Even if you’ve never heard of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you’ve probably witnessed it at work.
If you’ve ever been scared or anxious about something, only to find that it was not as bad as you feared once you let go of your assumptions and tried it, you’ve experienced one of the principles behind CBT. Similarly, if you’ve ever ended a bad habit by noticing the thoughts and feelings that triggered it, you’ve also used basic CBT strategies.
In its broadest sense, CBT is simply a method of correcting distorted thinking and self-defeating behavior. It has been proven to be an effective treatment for anxiety, depression, insomnia, phobias and addictions, as well as other conditions. It works by gently nudging sufferers away from the mistaken beliefs and destructive habits that perpetuate their problems.
For example, someone with an eating disorder might learn to keep track of the events that trigger problematic eating or someone experiencing anxiety might practice looking at frightening situations in new, less threatening ways.
CBT can produce positive results in a short amount of time, usually anywhere from six to 20 weeks. It can also be used along with other treatments.
With CBT you can learn to:
- Recognize how thoughts affect feelings
- Notice and evaluate automatic thoughts
- Understand how behaviors are shaped by unrecognized patterns of reward and punishment
Although CBT is usually conducted with the help of a mental health professional, it can also be an effective self-help strategy.
When you use A Plan for Living, either by itself or with the help of a CBT professional, you’re using some common CBT strategies. For example, when you log into APFL each day to jot down what they’re thinking and feeling, you’re learning to see the connection between the two. And when you practice setting realistic goals using APFL, you’re providing yourself with a path for lasting change.
CBT is a powerful tool. Practicing on your own, or with the help of an online tool, such as APFL may be enough to achieve your goals, but if you want more guidance, seeking the help of a CBT professional might be the right path for you.