Cognitive behavioural therapy helps you better understand negative thoughts and develop strategies to overcome them.
Overcome negative thoughts
Everyone has bad thoughts at times. Often they are not a problem, but if negative thinking becomes more regular, making you constantly feel stressed or angry, you may need to alter your thought patterns. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help. The goal of CBT is to help you increase awareness of your thought and behaviour and learn how to change your reactions to stressful situations.
How CBT Works
CBT can help people deal with negative thinking that arises from many common psychological issues, such as anxiety, depression, fear, compulsive disorders, and phobias. People face many crises as they age that can trigger these problems and thus stir up negative thoughts – from the death of a
The goal of CBT is to help you increase awareness of your thought and behaviour and learn how to change your reactions to stressful situations.
friend or spouse to drastic changes in health, like being diagnosed with an ailment. Left alone, constant negative thinking can undercut many healthy behaviours and lead to social isolation and poor self-care. During CBT sessions, you work with a therapist to explore your negative thinking patterns – when they happen, how you react, and the result. For example, say a friend does not return your call. Your mind begins to play out catastrophic scenarios, like the friend is purposely snubbing you or hates you, which can trigger anxiety. Then you might parlay that negative thinking into unhealthy behaviour like returning the snub or avoiding social events that the person might attend. In addition to one-onone time in therapy, you often are given homework between sessions to help the process. For instance, you may be asked to record your negative thoughts when they arise – the situation, what may have triggered your negative thinking, the kind of thoughts you had, and how you felt afterward.
Taking all this information into account, the therapist then works with you to develop strategies to create a more positive reaction when negative thoughts arise. In the scenario described above, the therapist might encourage you to explore what evidence you have to support your thoughts about your friend. Could there be another explanation? What advice would you give to someone else having that reaction? This, in turn, might lead you to consider that you don’t know that your friend hates you and, in fact, he or she may just be busy. With the therapist’s help, you can come up with a rational response that won’t derail a positive and healthy relationship.
A More Appealing Therapy
Unlike other therapy that may last months or even indefinitely, CBT is usually shortterm. Weekly sessions continue for about 12 to 20 visits, depending on the issue. For men who feel uncomfortable with more traditional psychotherapy, CBT may be a better option. CBT puts patients more in control. It is a two-way conversation, and patients are encouraged to be more active in developing strategies since they have to implement them. Ultimately, CBT is about creating the tools you need to be your own therapist. Keep in mind that CBT is like any other patientdoctor relationship, and you may not connect with your therapist at first. Therapists have different styles and approaches that may not work for everyone. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t get discouraged and give up. Express your concerns to your therapist first, but if he or she doesn’t address them in a satisfactory way, try someone else.
CBT puts patients more in control. It is a two-way conversation, and patients are encouraged to be more active in developing strategies since they have to implement them.