In the previous text, we dealt with basic information about cognitive-behavioral therapy. We will now talk about whether this form of therapy is for us, depending on our preferences and the problem that is bothering us. We will also go through what we can expect from meeting a cognitive behavioral psychotherapist and how to actually get one.
How can this form of therapy help us?
Of course, we can assume that cognitive behavioral therapy can help us treat a number of mental disorders. But how can it help us beyond the diagnosed disorders? Why would they engage in this form of therapy at all?
- We can learn to better control our emotions, which can prevent the development of some major problems
- In case it is necessary, we can learn how to deal with loss in an acceptable way.
- We can learn techniques to deal effectively with stress.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy can be an effective treatment if for some reason pharmacotherapy does not work for us, or we do not have access to it.
- This form of therapy can teach us how to resolve conflicts in the best possible way.
- Can be effective in preventing relapse and dealing with physical illnesses that negatively affect us.
- We can also learn how to deal with the symptoms of mental disorders and how to overcome emotional trauma in a healthy way.
Who is cognitive behavioral therapy for?
The advantage of behavioral cognitive therapy is that this therapeutic focus allows therapists to work with different clients, regardless of the client’s abilities, their gender, race, culture, values, or sexual preferences. As we have already mentioned, this therapy is effective for treating many mental and even physical problems. This form of therapy is effective for dealing with depression, anxiety, various phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep and eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, addictions, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, sexual disorders, etc. It can also help cope with chronic pain. or long-term illness, stress, low self-esteem, and similar problems.
But what about cognitive behavioral therapists?
Cognitive-behavioral therapists are primarily health professionals, and most often they are psychologists and doctors. There are small differences in the names they give themselves, depending on which techniques a particular therapist prefers, but they all basically work on similar problems, and have the same goal, which is to help us improve our mental state and strengthen our mental health. Different therapists will approach the problem in different ways, but they mostly work with individuals, families and groups.
How do we know that cognitive behavioral therapy actually works?
The effectiveness of this approach has been confirmed by numerous studies that have compared the effectiveness of this approach, other approaches to psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy appears to be the most effective for treating anxiety and depressive disorders. This form of therapy is the most effective way to treat eating disorders, and is extremely effective in working with people suffering from insomnia. Patients who have been part of this therapy progress rapidly in recovery, and the positive effects of the therapy persist for several years. In the short term, cognitive behavioral therapy has a similar, if not better, positive effect as pharmacotherapy or a combination of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy.
What do we need to know before starting therapy?
This approach to therapy is relatively harmless, yet we need to know a few things before making a final decision about seeking help.
- Given the level of intensity of cognitive behavioral therapy, there is a possibility that we will feel uncomfortable during certain situations during therapy. During therapy, we may need to bring up some painful feelings and experiences to the surface, which can be quite challenging. Some techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy force us to face things we otherwise avoid, e.g., exposure therapy. This is often the case when treating fears and phobias.
- Although this will be difficult at times, we must be consistent and stick to the set plan and program we have agreed with the therapist.
- We must be ready for active work and constant work on homeworks, which is almost always present in this form of therapy.
- We will need to approach therapy as a partnership with the therapist. We must be willing to share openly with the therapist, we must not hide information from him.
- If we notice a lack of progress, we also need to talk openly with our therapist about it to see what happens next.
- This form of therapy may not be effective for some more complex psychological problems, and it all depends on our capacity to change for the better.
- We will not work with the therapist on problems from the past that have led to current problems, such as a troubled childhood.
How to start cognitive behavioral therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is conducted in much of the world. CBT therapists in Croatia are available in Zagreb, Rijeka, Varaždin, Petrinja, Sisak, Split and Slavonski Brod. If necessary, it is possible to arrange online meetings. You can find additional information online, on the pages related to this form of therapy. If you still don’t know how to get started, contacts of more cognitive behavioral psychotherapists are available within the Naomi app!
Cherry, K. (2021). How Cognitive Behavior Therapy Works. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-cognitive-behavior-therapy-2795747.
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The Development of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Foundations Recovery Network. (2020). https://www.foundationsrecoverynetwork.com/development-cognitive-behavioral-therapy/.
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