Published on 17 September 2021

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Types, Techniques

Psychological Therapy cognitive-behavioral-therapy-(cbt)
Table of Contents

Therapy for mental illnesses, or even expressing your emotions, has been perceived as a stigma or sign of weakness by our dysfunctional society. However, as times have changed, people are become more aware of the importance of mental issues, open up about it, and take it as a crucial issue in our society. CBT is mainly based on improving the connection between thoughts, feelings, and actions that can affect what you are trying to do. 

Things might be affected if you take a lot of stress at work. E.g., if you are under pressure, you might make a decision differently than in a normal situation. CBT therapist helps with this only to calm down during the intense concern and try to handle it smoothly. 

Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on changing a person's negative thoughts and overthinking mindset into positive ones to help that cannot lead to Anxiety, depression, and other severe mental illness.

What Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment/talk therapy that helps people learn how to identify, understand and change harmful, destructive, or disturbing thought patterns that negatively influence their behavior and emotions in day-to-day life. 

The therapist will try to figure out your condition and ask you to do something positive daily that could divert your mind from negativity and helps to stay positive or happy for a more extended period, such as reading articles and motivational lines, doing meditation, or things that you like to do.

In some form of CBT, the therapist may give you a task for confronting the situation you would be afraid to do or instead avoid. For example, if you have Acrophobia(fear of height), your therapist might tell you to go to high-altitude places such as a mountain trip or a heightened tower. To fight against your fear and eventually lead to overcoming your Anxiety, this is called exposure therapy is a type of CBT.

Conditions That CBT Can Treat

Individuals learn to develop a positive, rational, and healthier outlook and approach toward life to improve their emotional and mental health. CBT best addresses issues such as:

  • Mental illnesses include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, personality disorders, and substance Abuse.
  • Overcoming emotional trauma related to Abuse and violence.
  • Learning techniques to cope with grief, loss of anything, and stressful life situations.
  • Identifying and managing uncomfortable and negative emotions and actions. 

How Does CBT Work?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a short-term technique that can help people change their minds from negative to positive. CBT sessions focus on exploring to do new things in their daily life with a different approach.

CBT session has around 5 to 20 personal one-on-one sessions, depending on person to person. Some people have more sessions or can also take it as a group session if required.

This type of session is very effective on problems like Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, Bipolar disorder, and various other mental illnesses. 

  • Understanding the problem: Starting the phase of therapy is to understand the person's situation, such as dealing with something, symptoms you observed and are concerned about, or being diagnosed with any mental health condition. All of these things are very important to know by your therapist.
  • Question Answer session: According to your condition, your therapist asks you several questions to know more about you. You might discuss any incident in your past, problem, phobias, or things that trouble your thoughts and feeling. It is to find the solution and fight against the challenges of your life.
  • It helps you to recognize problematic thoughts and behaviors: Through interactive question-answer sessions, your therapist encourages you to pay more attention to how to come up with the challenging situation. You both work together to discover unhealthy behaviors and emotions that lead to trouble. Your therapist may also tell you to maintain a journal of any challenging situations and your response to them.
  • Works with you to adjust your thoughts and behaviors: your therapist will help you to find a way to cope and to change negative emotions, ideas, and habits. You can change your mindset and adopt positive thinking patterns and attitudes. Then, apply those skills to your daily life.

Types Of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT encompasses various approaches and techniques to address one's thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Several specific types of psychotherapeutic approaches involve CBT, including.

  • Cognitive therapy is focused on identifying and changing distorted or bothersome thinking patterns and emotional and behavioral responses.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) addresses thoughts and behaviors while utilizing various strategies, such as
  • Mindfulness and emotional regulation: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) this CBT is a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy with meditation helps you to make more out of it; this therapy with a non-judgemental and present-oriented attitude toward Mindfulness. MBCT helps you to deal with Anxiety, Depression, and bipolar disorder.
  • Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is based on acceptance of oneself, identifying irrational beliefs, actively challenging these beliefs, and modifying your thinking pattern.
  • Multimodal therapy is intended to optimize the treatment of psychological issues by incorporating seven different but interconnected modalities: behavior, affect, cognition, imagery, sensation, interpersonal factors, and drug/biological considerations.
  • Exposure therapy is where the therapist gives you a specific task or tells you to do things you are afraid to do. This therapy is much more effective for people suffering from Phobias or Obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD).

Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural therapy is one of the best and most well-studied forms of treatment. The study effectively treats many mental health conditions, including Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorder, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD), panic attack, and substance abuse disorder.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven it is beneficial for insomnia as well as for those who have problems in sleep due to some medical condition, such as pain from any injury or mood disorder (depression)
  • Research shows that Cognitive therapy is so effective in treating an eating disorder.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy is scientifically proven effective in treating depression and Anxiety in adults and children.
  • 2018 meta - Analysis of 41 studies has shown that Cognitive behavioral therapy is very effective & helpful in improving symptoms of Anxiety and other disorder such as including obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Popular CBT Techniques For Fast And Better Results

Your therapist will help you open up and discuss what's troubling you during your CBT sessions. Even if you are not initially uncomfortable talking about your feelings, your therapist can help you get more comfortable and confident.

CBT is focused on specific issues and is goal-oriented. Your therapist may ask you to perform some homework, activities, and practices and apply it in your day-to-day life and situations to help and improve your condition. 

There are several CBT techniques one can use. Your therapist will work with you by implementing various strategies to find the best method for you. These techniques aim to replace destructive or self-deprecating thoughts and actions with rational and positive ones.

Frequently asked questions

Self-directed CBT is quite effective in several trials. Two evaluations, each with over 30 shots, revealed that self-help treatment decreased Anxiety and depression considerably, mainly when CBT approaches were applied.
After 5–15 modules, CBT alone is 50–75 percent successful in alleviating depression and Anxiety. Although medication is helpful, researchers are still discovering the long-term consequences on the brain and body.
Hundreds of research have proven that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for Anxiety and depression. CBT tools offered online are just as successful as in-person sessions, making this a good choice for people who prefer virtual meetings.
Some people are concerned that counseling would exacerbate their problems. This can happen from time to time. This is because beginning therapy might bring up feelings you were unaware of or had sought to suppress. This is common, but it cannot be easy.

Identifying Problems That Affect Your Life

These may include issues such as symptoms of mental health disorders, medical conditions, heartbreak, loss of anything, grief, or anger issues. You and your therapist may need to understand the problem behind your troubles and your goals.

Becoming Aware Of Your Thoughts, Emotions, And Beliefs 

Once you've identified the issues you must work on, your therapist will encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions. This may include observing your interpretation of a situation, self-talk (what you tell yourself about an experience), and your beliefs about yourself, others, and events. Your therapist may recommend journaling your daily thoughts, emotions, and events.

Identify Negative Thinking Patterns

To help you recognize specific patterns of behavior and thinking contributing to your issues, your therapist may ask you to pay more attention to your emotional, behavioral, and physical responses in various situations and suggest you reinforce positive thoughts instead of negativity.

Reshape Negative Or Irrational Thinking

Your therapist will encourage you to self-analyze whether your point of view on a situation is based on a fact or a misinterpreted assumption of what's going on. This step can be difficult. You may have long-standing thought processes about your life as well as yourself. Helpful thinking and behavior patterns will eventually become a habit and won't take as much effort with time and practice.

How To Start The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Session?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective for mental disorders/ psychological issues like Anxiety and depression. CBT might be helpful for you to consider some of the essential factors before starting the therapy session, such as

  • Consult a Cognitive Behavioral therapist: Check out the certified specialist Physician of Cognitive behavioral therapy from the national association of cognitive-behavioral Therapists. You can search for CBT near me to get the best possible result.
  • Choose your preference: Do you want physical therapy( face-to-face) or online? Decide which one works best for you.
  • Please make an appointment: appoint the meeting according to your schedule, so it doesn't collide with your other plans.
  • Open up about your problems: Feel free to tell your problems, phobias, or anything that stops you from being a healthy and positive human. Be open with a positive attitude to fight against the situation in the best possible way.

What Does CBT Therapist Do?

The fundamental goal of a cognitive-behavioral therapist is to help individuals recognize their beliefs and actions, particularly in connection to their relationships, environment, and lives, so that they may change them for the better.

Goals Of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists

  • They assist clients in comprehending how skewed perceptions and ideas contribute to negative emotions.
  • Clients are taught strategies to detect and challenge skewed thinking, which helps them gain self-control.
  • Self-awareness and emotional intelligence are promoted by teaching clients how to "read" their emotions and discriminate between good and bad emotions.
  • Quick symptom reduction with a focus on assessing the client's present condition and resolving current issues
  • By assisting clients in changing underlying beliefs typically at the root of their suffering, new periods of emotional discomfort can be avoided, and personal progress can be achieved.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Helps?

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps in the short term. It's commonly used for a person who is suffering from Anxiety and depression but also used for other mental and physical problems such as.

  • Phobias 
  • Insomnia 
  • Griefing 
  • Anger issues
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar disorder 
  • Severe Anxiety disorder 
  • Substance Abuse disorder
  • PTSD(post-traumatic stressed disorder)

CBT is talking therapy that can help you control and manage your problem by changing your behavior and thinking.

How is CBT Used For treating Anxiety?

Everyone feels nervous or anxious at some point in time. Anxiety means protection and can increase your performance in intense situations. For example, we all face Anxiety problems before a job interview or big race can enhance our performance.

But for some people, it happens all the time. It means you always feel fearful or anxious in any situation, no matter what you do. It can be highly distressing in our daily life.

If your Anxiety becomes a problem that interferes with your ability to function, it is essential to learn how to cope with this anxious feeling. CBT can help change a person's thoughts and behavior associated with Anxiety.

How To Get The Most Out Of CBT?

CBT isn't practical for everyone. However, you can try to get the most out of your therapy sessions and make them a success.

  • Be Open And Honest: Success in therapy depends on your willingness to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and you're open to new insights, perspectives, and ways of doing things. Be transparent with your doctor as much as possible  For fast and better results.
  • Approach Your Therapy As A Partnership: Therapy is most helpful and practical when you are an active participant. You and your therapist need to comply with each other about the major issues and how you can tackle them. Over time, you can set goals and assess progress together.
  • Don't Expect Instant Results: Never expect instant results. Working through emotional issues can be uncomfortable and painful, requiring genuine commitment, and hard work takes a lot of time to make a habit. It's common to feel worse during the initial phase of therapy as you begin to confront repressed and bothersome emotional conflicts. You may require several sessions of CBT before you start to see some improvement.
  • Stick To Your Treatment Plan: Never leave the session in the middle stick to it. If you do not continue the therapy, it may cause serious consequences. If you lack motivation, feel down, or are insecure, it may be tempting to skip therapy sessions. But doing so can entirely disrupt your progress. Attend all sessions sincerely and with complete dedication.
  • Do Your Homework Between Sessions: Follow through if your therapist asks you to read, journal, or do other activities outside your therapy sessions to improve your thinking process positively for a healthy life. Performing these homework tasks will help you apply and make purpose out of what you have learned in your therapy sessions in real life.

If you feel therapy isn't helping, talk to your therapist. If you think you're not benefiting from CBT even after several sessions, you and your therapist may need to make changes or try a different approach.

How Long Do You Need To Take Cognitive Therapy Sessions? 

Cognitive behavioral therapy usually Last for 12 to 20 weeks. However, the session duration entirely depends on the people and their mental health conditions. If the situation is complex, it might take some more sessions, so the length of therapy can vary. Do not worry about the size of the treatment; Better things take time.  

When Should CBT Not Be Used?

The research authors found in a landmark 2009 review published in the journal Psychological Medicine that: (CBT) is of little utility in treating schizophrenia and has a modest effect on depression. It is equally unsuccessful in avoiding relapses in bipolar illness, according to the authors.

How Long Does It Take For CBT To Work For Anxiety?

A presentation of mild Anxiety may only require 6 to 24 sessions of CBT therapy to be treated appropriately. Some people, such as those who have had symptoms for years, may need a little more time before seeking treatment.

The Advantages of CBT

CBT is based on the idea that thoughts and feelings play a significant role in behavior. Such as, a person who spends much time worrying about plane crashes, runway accidents, and other aviation tragedies may avoid flying altogether.

The purpose of cognitive behavior therapy is to teach people that, while they may not control every part of their environment, they can influence how they understand and respond to it. The following benefits are what CBT is famous for

  • It enables you to adopt healthy thinking habits by recognizing the negative and frequently unrealistic ideas that stifle your emotions and moods.
  • It's an excellent short-term therapy choice; for example, you can observe results after five to twenty sessions.
  • It is frequently less expensive than other forms of therapy.
  • It has been demonstrated to help treat a wide range of maladaptive behaviors.
  • It's appropriate for those who don't need psychotropic drugs.
  • It is booming both online and in person.
  • It focuses on a person's capacity to change themselves. 

This habit you learned in cognitive behavioral therapy will help you after the session and in the future if you have stress or any mental health-related problem. This skill and strategic practice help you to cope with depression.

Possible Risks Associated With CBT

Getting cognitive-behavioral treatment has low risk in general. However, you may experience emotional discomfort at a certain period. CBT can lead to exploring painful sensations, emotions, and experiences. You may weep, become agitated, or even be furious during a challenging session. You could also be physically exhausted.

Working with a professional therapist, on the other hand, will reduce any hazards. You may use the coping skills you acquire to control and overcome unpleasant thoughts and concerns.

You need to follow the therapy with complete integrity and in a strict manner as much as possible. It would be best if you committed to making a massive change from this therapy session. Therapists only can guide and motivate you, but you also have to give a 100% of yourself.

You must follow the therapy regularly; sometimes, your therapist may take extra time. Because CBT sessions are structured, they will not work for some people with more complicated mental illnesses or learning difficulties.

Background Check Of The Therapist Before Consulting.

The psychotherapist is a generic word that does not indicate a specific professional title, level of Education, training, or licensing. Psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed professional counselors, licensed social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists, psychiatric nurses, and other licensed mental health practitioners are examples of psychotherapists.

Before selecting the therapist, check their:

  • Licensing and certification: Check if your chosen therapist fulfills the state's qualification and licensing criteria for their field.
  • Education background: Depending on their degree and position, trained psychotherapists can have a variety of employment titles. The majority have a master's or doctorate in psychology and have had specialized training in psychological therapy. Psychiatrists are medical professionals who specialize in mental health and can both prescribe drugs and conduct psychotherapy.
  • Specialized knowledge: Enquire about the therapist's competence and experience in treating your symptoms or area of concern, such as eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Read online reviews: online reviews might benefit you before consulting the therapist. But some sites use fake or bot reviews, so be careful whether the reviews are genuine. 
  • Qualities your therapist must have: Every therapist behaves differently. Sometimes you like it, or you Don't. If the therapist talks too much, some people like it (find it knowledgeable), and others find it irritating. It depends from person to person. You can check out reviews of the patient and read genuine reviews that describe whether the therapist is good or bad. Here are the qualities of a therapist such as:
Qualities of a Good Therapist  Qualities of a Bad therapist
A good listener Judgemental
Easy to talk Insulting
Authentic Egoistic
Caring Arrogant
Helpful Unhelpful
Understandable Talks inappropriate
Emphatic Busy with own problem

Things To Consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

There are numerous challenges that people often run into during cognitive-behavioral therapy.

  • CBT Is well Structured: CBT doesn't tend to focus on underlying or unconscious resistance to change as much as other practices, such as psychoanalytic psychotherapy. It is generally best suited for people more comfortable with a focused and structured approach wherein the therapist often takes up an instructional role.
  • Change Can Be Difficult: Initially, some patients might suggest that while they recognize that specific thoughts are not healthy or rational, simply becoming aware of them does not make it any easier to alter them.
  • People Must Be Willing To Change: For CBT to be effective and valuable, individuals must be willing to analyze their thoughts and emotions. Such self-analysis and homework activities can be challenging, but it is an excellent way to learn more about how your internal state impacts external behavior.
  • Progress Is Usually Gradual: In most cases, CBT is a gradual process that helps an individual take progressive steps toward change. For instance, someone with an eating disorder might start trying not to gag after every time they eat something. The next thing they know, they eat healthily and get comfortable in their skin. Progressively working toward a greater goal makes the process seem less daunting and easier to achieve.

Also Read

Bottom line from practical Anxiety Solutions

Cognitive behavioral therapy may not entirely cure your condition or disappear a stressful situation. But it can help you gradually better yourself and give you the power to cope with your position in your life.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an excellent option for treating many mental disorders, such as Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses. CBT is a standard talk therapy to improve a person's mental health. A therapist might structure several sessions as per the condition of the patient. 

It is a short-term therapy that requires you to actively actively actively participate in sessions for the process and see improvement actively. Meeting with a therapist can help you to determine your goals and whether the CBT subtype is effective in your condition. If CBT does not work for you, other therapies might help you.

Cognitive behavioral therapy will not cure your condition or solve your problems. But it can make you feel better about yourself in life.

  • Rothbaum, B. O., Meadows, E. A., Resick, P., & Foy, D. W. (2000). Cognitive-behavioral therapy. In E. B. Foa, T. M. Keane, & M. J. Friedman (Eds.), Effective treatments for PTSD: Practice guidelines from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (pp. 320–325). The Guilford Press. Obtain On 17/09/2023
  • Craske, M. G. (2010). Cognitive–behavioral therapy. American Psychological Association. Obtain On 17/09/2023
  • Robins, C. J., Rosenthal, M. Z., & Cuper, P. F. (2010). Dialectical behavior therapy. In J. J. Magnavita (Ed.), Evidence-based treatment of personality dysfunction: Principles, methods, and processes (pp. 49–78). American Psychological Association. Obtain On 17/09/2023
  • Rothbaum, B. O., Meadows, E. A., Resick, P., & Foy, D. W. (2000). Cognitive-behavioral therapy. In E. B. Foa, T. M. Keane, & M. J. Friedman (Eds.), Effective treatments for PTSD: Practice guidelines from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (pp. 320–325). The Guilford Press. Obtain On 17/09/2023
  • Tolin, D. F. (2010). Is cognitive–behavioral therapy more effective than other therapies?: A meta-analytic review. Clinical psychology review30(6), 710-720. Obtain On 17/09/2023
  • Durlak, J. A., Fuhrman, T., & Lampman, C. (1991). Effectiveness of cognitive-behavior therapy for maladapting children: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 110(2), 204–214. Obtain On 17/09/2023