What is CBT?

Time for some education!

In today’s post I’m going to explain what Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is . . . fun, right?!

CBT is a combination of cognitive therapies and behavior therapies that were developed by Aaron T. Beck and Albert Ellis. CBT aims to change the way in which someone thinks, which will in turn affect the way the person behaves and experiences emotion. The website psychology.tools puts the basis of CBT very succinctly, stating “what you THINK and DO affects the way you FEEL." Wikipedia shares "Mainstream CBT helps individuals replace 'maladaptive... coping skills, cognitions, emotions and behaviors with more adaptive ones',[15] by challenging an individual's way of thinking and the way that they react to certain habits or behaviors'[16].”

What you think and do affects the way you feel.

One way that CBT does this is through identification of these maladaptive cognitions which are usually called Cognitive Distortions. I’ve also heard them referred to as “thinking traps” and “unhealthy thought patterns.” No matter what you refer to them as, they include concepts such as Negative Filtering (focusing heavily upon the negative and disregarding the positive); Should Statements (“I should have…); Denial or Blaming; Catastrophizing; and Jumping to Conclusions, to name a few. By identifying these traps you can begin to change the thought to be more helpful and keep you moving forward rather than keeping you stuck.

For those of us that do better with visual forms of information, I’ve included a video below that explains CBT in a manner that is a little more engaging.

CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is one of the most common treatments for a range of mental health problems, from anxiety, depression, bipolar, OCD or schizophrenia. This animation explains the basics and how you can decide whether it's best for you or not.