What Are The Main Applications Of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

What are the main applications of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a psychological treatment that makes it possible to address a wide range of mental problems and disorders. Furthermore, it achieves this with strong scientific evidence as support, according to the latest publications of the American Psychological Association (APA).

The interventions applied in this psychotherapeutic treatment are based on the principles of the cognitive paradigm, which in turn has roots in behavioral psychology, so the conclusions on which it is based arise from the experimental method, keeping in mind human and the processes that occur in it as an object of study. With this in mind, in this article We will see what cognitive-behavioral therapy consists of and what its main applications are in practice.

The premise of cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the premise that the way we behave is largely determined by our emotions; these, likewise, by our thoughts. People can have irrational thoughts, distorted with respect to reality, and this can be due to various reasons – whether due to difficult past experiences, the environment in which we grew up or other factors that are difficult to discern – that can lead us to judge and interpret the facts in such a way that they cause us great amounts of suffering.

Besides, We can have biased or distorted beliefs that filter information in a certain way and not another, and that they are imposed on us as absolute and unquestionable rules that we have to abide by through our behaviors. The main objective of cognitive-behavioral treatment is for the person, with the help of their therapist, to record and question their maladaptive thoughts and then replace them with more useful ones, but how is this process carried out?

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The components of treatment with cognitive-behavioral therapy

As I mentioned just now, cognitive-behavioral therapy places great importance on recording one’s own thoughts as a starting point, since how we think is how we will later feel and, consequently, that will determine the way in which we will act when faced with problems. challenging situations later.

From this approach it is understood that the concepts and beliefs from which people interpret the events of the world—both internal and external—are concatenated and organized in cognitive schemes. These refer to the systems of relatively stable relationships between concepts, learning and beliefs that are particular to each subject. We could say that they are the recurring paths along which our ideas tend to travel, with the aim of relating to each other. The problem with this is that, if we have certain biased or distorted beliefs about reality, this could lead us to develop and relate irrational or blurred thoughts and interpretations to what is really happening.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy recognizes that much of our suffering could be based on this human particularity, as well as anxiety, depression and a wide range of mental disorders. For this reason, broadly speaking, the objective of many cognitive treatments is cognitive restructuring, that is, the process through which the person achieves change your dysfunctional thoughts while these are the ones that cause the discomfort. To do this, the first step is for the person to recognize them. Then, the therapist contributes through techniques and interventions to the subject actively questioning the veracity of his automatic evaluations. This will allow him to take stock of how wrong his thoughts might be.

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For example, the person might realize that their interpretations about a certain event—such as “I am a failure and will fail the next exam” because of a correction a college professor gave them—are nothing more than biased interpretations, since They might tend to overestimate the possibility of doing poorly on the next exam or catastrophize that hypothetical result (under the reasoning of “if that happens, I won’t be able to cope”).

Some techniques used to challenge erroneous interpretations of an event—which some authors often call “traps”—are Socratic dialogue or the downward arrow technique. Finally, the therapist who works from this model will encourage the process of cognitive reevaluation to take place, allowing the patient to develop new, more adaptive interpretations that lead to greater well-being.

The problems to which cognitive-behavioral therapy can be applied

Taking into account what has been developed, it is evident why cognitive-behavioral therapy is so powerful. In fact, it is proven that It may even be more effective than many pharmacological treatments and without risks or side effects for some disorders. As if that were not enough, the applications of this treatment are useful for multiple problems. Here we list the main ones:

In short, cognitive-behavioral therapy is a safe way for the patient to reduce the discomfort they experience in their lives due to a wide range of problems. This treatment has many benefits, such as its brevity compared to other treatments, its focus on the patient’s present, and the possibility of sustaining long-term results. Of course, the patient is required to have an active position, since tasks will be proposed to do outside the consultation, but improvement is a great reward.