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How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works: Types and Processes Involved

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of treatment where therapists encourage their clients to identify and address the feelings and thoughts that influence their decisions to engage in certain types of maladaptive behavior. Ideally, this allows individuals to move away from destructive thought patterns that have a negative influence on their health, behavior, and emotions.

Therapists work with those suffering from all types of disorders. This includes anxiety, depression, specific phobias, and addictions. The treatment strategy is highly focused on an individual person and can be modified to fit with particular goals.

Additionally, this type of therapy involves the therapist taking on an instructional role. Their client is meant to listen to suggested strategies and use those to look into their own thoughts and feelings. They need to be able to discover how their internal states may be impacting their behavior.

What are some types of CBT?

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is focused on changing the irrational beliefs that an individual may hold. It involves making specific identifications of the underlying beliefs and challenging them constantly. In time, therapy allows the individual to recognize and alter these thought patterns on their own.

Cognitive therapy focuses on altering inaccurate and distorted patterns of thinking, emotional responses, and behaviors. There’s also multimodal therapy. This addresses seven modalities: imagery, affect, sensation, behavior, interpersonal factors, cognition, and biological considerations. This type of therapy argues that psychological concerns can be addressed by looking into these interconnected factors.

Dialectical behavioral therapy centers on the use of strategies like emotional regulation and mindfulness to confront various thought patterns and behaviors.

What are the stages of CBT?

early stages of cognitive behavioral therapy

Stage 1

The initial stage of CBT involves a therapist working with their client to identify problematic beliefs they may have. The therapist determines specific destructive patterns of thought and why they are destructive to the client.

This is a form of functional analysis. Clients are to understand how their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in certain situations can then contribute to the emergence and persistence of maladaptive forms of behavior.

Clinicians work to help clients through this often-difficult process. Clients begin on the path to self-discovery. Ideally, they are then able to move on to the succeeding stages of the treatment process.

Stage 2

CBT therapists are determined to equip their client with the necessary skills to face real-world situations that may have triggered maladaptive behaviors in the past. This can involve teaching new and healthier ways to cope with these situations. When these mechanisms are used, they should be able to reduce the likelihood of a relapse.

Later Stages

Recovery and the success of CBT is gradual. The client needs to be able to practice and exercise their new skills in real-world applications. They can start slow and attain reachable goals by setting small milestones on the way to full recovery.

Try CBT with clinicians from the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy in Westport, CT. We are a private group practice that provides comprehensive and individualized mental health services for children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. Our therapy programs provide you with support and resources to help you navigate and recover from emotional and behavioral challenges.

Contact us at 1-888-745-3372 or fill out our form today.