Ever since the first successful experiment involving Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was carried out in the 60s by Dr. Aaron Beck of the University of Pennsylvania, more and more people are turning to this therapy technique to help minimize any negative mental health issues they may currently be facing.
CBT originated from a combination of cognitive therapy psychological practices and behaviorism, with the sole aim to help patients navigate negative thoughts and the personal challenges that are associated with them.
How does CBT work?
CBT is based on the concept that all your thoughts, actions and feelings are interconnected and helps patients who have got entrapped in their vicious cycle by breaking down their problems into smaller parts in a more positive way.
A CBT treatment plan usually revolves around each patient differently, depending on their strengths and weaknesses, while also setting goals for the future.
According to this Harvard University article, twelve to twenty sessions are the norm for maximum benefit for treating those with anxiety and depression, but this can vary from patient to patient and the final decision of the supporting clinician.
In comparison, other forms of therapy treatment can last months or even years of regular sessions to witness any result. CBT, in turn, is usually quicker.
What are the benefits of CBT?
When it comes to treating mental health conditions, CBT has been found to be more effective than other forms of therapy. Here are some of the firmly established benefits:
1: Effective in real-life situations:
A significant advantage of the effectiveness of CBT is its applicability to real-life situations in encouraging patients to practice medical intervention through easily accessible virtual therapy platforms. It is inexpensive and the overall treatment regime can last just six one hour sessions for mild cases.
An assigned CBT therapist can advise the patient on meditation, reflective exercises, and a wide range of similar activities that they can complete, even while they are on the go using their tablet or smartphone through its 24×7 flexibility.
Numerous studies have shown CBT is equally as effective when performed in an online setting and not face-to-face with a therapist. Furthermore, according to bestonlinetherapy.com, patients can save as much as 50% on their weekly sessions. Many online platforms, such as Sondermind for example, also offer DIY tools to complement the virtual sessions.
2: CBT can address both physical and mental health:
There is enough evidence to suggest that CBT is not only effective for mental health struggles but to treat physical health as well. Issues like heart disease, diabetes, headaches, insomnia and chronic pain, including joint pain respond well when treated with CBT.
There is also a lot of promise in using the science of CBT to cater to the needs of specific population groups, like ethnic minorities or young people, apart from focusing on strong emotions such as anger and envy.
3: Treatment of anxiety and depression:
When we talk of effectiveness, the data is very clear. A systematic review published by Digital Medicine revealed that using CBT cut anxiety and depression symptoms in half and remained so even after a year after the beginning of the treatment.
Additionally, the study found that not only were the recovery rates high, but they were also in line with 1:1 therapy. As a result, these findings are encouraging patients by providing a one-stop solution to the mental health crisis all age groups are currently facing.
By exposing more people who are in want of mental health treatment to CBT solutions, we can improve the outcome of overall health and as a result, see a decline in the rates of mental health conditions.
4: Very minimal risks are involved:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy being a non-invasive form of treatment, the method itself has few risks associated with it. Moreover, the treatment plan of CBT does not cause physical harm and pose little risk to the patient when identifying negative thoughts.
Since CBT addresses negative emotions and fears, there could be temporary periods of aggravated stress, but are resolved soon after as the solutions follow. Some instances when temporary distress can occur are:
- Addressing anxiety and panic
- Recalling past experiences that have led to Post-traumatic stress disorders
- Being exposed to one’s phobia
5: Provides patients with a positive outlook on life:
Patients have reported more self-awareness after completing an entire course of CBT treatment. This thought process usually revolves around being in sync with one’s emotions and motivations. Increased self-awareness is seen as a positive trait that leads to a better understanding of oneself.
This increased understanding of the person allows one to be better prepared for more stressful situations and react accordingly. Further, after treatment under a trained therapist, patients gain a positive outlook toward life by weaning out destructive thoughts and replacing them with positive ones.
6: In a nutshell:
CBT is beneficial not only for the person enduring it, but also for families and friends. Moreover:
- CBT is very affordable and can also be taken in groups
- CBT requires much lesser time than other therapies and treatment options
- The chances of relapse are lower when compared with other therapies
- CBT treatment yields far better results when compared to consuming antidepressants
- Scope and scale of CBT can be applied to everyday activities
- CBT treatment allows a person to stay calm and collected in stressful situations
- CBT improves negative mental health conditions and raises confidence and self-esteem.
- Being highly flexible, CBT therapy can be availed as an individual or in a group
- Mental disorders that may improve with CBT include phobia, PTSD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Substance use disorders, bipolar disorders, Schizophrenia and sexual issues.
To conclude, the highly effective talking therapy of CBT is good in a range of applications. While CBT may not be effective for those with severe mental disorders or those associated with learning difficulties, the form of therapy is great for helping people to understand that they can easily change their lives by simply altering their thought process.