What is Cognitive Therapy?
The term "Cognitive" means "thought processes" or "the process of acquiring knowledge by the use of reasoning". In Cognitive therapy (also known as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy) you learn to look at the thoughts and beliefs connected to your moods, behaviors, and physical experiences and to the events in your life. A key idea in cognitive therapy is that how we think of an event or experience will strongly affect our emotional, behavioral and physiological responses to it. Dysfunctional "automatic" thinking patterns, if left unchecked, can limit a person’s perspective and lead to an experience of continual emotional distress. In cognitive therapy you learn to identify your thoughts, moods, behaviors, and physical reactions in small situations as well as during major events in your life. You learn to examine the meaning and usefulness of different thoughts you have during the day to change the thinking patterns that keep you locked into dysfunctional moods, behaviors, or relationship interactions. You also learn to make changes in your life when your thoughts are warning you about problems that need to be solved.
Cognitive Therapy Essentials:
Proven Method. Cognitive therapy is one of today’s most successful forms of psychotherapy. Numerous studies have repeatedly shown that cognitive therapy is just as effective as medications, such as Prozac, for the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, and chronic anger. In addition, cognitive therapy helps individuals remain feeling better longer and have fewer relapses following recovery. ?
Goal-oriented. In cognitive therapy the therapist and client work together to set clear, measurable goals for therapy and to monitor progress toward the goals. To maintain progress, the therapist and client will set an agenda for each meeting that might include a review of your experience in the previous session, your homework, one or two current problems, a review of what you've accomplished in this session, and homework for the next week.
Practical. Therapy is intended to solve specific concrete problems. Typical therapy goals include improving mood, easing relationship difficulties, reducing or eliminating depressive symptoms, panic attacks, compulsive rituals, procrastination, and social isolation.
Collaborative. The client and therapist work together, as a team, to understand and develop strategies to overcome the client’s problem. Because this is a joint effort the client is encouraged to give the therapist feedback on their progress in order to figure out what works and what does not work.
Active. The therapist roles are as a teacher and coach, and the client works outside of therapy sessions to practice the strategies learned in therapy. Research has shown that clients who carry out homework assignments get better faster and stay better longer. Your self-help assignments might include developing goals, keeping track of your moods, thoughts and behaviors, scheduling activities, challenging your negative thoughts, collecting information, changing the way you communicate with others, and other assignments.