Thoughts keep you up at night. It’s like clockwork. You set your alarms, check to make sure your phone isn’t on silent or vibrate, and crawl under the covers. You roll over and shut your eyes.
The next step for most people usually consists of counting sheep or shutting their eyes and drifting off to a peaceful slumber. If only you were so lucky.
Thoughts fill your head instead. It feels like there’s not enough room for all of the thoughts that are spiraling around. You’re not only thinking about every event and interaction you had during your day, but you’re also thinking about past events and things that haven’t even taken place yet in the future.
Your heartbeat quickens. You’re antsy and restless. Your eyes shoot open. Anxious? Here’s how CBT can help!
What is CBT?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a common type of talk therapy that is used to help manage problems by changing the way that a client behaves and thinks. Anxiety and depression are the two most common mental health conditions that are treated with the help of this form of therapy.
How CBT Works
The basis of CBT is that your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations are all connected. The concept is that because everything is connected, it makes it harder to let go of negative thoughts and feelings. This can leave individuals, especially those dealing with mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, feeling trapped with no escape or means to an end.
During a CBT session, a therapist will work with you to break down your problems into smaller, more manageable parts. They’ll help you change your perspective to change the way you think and feel about these events.
Benefits of CBT
With any form of therapy, the benefits will vary from person to person.
One of the main benefits of CBT is that improvements can be seen in a short amount of time. It’s highly structured, which means that it can be done in many different ways depending on your therapy style preference. Clients will have the option to choose from in-person or online, individual or group, or even self-help booklets.
Instead of focusing on problems from your past like other forms of talk therapy, CBT focuses on your current problems so that you can work to improve your present thoughts and feelings. Individuals will be taught strategies that can help them while they’re in treatment, as well as after the treatment has ended.
What a CBT Session Looks Like
CBT therapy first starts with an initial consultation with a therapist to determine if CBT is the right treatment option for you. After that, you’ll have a CBT session once a week or once every two weeks.
During a CBT session, you and your therapist will work together to break down any of the problems you’re experiencing into smaller chunks in order for you to better manage and process them. Your therapist will help you change any unwanted or negative thoughts and behaviors associated with some of these events. After you are able to implement the change during the session, your therapist will ask you to practice the change in your daily life and routine. In your next CBT session, you’ll discuss how you were able to implement the changes.
Everyone experience anxiety from time to time. If your anxiety is getting in the way of your day-to-day life, it may be time to reach out for additional support.
About the author(s)
Karen is the founder and Clinical Director of Cohesive Therapy NYC. She earned a Masters in Social Work from New York University and has extensive training in Hypnosis, Anxiety, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Brainspotting, and DGBI. She is a member of the Institute of Certified Anxiety Treatment Professionals, The Rome Foundation, the National Association of Social Workers, The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, and the American Social of Clinical Hypnosis.