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Panic Community› Panic Articles› What is cognitive behavioral therapy
|What is cognitive behavioral therapy|
|Written by PanicJoe|
|25 July 2007|
Our attitude toward a situation will affect the way we feel about it and react to it. What we think can affect our moods, action sand behavior. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CTB) is a from of therapy in which the patient is taught to change the way they think about situations in which undesired behavior develops, in order to change this behavior.
There are many approaches to CTB, but all of them have the same principles underlining them and some common characteristics.
The cognitive model of emotional response is the basis of CTB. Therapists conclude that it is our thoughts that cause feelings and behaviors and not external things. So, even though a situation may not change, our attitude toward it may be controlled through our thoughts. This a negative situation can become at least of neutral value of not positive, and in any case we have positive tools to cope with it.
CTB is one of the fastest therapy methods. The average of sessions (for a whole range of problems) is 16! In this short time, the patient learns tools to influence their thoughts that will help him cope with difficulties for an entire lifetime. The instructional characteristic of the method and the fact that the patient gets homework assignments serve to speed the process.
CTB is a collaborating effort between therapist and client. If patients do not invest in the process and do their homework, they will not be able to implement the self-counseling techniques taught. The therapist should target the teaching to help the patient achieve certain roles. It is therefore imperative that there be good communication between therapist and patient.
CTB is based on a stoic approach that undesirable situations will always be there, whether we get upset about them or not. By learning to feel at least calm instead of stress in an upsetting situation, we reduce two problems (the situation and our feelings) into one only. Most people would like to be able to have as little problems as possible. CTB does not tell us how we should feel, but it does teach us the benefit of certain feelings towards undesirable situations.
CTB therapy encourages the therapist and client to ask questions. Questions are important for understanding the concerns and thoughts that need to be treated. One may ask, “Are they really laughing at me?” “Do I really eat in a funny way?” Through such questions we explore our own thoughts, their distortion and also face our fears.
CTB is based on the educational approach that all behaviors are learned, Therefore in therapy the patient unlearns undesirable behaviors and learns new ones to replace them. The system is structures and instructional. There is an agenda for each session.
The therapist is not a “know all” magician and does not tell the patient what to do. The therapist teaches the patient how to do/think about certain things. The assumption is that if the patients knew what the therapist has to teach them, they would not be experiencing the unwanted behaviors or symptoms that they have.
The goal is that the patient also understands how and why they are doing well, and hence they will continue to do so for a long time.
The CTB is based on the inductive approach that looks at thought as hypotheses that can be questioned and tested. We must try and learn the facts about a situation and not make assumptions. When we find that our initial information was incorrect, we can change our thinking and cope with the true situation accordingly.
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Important: Articles published in MDJunction are written by MDJunction's community members and not by medical professionals (unless stated directly). They are not medical articles/content and are not a replacement for medical diagnosis. If the article does not contain direct reference to the source of the data, please treat it as personal opinion of the writer.