Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the leading methods for treating mental health issues like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, family problems, substance use disorder (SUD), and more. A form of talk therapy, it is an evidence-based treatment based on scientific results. However, it turns out to be more than just a therapy modality. It reveals an essential truth about your life.
A Day in The Life
Assume you’ve been working in an office for a few years. You’re good at your current job, but you don’t believe it matters. You have an idea that will help your company and would also have you shifting to a position you would really like to be in. Pitching it to the boss is the only way forward, though. The boss has always been hard to read, and you never know quite where you stand with her. Putting the finishing touches on your pitch, you talk to her assistant, asking her to put in a request for a meeting.
You are anxious. Pitches to bosses at other jobs did not go the way you wanted. The assistant says she will see what the boss says and let you know, and the next day, you pass your boss in the hallway. Your smile and wave are not acknowledged by your boss, who seems to be reading the files in her hand. Memories of “failures” in the past come to mind. Did she seem annoyed? I think she was. It was probably your request. You have an awful feeling in your stomach and want to tell her assistant to call it off, but you are afraid that will look even worse. Ultimately, you feel trapped.
Escaping The Trap Using CBT
Experiences like this are common in the human experience. The uncertainty of life makes us want to guess what will happen. Often, we wind up catastrophizing. For many people, these thought patterns have become hardwired. When we are done running circles in our heads, all we are left with are bad feelings. CBT is a way to rewire these negative thoughts. Those who practice don’t just find relief. They learn something critical about themselves and the world.
What Is CBT and How Does It Work?
CBT is a treatment for mental health issues that changes how we process information. It operates on the concept that our unhappiness, anxieties, and mental dysfunctions are rarely directly caused by negative events that happen to us. Rather, it is our negative reactions that lead to suffering. CBT aims to disrupt a very common unhealthy cycle:
First, we have wrong or misguided ideas about ourselves and the world. These ideas cause us to see things in a bad light, which makes us angry, sad, and worried. Then, our bad feelings make us react in ways that make the problem even worse. Finally, our unhealthy behaviors result in more negative outcomes, continuing the cycle.
Breaking the Cycle of Negative Thoughts with CBT
Seeing this cycle play out in oneself for the first time can be life-altering in and of itself. The next step, then, is to change the way we see things. Laguna Shores Recovery Center supports the idea that understanding one’s own beliefs, values, and goals is essential to cognitive therapy. It’s not always the things or events themselves that cause problems but the meaning we give them. It is important to find and change any upsetting ideas that may be holding you back.
CBT Methods That Unlock The Truth About Your Life
Therapists certified in CBT work with their clients to change negative thoughts and emotions at the source. Treatment is simple and proven to be effective. It can be approached using several methods, including:
- Guided discovery and questioning: By challenging your assumptions about yourself or your present circumstances, your therapist may help you learn to examine these views and seek alternative perspectives.
- Self-talk: Your therapist may ask what you tell yourself about a particular event or experience and urge you to replace negative or critical self-talk with loving, constructive self-talk.
- Cognitive restructuring: This entails identifying and unraveling any cognitive distortions impacting your ideas, such as black-and-white thinking, leaping to conclusions, or catastrophizing.
- Journaling: Using this method, you’ll journal your reactions to a certain event and then come up with reasons for and against your negative belief. You will use these to build a better understanding.
- Situation exposure: This strategy asks you to list the things or circumstances that make you feel bad, in order of how bad they are, and then gradually expose yourself to them until you feel less bad about them.
CBT Can Change The Truth About Your Life
CBT puts you face-to-face with the truth about your life: the way you choose to see it really does make a difference. At first, it can seem too simple; there is no way perspective can be that powerful. When CBT is practiced and someone uses the tools, the result can be dramatic. It has been described as turning the color up on your screen for the first time in your life. When you realize you can stop your thinking and change the path a negative thought is on, it is a new and powerful feeling.
CBT Takes Practice to Reveal the Truth About Your Life
Once you recognize that thoughts are not just ephemeral – that they have this hidden power – you may want to alter all your negative patterns. For many everyday thought processes, making an effort to reframe your thoughts as they come up can make a big difference. However, for some of the core negative beliefs, it can take time and practice to turn them around. It is critical to have a good provider, such as Laguna Shores Recovery Center, who tailors the therapy to your life and needs.
Are you dealing with negative thoughts and emotions regularly? Have you been struggling with depression, anxiety, OCD, or an eating disorder? If so, there is a way forward. A happier and more peaceful life is within reach. Break free from negative thought patterns and experience the power of a new perspective. This requires a specialized treatment plan like those provided at Laguna Shores Recovery Center. It is critical to have a compassionate provider who tailors the therapy to your life and needs. At Laguna Shores, we offer the highest quality care. Our staff is dedicated to you and your recovery. You can reach out for more information on our programs by calling (866) 774-1532.