What is CBT and what is cognitive behavioral therapy used for? In the US, as of 2019, over 50 million people suffer from anxiety and related disorders. Research is underway to address how to counter these conditions through medication and therapy. Although the severity of any psychological disorder ranges from low to mild to chronic, there are two common categorizations.
1. Serious Mental Illness
An emotional, behavioral, or mental disorder that leads to disruption in the daily lives of the affected is commonly termed a mental illness. The symptoms are visible in the form of chronic functional impairment or major modification of the life activities of the affected.
2. Any Mental Illness
Any mental illness also entails mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders that can vary in severity. However, they range from mild to no impairment in functionality. Nonetheless, there are chances of the condition’s severity progressing.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?
CBT is a form of psychotherapy used to treat people with anxiety disorders. Do you or someone in your family have an anxiety disorder? CBT helps change the way you might think, behave, and finally, react in a fearful or anxiety-causing situation (or an object). CBT employs social skill practices that assist in treating disorders similar to social anxiety.
If you want to benefit from a collective experience, you can opt for group CBT sessions, which regularly involve “homework” for participants. Psychotherapists can choose between two CBT methods. They can employ these individually or in co-relation.
By employing cognitive assessment, cognitive therapy focuses on how an affected person thinks, behaves, and reacts in an anxiety-producing condition. Accordingly, the therapist aims to identify the biases and distortions to guide the change in the patient’s thinking.
Often, in co-relation with cognitive therapy, exposure therapy aims to create systematic confrontation of the stimuli that creates fear and anxiety. Exposure therapy encourages the confrontation of internal fears (thoughts, sensations, etc.). Or, it might be external fears in the form of feared situations, objects, and activities. Altogether, its aim is to recreate a calmer and appropriate response in the face of a fearful situation. That is why it works via accompanying calming imagery in CBT sessions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): History and Background
CBT’s origin dates back to the 1960s. Psychiatrist Aaron Beck pointed out several causes for emotional problems. He described them as automatic negative thoughts, and so developed cognitive therapy.
In the past, punishment and reinforcement were the norms regarding behavioral therapy. However, currently, CBT stresses the process of feeling and thinking. In fact, CBT pertains to their effect on our behaviors. Subsequently, CBT treats a broad spectrum of psychological disorders and conditions.
Medication is one element in the arsenal of treatment options for psychological disorders. Although there are some, it is highly inappropriate to assume that they entirely or partially treat social anxiety disorders. Bear in mind that a psychiatrist needs a government permit to prescribe such special medications.
The chief purpose of medication is to alleviate symptoms of anxiety disorder, such as trembling, sweating, nervousness, heart rate fluctuations, tiredness, hyperventilation, and fainting. Medications prominently include antidepressants, anti-anxiety, or beta-blockers.
Primary Goals and Impacts
CBT aims to guide people that while certain situations always lie outside of human intervention, they can control certain aspects. For example, thinking, behavior, reaction, and interpretation are susceptible to change.
Do you get the concept that lies behind CBT? It is that the process of thoughts and feelings affects the behavior of a person. If you excessively imagine or think about crashes and accidents, then wouldn’t you adjust your daily life and activities in accordance to avoid such situations? So, what are the impacts and goals of CBT?
First and foremost, it is an effective treatment option for social anxiety disorders since it learns and implements techniques to understand the process of thoughts and behaviors. This leads to healthier reactions and less-tense situations for people with anxiety disorders. Moreover, it is appropriate for you if you do not require psychiatric prescriptions.
As mentioned earlier, CBT treats a variety of mental and psychological disorders or conditions. Thus, it might target specific or multiple disorders at once to produce short-term positive effects. Some of the disorders and conditions that CBT treats include:
- Sound Disorders such as tinnitus
- Bipolar Disorder
- Eating disorder
- Anger issues
- Personality disorders
- Panic attacks
A Key Consideration for Improvement: Self-Monitoring
Your psychotherapist might lay down homework for you to complete in between CBT sessions. But, are you aware of the “diary work”? Don’t worry if you’re not. It’s purely self-monitoring to restrict abnormal and distorting behaviors. For example, patients suffering from eating disorders keep a check of how much they eat. This self-monitoring leads to better treatment sessions and results.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Conclusion
Are you concerned for yourself or someone in your family? Contact the best clinical psychotherapist in NYC to start the diagnosis and treatment of your anxiety disorders today. Dr. Stephen Geller Katz, LCSW-R at the Tinnitus Cognitive Center™, possesses 30 years of clinical psychotherapy experience.
Give Dr. Katz a call at 646-213-2321 for consultation with one of the top worldwide specialists in the treatment of tinnitus.