Cognitive behavioral therapy (often referred to be the acronym CBT) is a form of traditional talk therapy that aims to achieve desired behavioral changes by setting goals and keeping the patient’s focus primarily in the present. As its name indicates, cognitive behavioral therapy is a therapeutic approach that involves both thoughts (cognitive) and actions (behavioral).
Many individuals have a tendency to place blame for their inappropriate or unacceptable behaviors on others. For example, students who misbehave may claim that another student was truly to blame, or attempt to justify their actions by stating that a particular teacher or other authority figure goaded them into acting the way they did. Defiant teens may claim that their refusal to follow their parent’s directions is a necessary reaction to an unacceptable set of rules, or the inevitable result of prior actions on the part of the parents.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is an attempt to take patients out of this “blame others or blame the past” mindset. In fact, the National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists describes cognitive-behavioral therapy as being “based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations, and events. The benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we think to feel / act better even if the situation does not change.”
Cognitive behavioral therapy has the potential to producerapid results, in part because of the strong, trusting relationship established between the therapist and patient, and the way cognitive behavioral therapy helps the patient learn how to think and act differently.
By providing education and encouragement, the cognitive behavioral therapist helps the patient to set goals and learn new ways of interpreting things that will help them get what they want in life.
According to the website of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy helps patients develop the ability to accomplish the following:
* Distinguish between thoughts and feelings
* Become aware of the ways in which thoughts can influence feelings in ways that sometimes are not helpful
* Learn about thoughts that seem to occur automatically, without even realizing how they may affect emotions
* Evaluate critically whether these “automatic” thoughts and assumptions are accurate, or perhaps biased
* Develop the skills to notice, interrupt and correct these biased thoughts independently
Cognitive behavioral therapy has proved effective in the treatment of a range of disorders among male and female patients from adolescence through older adulthood.
For example, a report that was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine documented the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy for depressed adolescents and teenagers. In addition to relieving current symptoms, cognitive behavioral therapy also appears to be an effective means of reducing the likelihood that a struggling young person will engage in additional dangerous behaviors later in life.
The professionals who participated in the study alluded to in the previous paragraph determined that cognitive behavioral therapy can reduce symptoms that are related to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among teenagers and adolescents who have experienced some type of trauma. These findings are consistent with previous efforts to study the impact of cognitive behavioral therapy with depressed teens.
Cognitive behavioral therapy arose out of the blending of two separate therapeutic philosophies, cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy.
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