Cognitive behavioural therapy is a form of therapy that has gained a fair bit of attention given its high success rates. Of course, like all forms of therapy and treatment plans in general, there are things it is better suited to work with and things it is not designed to handle. The following will explore several struggles that cognitive behaviour therapy can assist people with. If you don’t see your particular struggle on this list but feel like cognitive behavioural therapy might be right for you, reach out to a local practitioner. They’ll be able to tell you whether they’ve had positive experiences with your situation and cognitive behavioural therapy in the past and recommend other courses of treatment to look into if appropriate.
What Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
Cognitive behavioural therapy is often shortened to CBT and can be part of either an in-patient treatment plan or an out-patient treatment plan. Providers of mental health services in Orange County describe CBT as a psychotherapeutic treatment that aims to help people learn how to identify behaviours that are interfering with their wellbeing or quality of life and then alter thought patterns that are contributing to these behaviours. It is designed to help people understand and adjust automatic negative thinking, which can contribute to a myriad of discomforts.
The modern age is rife with severe anxiety. Typically, anxiety refers to feelings of intense worry or stress that people try to cope with by avoiding their triggers. Often the avoidance people begin to practise on their own ends up reinforcing fears and making daily life more difficult than it needs to be. Some common forms of anxiety include:
- Panic Disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Depression is another extremely common psychiatric condition in the world today. Given the role that negative self-talk and negative automatic thoughts can play in depression, it is often an excellent match for cognitive behavioural therapy. It is worth noting, however, that there are multiple kinds of depression, and not all kinds are suited to CBT. Sometimes grief is labelled depression when really, it is a completely appropriate response to loss and part of a natural recovery process. Speaking to a CBT provider can help you determine whether your depression is well-suited for cognitive behavioural therapy to make a positive impact.
Because panic attacks strike so quickly (and often without an easily recognizable trigger), CBT is particularly useful for helping people who suffer from them. Learning to recognize triggers and thought processes that contribute to the experience of a panic attack and then replacing those thoughts with helpful thinking can radically alter how often someone suffers a panic attack.
Addictions are highly complicated human coping mechanisms that can be particularly difficult to change without an understanding of how these mechanisms became embedded in a person’s life and are continually reinforced by their behaviour. In many instances, external triggers become internal negative or self-defeating thoughts which lead to substance abuse as a form of escape. CBT can assist you in recognizing this internal cycle and help you put practices in place that help you turn external triggers into positive or supportive internal thought patterns. In many cases, CBT works best in tandem with other addiction treatments.
Eating disorders are another series of struggles that are built upon heavily ingrained trigger responses that involve automatic thinking and negative thought patterns. Because of this, it is another ideal candidate for cognitive behavioural therapy. Depending on the severity of the situation in regards to your physical health, it might be recommended to use CBT in addition to other treatment plans that can help you improve your nutritional circumstances.
Living with anger struggles can be torture; it’s incredibly common but often not talked about enough like something that can be worked on and treated. Addressing anger and the thought patterns that contribute to it can be particularly tough, seeing as the leap from feeling fine to feeling enraged can be so quick that it’s hard to study and understand. It’s also a tricky thing to treat because some degree of anger is healthy and can be quite conducive to wellbeing; it is often anger, for instance, that spurs people to stand up for others. This being said, anger can cause serious damage to your relationships, health, and property if it has too much power in your life. CBT can help you identify your triggers and reframe your internal thought patterns in response to these triggers resulting in fewer experiences of anger but also healthier expressions of it.
The above list should give you an idea of the type of struggle that CBT can assist you with. Again, it’s always best to speak to a professional to figure out whether or not a particular therapy is well-suited to you and your situation.