What are the benefits of cognitive behavioural therapy?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a type of talking therapy that can be used to treat a variety of mental health conditions. Cognitive psychology is a subtype of psychology that focuses on mental processes such as thinking, reasoning, attention, language use, perception, and memory. CBT uses principles of cognitive psychology to help patients understand how their thoughts, feelings and behaviours interact so that they can break out of negative cycles.
CBT can be a very effective treatment, particularly for those with anxiety disorders and mood disorders. If you’re wondering if CBT is the right treatment for you, check out these three benefits.
1. CBT can improve self-esteem
Self-esteem and mental health issues are strongly intertwined. A 2017 study into this phenomenon found that teenagers with a baseline of high self-esteem experienced fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety and attention problems over the following three years than those with low self-esteem.
Negative, irrational beliefs about ourselves can negatively impact our behaviour. This behaviour can further strengthen our negative beliefs and drive further unhelpful behaviour. CBT from experienced therapists providing services in San Francisco, and around the world, can disrupt this cycle by helping patients to recognise their negative, irrational thoughts and develop more positive, rational thought processes. Plus, once CBT patients develop a better understanding of how their thoughts and behaviours interplay, they often feel like they have more control over their mental health which is a boost to their confidence and self-esteem.
2. CBT can offer hope for a happier future
Mental health problems can make us feel pessimistic about the future. It can be difficult to imagine a life that isn’t impacted by our condition, particularly if we have dealt with the illness for many years. It can also leave us dwelling on the past as we think about how our life has been negatively impacted by mental illness and how it could have been different if we were well. Some of these thoughts in themselves are irrational and inaccurate, and CBT can help patients recognise this. When we challenge our thoughts and open ourselves up to alternative outlooks, we can begin to imagine a happier life in the future.
3. CBT can achieve results quickly
CBT is a highly structured type of therapy that targets specific challenges that patients face. It doesn’t dwell too long on the patient’s past or the reasons for their negative beliefs or behaviours. Instead, it focuses on recognising the unhelpful patterns and disrupting them. This means it can achieve results quickly and often in fewer sessions than other types of therapy.
A typical course of CBT usually involves a 60-minute session every week for 12 to 20 weeks. It’s also possible to compress treatment into longer sessions over a shorter period of time and achieve positive results in a matter of days. This is known as intensive CBT, and it appears to be particularly effective in treating OCD and panic disorders.
Discuss CBT with your healthcare provider
There are many benefits of CBT and some people find a course of this therapy truly transformative. If you’re struggling with your mental health and think that a course of CBT could help, be sure to reach out to your doctor or a qualified therapist for more information.
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