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What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-oriented type of treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving.

cbtthinkingprocess-dreamstime_xs_36181364CBT is different than traditional ‘talk therapy’ because it is a more educational approach. The CBT process teaches you new tools and techniques, and helps you learn how to apply them to difficult situations in your life.

You will learn to understand and manage your thinking (cognitive), feelings (emotions), and actions (behavior).

Because of its high success rate, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has become a first choice treatment for anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, depression, chronic pain and much more. [See more on scientific research results below, including effectiveness of CBT compared to medication.]


Thoughts –> Feelings –> Behaviors

CBT diagram2According to CBT, it is largely your thinking about (and interpretation and processing of) events that leads to your emotional and behavioral upsets.

Think about it…10 different people can find themselves faced with exactly the same situation, but all 10 will think and feel and behave differently about it. We human beings cause our own “upsettness,” therefore we can uncause it! You just need to learn how.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is based on a scientific understanding of how the brain works. Thoughts and neural pathways in your brain are connected to how you feel. CBT gets to the root cause of problems by identifying problematic thought patterns and teaching you how to change them.

Change your thought patterns and you change how you feel!

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Anxiety

CBT is highly effective for all types of anxiety disorders including: generalized anxiety disorder and worry, insomnia, panic attacks and panic disorder, social anxiety, specific fears and phobias, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Stock Photo by Sean Locke

For example, a person having panic attacks may have the belief, “I’m going to die or lose control.” The person really believes this to be true because panic attacks include very scary physical sensations.

A client having panic attacks is encouraged by a CBT therapist to question beliefs they have related to panic attacks, and to see if those catastrophic beliefs are really accurate, and then develop more accurate thoughts/beliefs. The result is a decrease in both frequency and intensity of panic attacks.

CBT therapists help you search for conscious and sub-conscious patterns in your thinking which cause negative thoughts and lead to anxiety feelings. The CBT process can also help you discover behaviors which are actually making the anxiety worse rather than reducing anxiety. With CBT, you learn new tools and techniques for more constructive thoughts and behaviors.

Scientific Research Proves CBT Effectiveness

powerfulmindStudies have shown that CBT actually changes brain activity. Your brain literally has the ability to change the way it thinks, and therefore change the way you respond to situations. CBT teaches you how.

Research shows that 60–80% of people with an anxiety problem who complete CBT with a CBT therapist will experience a significant reduction in anxiety. This is very often better than the effectiveness of medication. Why?

Medication is designed to address the resulting SYMPTOMS of anxiety (such as tension, nervous stomach, palpitations, sweating, dizziness, etc) so it is generally a reactive approach. On the other hand, CBT is proactive because it addresses the root cause of the problem to prevent anxiety.

Skills Not Pills

CBT teaches concrete skills and tools you can use to:
• Prevent anxiety in the first place; and
• Stop anxiety symptoms quickly if they do start to creep in

If you rely on medication for anxiety and you stop taking the medication, it is quite likely the anxiety will come right back.

On the other hand… studies show that CBT provides longer-lasting results than medication because once people complete CBT, their brain and neural pathways are actually functioning differently AND they have learned effective tools and coping skills that last a lifetime.

To find out of CBT can help you, I would be happy to offer you a FREE consultation to discuss it. Just give me a call and tell me you read about CBT in this article. I help people every day to get control of their thoughts and get rid of anxiety!

Click here to learn WHY CBT works


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