Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy actually refers to various therapies that are similar in a way that they all use similar principles in their approach. Here, we will talk about Cognitive-Behavioral (CBT) therapy in general.
Main principles of CBT
CBT’s main principle is that our way of thinking affects our emotions and our actions, which actually means that if we change our negative thoughts, we can change our emotions and actions in a positive manner, despite the situation we are in. Another characteristic of CBT is that the results are seen fast and therefore, the duration of therapy is short, unlike the duration of other therapies that can last for years, such as psychoanalysis. Cognitive-Behavioral therapy gives positive results in averagely 16 sessions. This is because the therapy consists not only of sessions, but also of homework for the client. The client has assignments and needs to follow given instructions. Also, CBT is not that much focused on a therapist-client relationship like other therapies are. Of course, the relationships need to be good and trusting, but the main assignment is to teach clients how to change their thoughts. This kind of therapy engages both therapist and client. Client has to articulate emotions and worries, but also to learn and practice those things that he or she has learned. Therapist’s responsibilities are to pay attention to what the client is saying, to recognize client’s needs, to teach and help the client to maintain the motivation.
CBT teaches clients how to deal with disturbing situations and how to calm themselves. That way, when we have a problem, we will not be upset but we will solve it more rationally, because we will be able to use our full intellectual capacity in solving the problem. CBT is directive, which means that the therapist teaches the client how to achieve his or her goals. Therapist’s role is not to simply tell clients what are their goals, but to teach them how to get to them. Cognitive-Behavioral therapy strongly believes that we all learn how to behave and how to feel and this belief is confirmed by many scientists. The main thing is to help clients to change dysfunctional reactions and feelings and replace them with new, more constructive, ones.
This therapy teaches the clients to think rationally. How many times we were upset and later on realized that there was no reason for that? CBT uses inductive method that consists of asking questions to ourselves about our thoughts. That will help us recognize the thoughts that are disturbing and untrue. By replacing those thoughts, we will be able to see the situation in the real light. Homework is very important in CBT and it helps to obtain what is learned during sessions.