CBT has transformed our understanding of how to treat emotional disorders. It is the most up-to-date treatment and has significant research validation of its techniques. It is based on a thorough understanding of human learning and has been applied to the treatment of anxiety, mood disorders, parenting issues, and interpersonal difficulties. The central premise is that dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors are learned and can therefore be unlearned. Cognitive therapy focuses on altering one’s thoughts and perceptions. Subsequently, learning to think differently also results in making different choices about one’s behavior. Behavioral treatment involves changing one’s maladaptive behavioral patterns.
It is a skill based and goal oriented treatment approach. Treatment targets ones thinking style and behavioral patterns that are causing or maintaining symptoms, functional impairment and diminished quality of life. Within this framework, individuals learn numerous adaptive skills including:
• Cognitive reframing
• Emotion regulation
• New and healthier patterns of behavior
• Effective coping skills
CBT therapists work with individuals to measure and assess as well as monitor treatment outcomes. The focus is on concrete and objective measures using a problem-solving, and active approach. Like any effective treatment, it is always based on developing a collaborative patient-therapist relationship.
Homework is an important element of treatment. Practicing techniques learned in the therapy session expedites goal achievement and results in the generalization of skills.
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