Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a recommended psychotherapeutic treatment for many mental health disorders. It is effective in treatment of Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Substance Use Disorder, Sleep Disorders, Sexual Disorders, Somatisation, Chronic Fatigue, Hypochondriasis, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Psychotic Disorders.
Originally used to treat depression, CBT’s use expanded over time, to treat other mental health disorders too. Evidence shows that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is highly effective in treatment of depression, anxiety, panic attacks etc.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Explained
CBT is an objective psychotherapy. In CBT we take a goal-oriented approach to address negative thinking patterns in our clients. These negative thinking patterns responsible for the psychological issues being experienced by our clients. By helping our client’s in changing their negative thought patterns, the severity of their symptoms is reduced. This helps us to treat depression, anxiety and other psychological disorders.
We use CBT to provide psychotherapeutic treatment for a range of mental illnesses such as sleeping disorders, relationship issues, substance abuse, anxiety and depression. CBT works because we can change the client’s attitudes and behaviours to different sensory stimuli. We work with our clients to make them mindful of the thoughts that arise when exposed to life’s stressors and situations. The therapist and the client analyse the thoughts that arise in client’s mind for correctness. The client is then encouraged to mindfully replace the negative thoughts with positive ones, by writing a journal. Once we feel that our client has learned this process well, we train them to write the thought journals independently on a regular basis and bring it to the sessions for review.
How CBT Benefits Clients
When our clients mindfully engage in this process regularly daily, it leads to a rewiring of the neurons in their brain. This helps them in developing a positive outlook. Research evidence, as well as our experience, shows that CBT is very effective in the treatment of a range of mental health disorders.
As our client’s CBT therapist, we assess the severity of our client’s symptoms of depression, stress, anxiety, OCD using Psychometric instruments such as DASS 21. This is done prior to starting the therapy and at various checkpoints in the therapy to measure their progress.
Advantage of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Over Other Forms of Psychotherapies
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy has a number of advantages. One of it is that it is of comparatively shorter duration than other forms of psychotherapy such as psychoanalysis. Typically, CBT takes four to seven months for most critical issues. We need our clients to come to psychotherapy session on a weekly/fortnightly basis. Each session is 50 – 60 minutes duration. Our psychologists and the client work together to analyse and address the thinking patterns and then deal with negative thoughts using CBT techniques.
CBT equips our clients with tools to think positively and be mindful of their thoughts. They can apply the learnings when dealing with stressors in their life, as well as, in improving their decision-making process. It also helps them in dealing with even future psychological issues face in their lives.
Applications of CBT
While CBT has proved itself to be beneficial in treating mental illness, it is also proving to be effective in dealing with physical ailments. Research has shown that individuals suffering from conditions that produce prolonged physical pain, such as cancer or fibromyalgia report improvements in health after going through CBT sessions with the therapist. Separate studies released in 2004 and 2008 showed that cognitive behavioural therapy was greatly effective in reducing stress related to both physical and psychosomatic illnesses.
Benefits for Physical Health
It is known for a long time that depression and stress affect both the mental and physical health. Depression and stress can be instrumental in raising blood pressure and reducing the immunity. It is no wonder then that CBT treatment can improve immunity and reduce pain, or at least lessen it.
Benefits for Eating Disorders
Cognitive behavioural therapy has also been known to be quite effective in the treatment of smoking and eating disorders. By helping clients in removing the negative thought patterns, we can help them change their negative behaviours as well. By learning to observe their own thoughts and stress triggers, client’s gain a better understanding of impulses and circumstances that make them reach out for a cigarette or a piece of cake. Once they have that knowledge, then make better choices and ensure that they are mindful of their actions and habits.
Clients looking for treating depression, anxiety, substance abuse, PTSD, and many other psychological problems can benefit from CBT. CBT is regularly used in our practice and we see firsthand the benefits to patients. Some recover completely and live a quality life. For a lot of patients, CBT proves effective as a drug-free treatment for depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental illnesses.