what is cognitive behavioral therapy

There are numerous theoretical approaches to counseling; each has their own purposes and weaknesses. While my approach is eclectic, because I believe that the theoretical approach should be catered to the clients’ needs, I tend to stay largely in the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy realm. Simply put, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a common and well-supported treatment for various mental illnesses. It is based on the premise that a persons thoughts influence their feelings, which one can learn to control. As we learn to change our thinking styles and patterns our behaviors and feelings can change as well.  

For example, if I had a reoccurring thought that I am going to get in an accident on the way to work, I may feel fearful, tense, or restless on the drive into work. It may follow that my behavior is impacted by these thoughts and feelings. Maybe I begin to leave an hour early for work so there is not as much traffic, maybe I take back roads to work so minimize the chance of a high sped impact, or maybe I try to suck it up and carry that stress into work in hopes that it will die off before the drive home.

In Cognitive Behavioral therapy the three intervention points are the thoughts, the feelings, and the behaviors. Some are easier to make changes in than others. Usually we find that by changing/correcting the thought, the behaviors and feelings will follow. So if I can work to change my thought that I am going to get into a car accident, then maybe I can positively impact the feelings and behaviors that follow.