Sydney is a contributing health writer and editor who enjoys shedding light on health topics, making information available to anyone who wants it, and ending stigmas or lack of access to care and treatment.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Dr. Hsu received his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Master’s of Science degree from both Harvard University and Tufts University. Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Hsu loves to write, learn new languages, and travel.
February 22, 2021
According to the APA, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems, including:
Within mental health practices, there are several types of therapy that professionals use with their patients. Dialectical behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization, reprocessing therapy, and exposure therapy are common types used today.
Several therapists have started using cognitive-behavioral therapy in their practices. Over the last several years, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, has grown increasingly popular and helpful for various mental health disorders.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is considered a psycho-social intervention that helps those struggling with mental health issues. Therapists use it to challenge cognitive distortions and behaviors. When you use this type of therapy, you’re essentially rewiring how you think to be more rational rather than controlled by your mental disorder.
Cognitive behavioral therapy works with the idea that your actions, emotions, and thoughts are connected. For example, if you’re feeling depressed, you might show that through the action of isolating. If you’re having a panic attack, you may get intrusive thoughts.
Feelings can cloud reality, and we tend to act according to how we’re feeling or thinking at the moment. CBT is used to change these behavior patterns so that no matter how you’re thinking or feeling, your actions mirror how they would be when you’re at your baseline.
Because cognitive-behavioral therapy can be hard to understand, let’s look at a few examples of what it may look like for someone practicing it with their therapist and applying it to real life.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is beneficial to many people. Here are some of the mental health struggles that can be treated using this type of therapy.
You don’t need to have one of the listed issues to use CBT. It’s also great to help anyone facing grief, chronic pain, insomnia, a life change such as a divorce, or even a stressful promotion at work. Just like any type of therapy, it should be handled by a licensed therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
Our partner site PlushCare is an award-winning telehealth company with therapists available for appointments. The beauty of booking online is that you can start your therapy from the comfort of your home and still get treated by a professional trained in therapies such as CBT.
If you’re considering trying CBT, knowing what the most common cognitive distortions are is helpful. Distortions are essentially patterns of thinking that lead to unwanted or painful emotions. This is especially common in those suffering from the post-traumatic stress disorder. For example, someone who came home after serving in the military might have an adverse reaction to the sound of fireworks.
Listed below are some of the most common cognitive distortions therapists see today. While it’s normal to experience these every once in a while, making a habit can become an issue.
|Personalizing||Thinking that you should be blamed and deserve it while not accounting for others’ responsibility in the matter. For example, if your team at work does poorly in a meeting, you’ll believe it’s all your fault.|
|All-or-Nothing Thinking||All or nothing thinking is fairly self-explanatory. It’s as if you view the world in black and white, with no middle ground. For example, let’s say you’re on a diet and you slip up and have a cookie. Deciding to throw the whole diet away because you ate one cookie falls into this distortion.|
|“Mind Reading”||“Mind Reading” describes the act of assuming you know what others are thinking without them expressing it. This happens a lot in relationships and in the workplace. For example, if your boss hasn’t been very smiley lately, you may assume that he thinks you’re a terrible employee.|
|Labeling||Using one-word labels for people based on a single encounter. If you get into an argument with your sibling and think, “she’s a brat,” that might be considered labeling.|
|Negative Filtering||Negative thinking means you mainly focus on the negatives and don’t give the positives any weight. If you do well on a big test, you think it’s because it was easy, not because you studied for hours. You may also think you could’ve done better, especially if you got any answers wrong at all.|
|Overgeneralization||One of the more common distortions is an overgeneralization. This is assuming something based on little to no knowledge. You may make a tasteless meal and think that you’re a horrible cook based on that one experience. Overgeneralizers can also draw inferences about other people.|
|“Fortune Telling”||“Fortune telling” involves believing or predicting that bad things will happen in the future without any proof. If you have an important speech you have to give in front of your colleagues, you may think, “I’m going to mess up. Everyone will hate me.”|
|Catastrophizing||Catastrophizing is characterized by blowing things out of proportion. It’s the belief that you won’t be able to handle anything that life throws your way.|
|Magnification and Minimization||Exaggerating negative qualities while minimizing positive qualities. An example of how this can lead to addiction is people spending all their savings looking for the magic pill that can take away their pain and depression.|
|Emotional Reasoning||Judging the circumstances based on emotions. An example would be depressed people believing that they are worthless and start binge eating.|
Thanks to the ever-growing technology industry, many therapists will use cognitive behavioral therapy online. Both affordable and convenient, online therapy allows you to benefit from trying CBT from the comfort of your own home.
Our sister site PlushCare provides access to doctors and therapists, so you can speak to someone about beginning your journey with cognitive behavioral therapy. Book an appointment now, and start your journey of psychological treatment.
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