A person’s thoughts do not just spring out of nowhere. Similarly, a person’s actions are rarely done for no reason at all.
People’s thoughts, emotions, and actions are all interconnected. What affects one of these aspects can also affect others. Think of it as a domino effect.
What if one aspect brings about harmful changes in a person? The different aspects of a person’s life will then be negatively affected. Thus, it is necessary to address these harmful changes if a person’s well-being is to remain a priority.
Cognitive therapy is one of the many forms of psychotherapy. It seeks to bring about positive changes in people who are experiencing problems in thoughts, emotions, or behavior – by addressing the thoughts we have, the patterns of those thoughts, and how to change those thought patterns.
What Is Cognitive Therapy?
Cognitive therapy was developed by Aaron T. Beck, a psychiatrist, in the 1960s. CT is widely considered to be effective, and its widespread and long-standing use in therapy and counselling proves this.
CT operates on the fact that a person’s thoughts, emotions, and behavior are all connected. What affects one aspect can also affect others. As such, CT brings about results by seeking to address these aspects of a person’s life. It seeks to modify a person’s cognition to bring about change. Unlike other forms of psychotherapy, cognitive therapy focuses on the modification of harmful thoughts/behavior for a person’s betterment.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is a similar form of therapy, adding behaviour patterns to the mix and giving a dual focus on changing thought patterns and behaviour patterns. What both have in common, among many other things, is that they emphasize action as the central means of getting better.
What Issues Can Cognitive Therapy Address?
Cognitive therapy has seen widespread use in recent years. It is mostly because this method is safe and effective. Most importantly, it can be used for addressing a variety of issues in an efficient manner.
Some of the applications of cognitive therapy are the following:
- Image issues: CT helps people with image and self-confidence problems address the underlying issues.
- Self-destructive and harmful behavior: Some people take actions that are detrimental to many different health factors. These actions have adverse effects on mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Unfortunately, not everyone can control these actions. Cognitive therapy seeks to modify thoughts and behaviors related to these.
- Negative thoughts: The presence of negative thoughts is normal for everyone. However, some people are not able to control or regulate the negativity. Cognitive therapy is a suitable method for addressing these problems.
- Psychological disorders: Cognitive therapy has also been proven to be able to address different mental disorders. In most cases, CT goes directly to the root of the problem to bring about change. Some psychological disorders addressed by CT include depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD and schizophrenia, among others.
- Addiction: Many things in life can be harmful if done or taken in excess. It is the primary reason why addiction affects people negatively. This issue is one of the problems that cognitive therapy is designed to solve.
- Substance abuse: Some people resort to unhealthy ways of addressing problems and issues. One of these ways involves substance use and abuse. Substance abuse leads to further complications. As such, it is crucial to address this issue to stop further problems from occurring. Cognitive therapy is a method that is capable of doing so.
The way that cognitive therapy is designed makes sure that harmful thoughts and behaviors are properly accounted for. That is why this form of psychotherapy is effective at identifying and modifying these issues.
How Does Cognitive Therapy Address the Heart of the Matter?
We mentioned earlier that cognitive therapy operates on the assumption that thoughts, emotions, and behavior are connected. Therefore, modifying any of these things can bring about change in a person.
CT is specifically designed to identify and address any problems in these aspects of a person’s life. The way that it can bring about change may involve the following steps:
- Identify problems: Firstly, a therapist will help a person identify the problem areas that need to be addressed.
- Assessment and awareness: After pinpointing problem areas, an assessment follows. The therapist will help in assessing how the issues impact a person’s life negatively. The therapist will also help the person seeking counsel in reaching acceptance. It is mostly accepting the fact that these problems are real and have real impacts.
- Response assessment: How a person responds to issues, problems, and negativity is essential. Doing so can help identify the healthy ways of addressing the issues.
- Modification of behavior: What follows is the modification of the problematic aspects. With these said, it would make sense that modifying one aspect can also change the other aspects. CT helps the patient seek out and alter negative thoughts, emotions, and behavior that contribute to the problem.
- Addressing the future: The way that cognitive therapy is designed helps equip people with skills. The skills granted by CT can help a person deal with future issues on their own.
Therapists trained in cognitive therapy can help bring about change. Of course, this is not possible with the therapist’s efforts alone. The individual undergoing cognitive therapy must also be responsive to the methods involved.
How Is Cognitive Therapy a “Life Hack” to Well-Being?
Cognitive therapy has been used for many years because it is effective and shows results within a relatively short period of time. Some psychologists see CT as a “shortcut” to well-being. It is not, however, a cheating sort of shortcut. Instead, cognitive therapy is seen as more of a “life hack” – since it is effective and time-efficient. Some of the benefits that cognitive therapy has over other methods are the following:
1. It takes less time
Compared to the other forms of psychotherapy, cognitive therapy usually takes much less time to take effect. Results can even be seen and felt in as little as a few weeks. Besides, typical cognitive therapy cycles usually require a shorter amount of time, depending on the therapist.
2. It’s a healthy way of addressing issues
There are many ways of addressing personal issues. Many of these ways are unhealthy and can lead to many other complications down the line. Cognitive therapy, however, is not one of these. On the contrary, it can bring about changes without compromising one’s well-being. Cognitive therapy does not involve anything that can bring about harm.
3. It helps address problems actively
Cognitive therapy does not use methods that waste any time and effort. Instead, its steps involve seeking out solutions that can properly address a person’s problems. It encourages a person to look for ways to bring about positive change in a healthy way. Its methods are hands-on and involve actively weeding out negativity and replacing them with positive thoughts & behaviour.
4. It goes directly to the root of the problem
Cognitive therapy involves identifying negative thoughts and changing them to positively affect behavior. It shows that cognitive therapy’s methods go directly to the root of the problem to address them. It’s essential since many problems can lead to further complications down the line. Therefore, solving the problem at its source can prevent these complications from ever occurring.
Furthermore, the way that cognitive therapy addresses the problem’s root is efficient. It involves the modification of negative thoughts and behaviors into ones that are beneficial in the long run.
5. It brings about many positive changes in a person
The active manner by which cognitive therapy brings about changes is advantageous to a person’s well-being. Many positive changes become apparent with successful cognitive therapy. Some of these include:
- Negative thoughts and their impacts are reduced
- A person learns how to manage negative thoughts and emotions
- Behaviors that compromise well-being are minimized
- CT trains a person to identify and actively modify the things that can do harm
- Positivity can become a habit
These changes, however, are only possible with the combined effort of both counselor and client.
6. It helps “rewire” a person better for addressing future issues
Cognitive therapy helps equip a person with skills that can help with well-being in the long run. That means that any future issues can become much easier to deal with. More importantly, those that undergo cognitive therapy become better equipped for helping themselves.
7. It achieves results with minimal risk involved
Finally, cognitive therapy’s methods are very low-risk. It helps achieve results without posing harm to whoever is undergoing therapy. That’s important, especially since people in sensitive situations may be more susceptible to emotional or physical harm. These risks are negligible with the use of cognitive therapy.
Use a Life Hack to Make Sure That You Are Your Best Self.
Cognitive therapy is that life hack to make sure that your well-being is accounted for. Its methods are scientifically proven to positively bring about change. See a licensed therapist if you want to take that shortcut to well-being.
Capital Choice Counseling has been serving Ottawa since 2006. We have therapists who are well trained and experienced in cognitive therapy as well as other forms of psychotherapy. We also have a range of other services that can bring about positive changes in your life if you need help.