What is CBT?
CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and it is a form of psychotherapy which focuses on identifying and modifying those dysfunctional and negative thought patterns that create emotions like anxiety and depression. It is much different from traditional talk therapy which focuses on addressing past events or childhood traumas. Instead, CBT puts a focus on solutions in the now by encouraging to challenge our harmful thinking patterns by evaluating its validity.
CBT is an effective treatment for anxiety, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, and many others. CBT is often a preferred choice for many for its long-term efficacy and no concerns for any side effects. Today, most licensed therapists offer CBT as a part of their treatment and it is widely used.
Where do I start?
I first learned about CBT about a few years ago when my panic attacks were at its worse. I literally could not function and an everyday task such as going to the grocery store or driving to a place was nearly impossible at the time. My therapist at the time introduced me to CBT, and we worked on identifying my dysfunctional thought patterns and modifying them over the course of couple of years.
So, the first step for you to get started is to find a licensed therapist who practices CBT. Another thing to consider while you search for the right therapist would be to check out this book and familiarize yourself with what CBT is and how it works. This book, When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life, was recommended by my therapist and it has widely been used by many people who suffer from anxiety. I believe CBT is more effective when done with a trusted therapist because you have somebody professional there to reinforces the knowledge and offer support and guidance. However, I also understand that not everybody has the luxury to afford insurance or seeing a therapist. While my number one recommendation is to work with a therapist, I believe this book can provide all the knowledge and tools one needs to understand CBT and actually start practicing on her own.
This book will help you understand the basics of CBT and your own dysfunctional thought patterns that might have been contributing to feeling anxious and depressed. What I loved about this book is the ease of reading. The book covers so much and provides valuable information, but it is well written in a way that everybody can understand and enjoy reading. Another great thing and what makes this book so useful is that it provides worksheet so that you can immediately start applying what you just learned.
Pros and Cons
- Effective to treat a wide range of mental disorders
- Long term effects
- No side effects
- It addresses the problem at its core instead of masking it
- It does require consistency, patience, commitment, and efforts.
If you are currently suffering from debilitating anxiety or other mental disorders and most of the medication treatments have failed you, I would highly recommend you consider CBT. Unlike those prescription medications, there is absolutely no need to worry about side effects with CBT, and if you are consistent with the treatment, the effect is often long term and you might actually become symptom free. The only thing that I want to remind everyone is that CBT is much like mastering a new skill. It will require consistency, patience, and commitment. It is not something you do once or twice, and your symptoms go away although you can experience relief right away when you practice it. The key is to continue and be consistent so that relief is sustained and will be long-lived. If you have tried CBT before and have experienced some relief from it, I would like to encourage you to share your experience in the comment section below 🙂