What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT | Client centered online therapy & mental health care from a certified trauma therapist in Denver, Colorado. EMDR therapy, CBT, Brainspotting, DBT, CBT | MichelleDunnCounseling.net

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a widely known form of talk therapy. It was developed in the 1960’s by Aaron Beck. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps you learn how to identify and change unhelpful thought patterns that are influencing your emotions or behaviors. Through CBT these thoughts are identified, challenged, and replaced with more helpful realistic thought patterns.


CBT can be useful to treat:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fears/phobias
  • Trauma
  • Stressful life situations
  • Low self esteem
  • Life transitions
  • Sleep disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Substance use disorders
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sexual disorders

CBT Theory

  • CBT is based off the theory that your thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and behaviors are all connected.
  • What you think and do affects the way you feel.
  • A familiar model connected to CBT you may have seen:
    • Situation; Thoughts; feelings; body sensations; behaviors.
  • According to the American Psychological Association, the core concepts of CBT include:
    • Psychological issues are partly based on unhelpful ways of thinking
    • Psychological issues are partly based on learned patterns of behavior
    • Those living with these issues can improve with better coping mechanisms and management to help relieve their symptoms
    • CBT treatment is focused on changing thought patterns. This can include:
      • Learning what unhelpful thought patterns are triggering symptoms
      • Utilization of problem-solving skills
      • Learning skills to challenge unhelpful thought patterns.
      • Learning what motivates yours and others’ behaviors.
    • CBT treatment also focuses on changing your behavioral patterns. This can include:
    • Not avoiding the fear or phobia
    • Role play techniques to help prepare for potentially difficult interactions
    • Mindfulness tools
    • Behavioral activation tools.
    • Activity scheduling

CBT techniques that may be used:

  • Thought records
  • Journaling
  • Cognitive restructuring
  • Exposure therapy
  • CBT uses exercises in session but also assigns homework outside of sessions to help learn these skills and apply them in everyday life. CBT focuses on the present symptoms instead of what has led up to the difficulties.

If you came in with the following concern:

  • Situation: you are looking for jobs online
  • Thoughts: This is pointless, I am never going to find a job
  • Feelings: Hopeless, frustrated, anxiety
  • Body sensations: upset stomach, fist clenching
  • Behavior: punch the computer and go play a video game.
  • You and the therapist will work to recognize cognitive distortions in this scenario, how to change them to more helpful thought patterns, and in return this is going to change the feelings, body sensations, and ending behavior as well.
  • Situation: You are looking for jobs online
  • Thoughts: I am qualified and will find a job.
  • Feelings: Hopeful
  • Body sensations: relaxed muscles
  • Behavior: staying focused and continue to apply for jobs
Ready to begin healing?

Find out if CBT is right for you.

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