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What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

man on couch talking with therapist about What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

What is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)? It’s a form of psychotherapy, or talk therapy, that helps individuals redirect thinking patterns that negatively impact their lives. While we all suffer from negative thoughts from time to time, some struggle with more severe forms, called cognitive distortions, that cause them to view life in terms that aren’t realistic.

Cognitive Distortions Defined

For instance, many people might experience a moment of guilt over being late to work, while someone who suffers from cognitive distortions may worry that being late makes them a bad employee, that everyone will hate them for being late, and that they deserve to be fired. Viewing life in this all-or-nothing way is stress-inducing. It can cause panic attacks and contribute to depression. But through cognitive-behavioral therapy, clients learn to think more in shades of gray than in strict black-and-white. This is helpful to anyone who suffers from mental health issues, including:

If you struggle with negative thinking and all-or-nothing scenarios, you may benefit from receiving cognitive-behavioral therapy at a treatment facility such as the Integrative Life Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and What to Expect

When you take part in your first session of cognitive-behavioral therapy, you’ll work one-on-one with a licensed professional who’s trained in the technique. During your session, your therapist will listen to evidence of negative thought patterns. Together, you’ll identify the cognitive distortions that are holding you back. Your therapist will then help you redirect those thoughts in more positive ways.

Though it’s not easy to change the way you’ve thought about and experienced life for years, it can be done. Techniques that CBT embrace include learning how to embrace happy thoughts and feelings in several ways, including:

  • Identifying a problem and listing solutions
  • Setting the alarm on your phone several times a day to remind you to reframe your mindset
  • Brainstorming solutions to situations you deem hopeless
  • Practicing finding five positive thoughts about every situation
  • Writing down rebuttals when you find yourself dampening a positive thought or happy emotion

It’s difficult to envision how impactful negative thoughts are unless you’re affected by them yourself, but many people who suffer from severe distortions are unable to leave their homes for fear that they’ll embarrass themselves beyond what they can bear. They may be unable to cross bridges because they’re certain the bridge will collapse while they’re on it. They may not be able to pass a doorknob without touching it three times for fear something terrible will happen the one time they ignore the urge.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy as a Way Out

People who live with cognitive distortions spend much of their time feeling hopeless and unworthy. These two feelings can become petrifying if left untreated. Eventually, someone who regularly entertains thoughts such as these may become housebound from their crippling fears. What is cognitive-behavioral therapy? CBT is a way out. For many, it’s the only light source available in a world that has gradually gone dark.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy at Integrative Life Center

What is cognitive-behavioral therapy? If you or a loved one struggles daily with negative thoughts that are holding you back from job promotions, self-care, socialization, or more, CBT could help. At Integrative Life Center in Nashville, TN, CBT is an important part of treatment for conditions such as depression and substance use disorder. By identifying and challenging the thoughts that are hurting you, you can completely alter the direction of your life. It’s the path to tomorrow. The future is filled with good things for those who seek recovery. So reach out today to Integrative Life Center at 615.455.3903 and claim every good thing that life intended you to have.

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