CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is a type of therapy where people work with a professional to change their behaviors. There are many CBT techniques that therapists employ. Some therapists at a behavioural treatment center specialize in different ones, and some patients find that some techniques work better for them than others.
What is CBT Good For?
To change our behaviors, we have to change our thought patterns. How many times have you done something you know you shouldn’t have and just said you couldn’t help it? You may have thought to yourself, I shouldn’t do this, but you did it regardless, knowing that there would be a consequence.
These things happen to the best of us. It’s making a choice in your mind, but sometimes the results for these choices are skewed by the perceived immediate reward.
How do we change deeply ingrained thought patterns? Cognitive behavioral therapy techniques start by seeing thought patterns as different distortions of reality that you default to while enduring some experience. The trick is to see how you are distorting things. Please keep in mind that everyone distorts; distortions and experiences are directly related.
For example, some people’s distortions are more pronounced than others:
- Filtering – Focusing on one aspect of an issue
- Polarized thinking – Inflexible thinking, black and white
- Generalization – Not allowing for differences from stereotypes or the norm
- Jumping to conclusions – Believing something that may or may not be true based on very little evidence
Second, they could suffer from:
- Catastrophizing – Always assuming the worst
- Personalization – Relating everything back to yourself
- Control fallacies – Believing that everything that happens to you is your fault
- The fallacy of fairness – Believing that everything has to be fair
- Blaming – Never accepting responsibility for your actions
And, lastly, they could experience:
- Shoulds – Not allowing people to behave how they see fit, they must abide by your rules
- Emotional reasoning – Thinking that feelings are facts
- The fallacy of change – Expecting others to change to suit you
- Always being right – Believing that being wrong is bad
- Heavens’ reward fallacy – The belief that good acts are repaid
As mentioned, everyone does most of these things to a certain extent. The problem arises when they come up repeatedly and begin to hurt your relationships with others or cause your lifestyle to change.
When you start to do CBT work at a behavioural treatment center with your therapist, the first order of operations is to gain an understanding of where your thought patterns need to be augmented. Being unaware of the thought patterns that need a change, work is necessary to get to those. Many therapists will ask patients to start journaling.
It’s a CBT technique that helps the therapist and patient stay on top of moods and thought processes. Journaling will give the patient and the therapist a more precise idea about where to start their work.
Identifying Cognitive Distortions
You and your therapist will use journaling and talk therapy to figure out what your cognitive distortions are. Identifying these is a means to a resolution.
Once you begin to understand what your specific distortions are, then you can begin to work on changing your value system to see through the fallacy of your thinking and feel better. For example, many people believe that alcoholics are bad. This stereotype can lead teens with alcoholism to believe they’re horrible people.
Therefore, if you are an alcoholic, your self-esteem may suffer even if you have never hurt a soul. You’re taking the initiative for drug and alcohol treatment and helping yourself and others. You can then work with your therapist to realize that it’s not the person that is bad, but the decisions that an intoxicated person can make that can be bad. This also leads to the fact that people calling alcoholics bad are generalizing and missing out on interacting with great people because of their belief.
This technique is for people that have beliefs that prevent them from going to a specific place or doing things out of fear that something terrible will happen. For instance, someone might hate to swim and hate people that love to swim because at one point they almost drowned. A therapist would use exposure treatment on this patient after discovering the faulty thought pattern.
In this case, a therapist might introduce the patient to bodies of water through pictures, then maybe go to the lake and later, perhaps, try to go for a swim. They gain exposure to what they’re afraid of. They see it’s harmless and they no longer have to adhere to their old thought pattern.
Finding a CBT Therapist
Venture Academy offers many levels of therapy. We offer CBT techniques and a teen residential treatment program, as well as outpatient services. Give our office a call to find out how we can help you to change unwanted behaviors today at 866.762.2211.