental illnesses
CBT has proven to be invaluable when it comes to managing mental illnesses such as Depression, Bipolar, Anxiety, Personality Disorders etc. Not only does it help swap negative thoughts and behaviours for more positive and healthy ones, but it also makes overwhelming problems much more manageable by breaking them down into smaller parts. Whilst other traditional therapy methods often put a lot of emphasis on the past, CBT focuses more on your current reality and situation and how to better deal with it.
Treating chronic pain
Treating chronic pain is an unexpected, but pleasant surprise when it comes to CBT. Those suffering from arthralgia, fibromyalgia, chronic headaches etc. have reported that CBT has drastically improved their quality of life by reducing pain and distress. This is done by modifying/changing physical sensations, the way they think about their pain/illness and other maladaptive behaviours.
Dealing with a breakup or divorce
CBT can be very powerful when it comes to separation and a broken heart. CBT can help identify and change self-destructive behaviour such as ruminating (obsessively thinking about an event or occurrence). This only worsens the situation and amplifies feelings of anxiety, stress and anger associated with the event or occurrence.
Curing insomnia and other sleep disruptions
If you’re someone who’d rather avoid sleeping pills and other medical solutions to get your sleep back on track, CBT is just the thing for you. It helps you identify certain thoughts or behaviours that cause your sleep problems. And helps to replace them with thoughts and habits that promote sleep. It can be as simple as stopping drinking tea late at night to more complex issues such as a fear of being robbed whilst asleep.
When we refer to phobias it’s not just that someone finds spiders gross or starts feeling a bit queasy when they’re high up. Having a real phobia means that someone has an irrational fear of something and it can be quite debilitating depending on how extreme the phobia is. CBT can be very helpful in treating phobias since it can highlight any problematic or irrational thinking patterns that are paired with certain events, objects, people, animals or places. It can then help the individual adopt new ideas and thoughts, resulting in them having a much less anxiety-riddled response.
Signs That it’s Time to Reach Out
CBT isn’t a therapy that necessarily needs a crisis in order to be helpful, but these are a few times that you need to reach out to a CBT therapist:
- You realise that there is a definite correlation between your problems and your thoughts and behaviours.
- You’re full of doom and gloom and always expect the worst from life and people.
- You have been diagnosed with a mental illness.
- You have or are struggling with an addiction.
- When you get easily overwhelmed by life and its problems.
- When you have constant disruptive sleeping patterns that are negatively impacting your life.
- If you experience chronic pain and nothing seems to relieve it.
- You are experiencing intrusive thoughts that are impacting your daily functioning (this can range from anything like obsessively wondering how many staples are in a staple gun to internal dialogues continuously insulting yourself).
Why People Don’t Reach Out
There are many reasons why people don’t want to reach out to a CBT professional. Some of these include:
- They are feeling ashamed that they need help in the first place. It plays into the false narrative that only the weak need help.
- A lack of funds since professional help can be expensive, especially if you don’t have any health insurance.
- They can’t reach a therapist. Some may find themselves in areas where there are no therapists nearby or they may live in such remote areas that it’s a mission just to get groceries, never mind a therapist.
- A lack of time or availability. Many simply don’t have the time to drive all the way to a practice that’s only open within office hours.
- They don’t understand CBT and the name alone sounds so foreign that it sounds like something a total quack made-up.
- Sometimes, quite counterintuitively, we actually don’t want to change a behaviour even though we might say that we do. This is usually when there’s a certain pay-off attached to a certain thought or behaviour. An example could be someone who is aware that they drink too much and are always hungover at work, but being at the bar is the only time they feel like they have any friends.
The Benefits of Online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
This is where online CBT therapy can be incredibly helpful. Except for having all the benefits of any other psychology practice, it has added benefits that address many of the reasons why people don’t want to reach out in the first place. These include:
- A Cognitive Behavioural therapist is an objective professional and your session is a safe and judgement-free space.
- Since online therapy avoids a lot of in-office overheads and there’s no travel involved it’s much more affordable.
- It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, a professional therapist is just one click away.
- Online sessions are much more convenient. You can now squeeze these into your everyday life as and when it suits you, wherever you are.
- Many online therapists allow you to book a free introduction call. During this call you can ask questions and they can educate you on exactly what CBT is.
- Ironically, the time when we don’t want to address certain things in therapy is the time we need it the most. As with our example in regards to the individual who drinks too much, but doesn’t want to give up the social experience, there are multiple layers of problematic beliefs and behaviours that CBT can help with. A quick intro call should also bring this to light.
- In many instances, CBT is a good alternative to medical intervention.
- CBT is not your usual, traditional talk therapy where individuals felt like they’ve been talking for years, but nothing changes. CBT can actually be completed in a short period of time.
- Because of the way CBT is structured it helps when giving sessions and providing resources and tools. That’s why it’s possible to offer CBT online in the first place, give it in an individual or group setting or provide it in a workbook format.
- The skills you learn and the changes you make during your CBT aren’t just relevant to the reason why you sought help in the first place and also don’t stop being helpful the moment you solved that specific issue/problem. These skills and changes will forever remain relevant to a myriad of things in your life.
Finding the Right Fit
It is extremely important that you find the professional that’s the right fit for you based on your personality and situation, and we are more than happy to assist wherever we can. So, if you are currently wanting to reach out or have come to the realisation that you probably should, please don’t hesitate to contact us via our website or at email@example.com or simply complete the contact form below and we’ll get in touch shortly.