- Vista Counseling
Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown in several studies to be an effective treatment for a variety of conditions when compared with usual care. With this kind of therapy, you gain awareness of negative or unhelpful thinking styles that might be holding you back, replacing them with more positive alternatives. For example, someone who worries frequently might learn how to tackle their fears head-on using problem-solving techniques. The purpose is not necessarily to eliminate all anxiety but rather to reduce it so that the person in question has adequate emotional space to function. Here are five benefits of cognitive-behavioral therapy:
Treatment of Mental Health Problems
CBT can alleviate symptoms in many conditions, including severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and personality disorders. The aim is not to cure illness but rather to improve functioning to cope better with their everyday lives. Therapists help guide patients through understanding their own experiences by recognizing how certain patterns in their thinking and behavior affect them. Over time, patients become adept at recognizing problematic thoughts and behaviors that contribute to poor mental health.
CBT is often used to treat depression among people who suffer from chronic physical illnesses such as cancer or heart disease. The program helps individuals adjust to their illness by focusing on overcoming negative feelings associated with it. Patients learn coping skills to understand better the emotions they experience while adapting to changes in their lives brought about by their medical conditions.
Treatment of Addictive Behaviors
CBT techniques have been successfully employed in addiction treatment because they teach addicts new coping mechanisms for dealing with cravings and urges when they arise. Researchers have found that CBT is more effective than other types of psychotherapy at helping individuals recovering from substance abuse disorders quit drinking or using drugs. In studies of alcoholics who underwent CBT, nearly half could abstain from drinking at the one-year follow-up. This abstinence rate is far higher than those achieved with other forms of addiction treatment such as 12-step programs and motivational enhancement therapy.
Helping patients understand how they became addicted to a certain substance can also aid in recovery. Drugs work by changing brain chemistry which causes feelings of pleasure and intoxication that addicts want to recreate repeatedly. Many people who seek help for drug problems had an underlying mental health issue before becoming addicted, such as anxiety or depression. Therapy helps them become more aware of the emotional needs that are not being met through healthy means, leading to drug abuse later on.
Self-Help Approach for Coping with Ongoing Stresses
Individuals who do not have a medical condition or addiction problem but face ongoing stress in their lives can also benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy. For example, CBT is often used to help people manage long-term health conditions like diabetes and asthma. Stressful situations like an illness or job loss can trigger negative thinking that puts individuals at risk of developing depression if they cannot cope effectively. Cognitive-behavioral therapists offer practical coping strategies so patients can overcome negative emotions instead of giving into them by enabling destructive behavior patterns.
CBT is also often used to help people deal with the grief following the death of a friend or loved one. Grieving individuals can lose their ability to function normally because they are too overwhelmed by negative emotions. Therapists work with them to regain normal functioning by helping them become more aware of how they are thinking about the situation and where those thoughts are leading them emotionally. Over time, patients learn new coping mechanisms for handling feelings of loss so they can resume their lives without becoming paralyzed by grief.