What is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)? CBT works by changing people’s attitudes and their behavior. It focuses on the thoughts, images, beliefs and attitudes that we hold (our cognitive processes) and how this relates to the way we behave and deal with our emotional problems.
Research has shown that cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in treating anxiety disorders as well as panic disorders and social phobias. The cognitive component helps change the thinking patterns that keep one from overcoming their fears. For example, a person with a panic disorder might be helped in seeing that his or her attacks are not really heart attacks as believed. The tendency to interpret physical symptoms as the worst case scenario can be overcome. Also, someone exhibiting symptoms of a social phobia could be taught how to overcome the belief that others are continually judging him or her.
The behavioral therapy component pays close attention to the relationship between our problem, our behavior and our thoughts. CBT can be effective therapy for the following problems: anger management, anxiety and panic attacks, depression, drug and alcohol problems, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These are just a few of the many problems that can be successfully treated with CBT.
Studies have shown that having just twelve sessions of CBT can be as helpful in treating depression as taking medication throughout a two year follow-up period. Of course, CBT is quite complex and is not a miracle cure. Being treated by a counselor with specific CBT expertise is recommended. The client must also be persistent and open-minded. The CBT approach has recently been used in many pre-packaged, brand name programs such as, “Reasoning and Rehabilitation,” “Aggression Replacement Therapy,” “Thinking for Change,” and others (“Preventing Future Crime with CBT”).
In some instances, medication can be accompanied with psychotherapy for best results in treatment. This...