If you’re considering using therapy to help you overcome personal issues, you might have heard the term cognitive behavioural therapy — CBT. This successful form of psychotherapy, also sometimes called talking therapy, can help give you the right strategies to improve your own behavioural patterns and the way that you look at things.
We know that it can be daunting to head to any new therapy session without fully understanding what will happen or what to expect. Having an idea about what cognitive behavioural therapy is before heading to your first session can not only help you identify if it’s a good choice for you to try but ensure you get the most out of the therapy too.
When you’re faced with a problem, it can often seem overwhelming. This is where cognitive behavioural therapy can help. Your therapist can help you break your concerns down into small, manageable chunks. Through talking through your thoughts, feelings, and how you respond to situations that you find yourself in, cognitive behavioural therapy can give you the tools to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours.
Cognitive behavioural therapy can help with:
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Eating disorders
- Substance abuse
People suffering with some chronic health conditions that are affected by stress and anxiety can also be relieved through cognitive behavioural therapy by identifying triggers.
How to get the most out of cognitive behavioural therapy
While effective, cognitive behavioural therapy isn’t a magic solution. It relies on you committing yourself to the process and acting on the advice that your therapist has given you. There are steps you can take to get the most out of your therapy sessions though, including:
- Be honest – Key to effective therapy is being open and honest from the beginning. Cognitive behavioural therapy is adapted to you and if you’re glossing over issues, concerns, or thoughts it can mean the tailored suggestions offered aren’t the best solution.
- Stick to your treatment plan – At times lack of motivation or even feeling down can mean you want to give up. But failing to stick to your treatment plan can take you back to square one. If there are certain areas you’re struggling with be sure to bring these up in your next session so they can be addressed or adapted.
- Don’t expect instant results – Therapy should be viewed as a long process that’s evolving to suit your needs. If you go in expecting instant results it can leave you feeling disappointed. As you’re going over your emotions, it’s not uncommon to feel worse initially but the hard work will pay off and you should celebrate each positive step you’re taking.
Who can I speak to further about the issues in this article?
Beck, J. S., & Beck, A. T. (1995). Cognitive therapy: Basics and beyond.
Beck, A. T., Rush, J., Shaw, B., Emery, G. (1979) Cognitive Therapy of Depression, New York: Guildford Press.
Wright, J. (2006). Cognitive behavior therapy: basic principles and recent advances. Focus 4, 173–178.