Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a short term therapy that involves helping people change their thought patterns to result in behavioral changes. It is a form of psychotherapy and helps one battle stress, overcome complicated relationships and deal with other challenges too. CBT is a widely used treatment for some of the most commonly occurring mental conditions. It is appropriate for various conditions and across different ages, from children to adults. CBT is used to treat disorders like Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), eating disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), phobias, anxiety, and depression too. CBT even helps in the treatment of substance use and sexual disorders.
What does CBT do?
- Treats mental illness without medication
- Helps one learn techniques to cope with stress
- Helps one cope with loss and grief
- Identifies ways to manage emotions
- Manages symptoms of mental illnesses
- Assists in better communication methods and reduction of relationship conflicts
While Cognitive Behavioral Therapy assists one in various ways, it can also cause emotional discomfort. It mainly happens because, during the therapy process, the person is encouraged to explore painful feelings and situations to help them feel better. CBT mainly focuses on the current discomfort rather than a person’s past. The pros and cons of this technique are debated upon since it does not work on one’s past experiences which can be the cause of certain behaviours. CBT is a process that involves multiple sessions of exploring one’s feelings and situations and working towards practising specific changes that might better one’s life. These sessions happen regularly for a varied period and also help one understand how realistic their current mental state is.
In a treatment like CBT, a therapist must get the cooperation from the patient to ensure a fast recovery. It is time-consuming, but the person also learns individual life skills that can be practised even after the therapy sessions are over. Some organizations even provide CBT as a part of their Employee Assistance programs (EAP) available at work. CBT is one of the therapies which is known to be equally effective when consulted online and in person. Communication is the key here, and the therapist and client should always be involved in honest conversations to ensure that the treatment works the best.
Risks in CBT
In general, there is a slight risk in getting Cognitive behavioral therapy, because it can explore feelings, emotions and traumatic experiences. You may feel some emotional discomfort at times, and you may cry, become frustrated or feel angry during a problematic situation, or you may Also feel by physical exhaustion.
Some types of Cognitive behavioral therapy, such as exposure therapy, may require you to confront situations that you want to avoid, such as aeroplanes if you are afraid of flying, and this can lead to psychological stress or temporary anxiety.
However, a skilled therapist will work to reduce any risks, and the coping skills you learn can help you deal with and conquer negative feelings and fears.