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What is CBT Therapy?

CBT is a kind of therapy that is very common, it's evidence-based, its short-term and it's pretty effective. Many therapists use CBT. CBT stands for cognitive behavioral therapy. As the title suggests we are going to be working with your cognitions or how your brain is processing whatever it is it's happening to you.


When you're working with the CBT therapist in Santa Monica one of the things you will do in your work together is to understand what the problems are and strategies to resolve them. Sounds pretty simple; it's really not that tough but it does take some effort. One aspect that makes it a little challenging is they're often worksheets and homework that you're assigned when you're working in a style of CBT. You may get a worksheet that asks you to track your feelings and thoughts based on some kind of a triggering event. You could be keeping a log for one whole week and then you're going to review that with your therapist. Another type of worksheet is about tracking the cycle of thoughts feelings and behaviors. Basically you have a triggering event and then you have thoughts about what that event means. These thoughts lead you to feel a certain way and then your body, because you're having an emotional response, is going to have a physiological response. This leads to whatever behavior that you choose to take and then that also leads to another event that may or may not be triggering. So this cycle is happening hundreds of times a day.


How Does CBT Therapy Work

What we're trying to do in CBT is to break down that cycle into its different pieces and look at and become more aware of “is thought that I'm assigning to that event reasonable, is it appropriate is it even true?” Oftentimes our reaction to an event is based on our previous experiences. That means that it may have been true way back when but it's not necessarily true today. One of the cornerstones of cognitive behavioral therapy and trying to re-evaluate our thoughts and feelings is to identify cognitive distortions or these cognitions that we are applying to these certain events that are not accurate.


 Once you can practice “experiencing the event, thinking about what's really happening and what's true” that changes how you feel about the situation. It also changes how our body is going to respond to it and it changes the behavior. If you go through the cycle just reacting chances are you're going to get triggered. You're going to put lots of negative thoughts into it, which is going to make you feel horrible, which is going to make your body react negatively and the choice that you make based on all of that is probably not going to be the best choice. So the argument continues and it just keeps going and going and going because we're reacting in a way that is not helpful. CBT Therapy is trying to break the cycle. Sometimes people like to combine CBT with other modalities so that in addition to just kind of developing these tools to stop your thoughts or to reframe or to restructure in addition they like to dive into well why is this a trigger in the first place, what makes this event so bad for you. You'll often see CBT used with psychodynamic or other kind of processing therapies. There are some therapists that are 100% CBT and so it's important to ask your therapist if you're interested in using CBT in your work to ask it they are competent in CBT or if they do something other than CBT. Something more like hybrid. You can find a lot of additional information online and there are many books about CBT.


Is CBT Therapy Right For Me?

CBT is excellent for any kind of anxiety, depression and recovery, addiction recovery. CBT is looked at in the community as almost like a cure-all it can apply to just about anything. However a lot of it though does depend on the quality of your therapist. So if you have a therapist that doesn't use CBT effectively then obviously it's not going to work as well so please make sure if you're interested in using CBT in your therapy that you talk to your therapist about it really ask the questions because there's nothing worse than going into therapy and not being happy with the results

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