Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Plain Language Summary: Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based therapy that helps with a variety of mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, and even substance use. CBT is one of the more common therapies used by therapists and it also helps people with developmental disabilities.

You can receive CBT from a therapist or within a group therapy setting. A therapist who uses CBT will help you understand how your thoughts, feelings, and actions all influence each other. For example, if you are feeling anxious (feeling) while thinking you will mess us your speech (thought), you may be more likely to try to get out of giving the speech (action). In this situation, a CBT therapist will help you change your thought to hopefully reduce your feeling of anxiety so you can successfully give your speech. CBT also helps to challenge people’s negative beliefs about themselves. For example, if someone believes that they are unlovable, then they may be more likely to have feelings of sadness and isolate themselves from others.

CBT often involves writing down negative thoughts or feelings to help you understand how they may influence your behavior. A CBT therapist will also help you identify if there are any repeating errors in your thinking. For example, if you tend to believe that you’ll always fail, they may work with you on challenging that belief. CBT also often involves homework and practice assignments for you to practice these skills.

As with any therapy relationship, you’ll spend some time getting to know your therapist and making sure they’re a good fit for you. You are always welcome to bring a trusted friend or family member if you prefer.

To learn more, read the MHDD fact sheet on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

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