What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy| Correcting Thinking Errors


Here I will talk about What is cognitive behavioral therapy? What are the basis of this therapy? Is it really effective? Who will benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy? What is the duration of cognitive behavioral therapy?

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a short termed therapy in which the main focus is to address the thinking, behavior and the environment of the patient. It involves the principles of two other therapies, the cognitive therapy and the behavioral therapy.

The false thoughts which are being generated by the mind of the patient are responsible for the symptoms of the disease. The therapist and the patient work together to identify these thoughts and then the patient learn how to change these thoughts so that the symptoms of the disease are cured.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) works?

There is a relationship between the thinking and behavior of a person. Changes in one can influence the outcome in the other. If some changes are brought in the thinking of a person, it will influence the behavior of the person as an outcome. Similarly, if behavioral changes are brought about in the individual, it will in turn bring about changes in the thinking of the person.

What is cognitive triad?

In depression, the patients develop negative thoughts about themselves, the world around them and about their future. This combination of negative thoughts in patients of depression is called the cognitive triad and is the basis of the cognitive theory of depression.

What are cognitive distortions?

Before understanding what is cognitive behavioral therapy? you need to understand what are cognitive distortions?

Cognitive distortion means distorted thinking to put it simple. The way the patient thinks begins to change and this in turns changes the mood and the world around him. The thinking which the patient develops is not normal as the patient begins to focus on some aspects more than the others and his perception of things also changes. The following are the cognitive distortions which a patient of depression may have.

1.Over generalizing

The patient starts to think that if a certain thing is true in one condition then it is true in all the conditions even if they are slightly similar. So the patient develops false logic because of the negative changes in his thinking.

2.Selective abstraction

The patient starts thinking only on the negative aspects of the life. Patient thinks that the failures of the life are the only thing which is important and only they matter nothing else. The patient assesses himself by weak points and short comings. The patient does not pay attention to the good things which had happened to him and does not have a positive attitude towards life.

3.Increased responsibility

The patient develops a thinking that he is responsible for everything wrong which is happening around. All the losses and failures are due to him and he is the sole responsible for all the disaster happening around him.

4.False predictions

The patient begins to make predictions on the basis of the events of the past. The patient does not give importance to the evidence for a particular outcome. Thinks that if one thing happened to be true/right in the past , it will always be right regardless of the other circumstances and factors which can alter the outcome.

5.Focus of attention

The patent thinks that he is the center of focus for everyone and particularly his bad things are being noted by the people all the time. He blames himself for all the unfortunate things which have happened to and around him.

6.Thinking worst (catastrophizing)

The patient always thinks of the worst outcomes in a given situation and believes that the worst is going to happen to him. The patient does not think on the actual probability of the worst result happening and thus the thoughts of a pending catastrophe keep lurking in his mind.

7.Extreme thinking

It is also called dichotomous thinking in medical terms. The person starts to think on extreme ends only. He believes that everything is on the one extreme end of the spectrum or the other. He does not think that there may be a spectrum of conditions and all things cannot be categorized into black or white, good or bad for that matter.

Cognitive behavioral therapy aims at correcting these cognitive (thinking) errors in a person of depression. Each disease has cognitive errors specific to it and the therapist aims at correcting these thinking patterns so that the symptoms of the disease are overcome. Along with the changes in thinking, changes in behavior of an individual are also important and together they can beat the disease.

Behavioral Modifications In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The therapist and the patient try to achieve certain behavioral modifications which help in getting rid of low and depressed mode. These behavioral modifications include improving sleep hygiene ,involving the patient in healthy exercises and outdoor activities.

The patient is encouraged to do activities which provide him pleasure and sense of satisfaction. The patient is also encouraged to socialize and spend quality time with friends and family.

The patient can make a mood diary and mark the activities performed per week and the corresponding mood generated. This is discussed with the therapist at the following sessions.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy In Depression

Research literature and meta analysis has shown that for the treatment of depression, cognitive behavioral therapy provides beneficial outcomes . Studies have proved that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is equivalent to antidepressant therapy in the treatment of depression.

However cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT) should be combined with pharmacological therapy for best outcomes. Cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT) has also shown promising result in the treatment of long standing (chronic) and severe depression.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy In Anxiety

Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in the management and cure of anxiety as well. In anxiety the patient generally tries to avoid the anxiety provoking conditions and circumstances. Therefore exposure and response therapy is an integral component in the cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT) for anxiety.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy In Eating Disorders

Research has also shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is effective in the treatment of eating disorders including BED (binge eating disorder) and bulimia nervosa.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy In Schizophrenia

Patients of schizophrenia also benefit from CBT in combination with the pharmacotherapy.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy In Bipolar Disorder

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is efficacious in preventing relapse in patients of bipolar disorder. CBT reduces the relapse of depressive symptoms along with reduced hospitalization in patients of bipolar disorder.

What is the duration of cognitive behavioral therapy

CBT sessions are usually held once a week but in certain cases, they may be held twice a week as well. The treatment is usually between 8 to 18 weeks and 12 to 15 therapy sessions are provided during the course of the treatment. However depending on the condition and response of the patient, the number of sessions may be increased or decreased.


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