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What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? How does it work?

Patient receiving Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The way people process and react to emotions, feelings, experiences and situations is known as behavior. You may have noticed that people react to particular situations in different ways, which is the basis for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Let’s see how.


At its core, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps the expert understand the relationship between your cognitive processes  — the way you think about situations and people, your beliefs and attitude — and your reactions and behavior.

Put simply, CBT is a tool to understand how your thoughts, feelings and beliefs affect your behavior.

What is the scope of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

CBT is a type of psychotherapy that helps you control and overcome issues such as the following:

  • Sleep disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Phobias
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • PTSD
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Sexual disorders

CBT is not, however, limited to people with a mental condition; it also can serve as a useful tool to manage and channel emotions, to relieve stress, and to gain greater awareness of behavioral patterns and what affects you.

Typically, you would work in a structured manner in tandem with a mental health counselor for a few days. The counselor would help you identify inaccurate or negative thinking patterns and trigger points so that you will look at challenging situations more clearly and respond to them positively and effectively.


What is Talking Therapy?

Talking Therapy, an alternate form of CBT, involves an open conversation, a listening session with an expert who hears your experiences, your feelings and your struggles and helps you modify your behavior to feel better in dealing with the following challenges:

  • Managing symptoms of mental illness
  • Coping with stressful life situations and managing emotions in different ways
  • Resolving interpersonal conflicts and exploring better ways to communicate
  • Coping with grief or loss
  • Overcoming emotional trauma caused by abuse or violence

When should you approach a therapist?

It is only human to feel sad, hurt, disheartened or hopeless at some point in life, but these feelings are not supposed to overpower you or stick around long enough to interfere with routine functioning. If they do, you should not delay in meeting with a counselor. Among the signs and symptoms that suggest you should book an appointment are the following:

  • Lack of interest or motivation to perform routine tasks
  • Sleeping too much or not at all
  • Uncontrollable anger issues
  • Loss of appetite

At Don Valley Health and Wellness Center, we have an experienced and compassionate team of doctors and therapists who would be glad to help you overcome your fears and struggles and get back on track to leading a happy and healthy life.  For more information about counseling and psychotherapy, feel free to reach out to us.