Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is a widely supported treatment that focuses on identifying and modifying problematic thinking styles. Our automatic thoughts and thinking styles impact our behavior and our emotional state. By identifying our automatic, often unconscious ways of thinking, we learn to form a more realistic outlook of how things really are in our lives. This allows us to make behavioral choices that lead to improvement in our emotional outlook and in our life choices.
The role of the counselor is to be problem-focused on the client’s current state of mind and current events in his or her life. With the help of a CBT counselor an individual can learn to challenge his or her internal assumptions in a way to create positive life changes. For example, an individual struggling with depression may have thoughts such as “I will never be able to succeed” or “things will never change for the better." The CBT counselor works with the client to learn to identify these thoughts and to learn how they impact behavior and emotions.
By learning about our underlying automatic thoughts and beliefs that contribute to negative emotions or undesirable behavior we can learn to change these thoughts in a way that makes positive, active changes in our lives.
CBT techniques that focus on behavioral changes can also be of help for many medical conditions, such as chronic pain, fatigue, headache, and adjusting to disability.
CBT has been widely-studied and has been shown to be helpful in pain disorders, anxiety, depression, panic disorder, phobias, eating disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and in some cases, severe mental illness.