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  • Writer's pictureKara Kohnen

What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)?

We often get requests and referrals for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)! What is CBT and why do people recommend it? At Grow Through Life Counseling, we are trained in CBT as well as other modalities. CBT provides excellent evidence based tools in therapy.


CBT is a widely practiced and evidence-based form of psychotherapy that focuses on identifying and modifying negative thought patterns and behaviors to promote emotional well-being and mental wellness. In this blog, we will delve into the core principles of CBT and its potential to transform lives.


Understanding the Basics:

At its core, CBT operates on the understanding that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are interconnected. It posits that distorted thinking patterns and maladaptive behaviors contribute to emotional distress. By targeting and altering these patterns, CBT aims to empower individuals to develop healthier ways of thinking and responding to life's challenges.


Collaborative Approach:

CBT is characterized by a collaborative relationship between the therapist and the individual seeking treatment. Through open dialogue, the therapist helps the individual gain insight into their thoughts and beliefs. By examining the evidence supporting or challenging these beliefs, individuals can reframe their perspectives and develop more balanced thinking patterns.


Identifying Cognitive Distortions:

CBT emphasizes the identification and restructuring of cognitive distortions—unhelpful thinking patterns that contribute to emotional difficulties. Common cognitive distortions include all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, catastrophizing, and personalization. By recognizing and challenging these distortions, individuals can replace them with more rational and constructive thoughts.




Behavioral Activation:

In addition to addressing cognitive distortions, CBT also incorporates behavioral activation. This aspect focuses on identifying and modifying behaviors that reinforce negative thoughts and emotions. By engaging in activities that bring a sense of fulfillment and joy, individuals can experience positive changes in their overall well-being.


Evidence-Based Practice:

CBT is well-supported by scientific research, with numerous studies highlighting its effectiveness in treating various mental health conditions. It has been proven to be particularly beneficial for anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Moreover, CBT techniques can also be applied to address relationship issues, stress management, and self-esteem concerns.


CBT Techniques:

CBT employs a range of techniques to help individuals navigate their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. These may include:


1. Thought Records: Keeping a record of thoughts and challenging them with evidence-based reasoning.

2. Behavioral Experiments: Testing out new behaviors or thoughts to assess their impact and challenge old beliefs.

3. Exposure Therapy: Gradually exposing individuals to anxiety-provoking situations to reduce avoidance and fear.

4. Relaxation Techniques: Employing relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, to manage stress and anxiety.


Empowering Self-Help:

One of the strengths of CBT lies in its emphasis on empowering individuals with self-help tools and strategies. By equipping individuals with CBT techniques, they can continue to apply them in their daily lives long after therapy has ended. This promotes self-reliance and fosters a sense of control over their mental well-being.



Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a transformative approach that offers practical and effective strategies for managing and overcoming emotional difficulties. By challenging distorted thinking patterns and modifying maladaptive behaviors, individuals can experience profound improvements in their mental health and overall quality of life. Whether used in individual therapy or as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, CBT continues to be a valuable resource for those seeking positive change and personal growth.


While CBT is a powerful modality, it's also important our therapists craft a custom treatment plans for you or your family members unique needs. An overcommitment to one therapeutic approach can actually be limiting and may not be appropriate for all patients. For more information or to book an appointment 619-549-0329 ext 0. For more information about our practice www.growthroughlifecounseling.com






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