Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (General Overview)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (General Overview)
Authored by: Christiana Louisa Ticoalu, M.A., Psychology & Management
Language Editor: Alda Belinda, S. Psi.
Clinical Editor: Dr. phil. Edo S. Jaya, M.Psi., Psikolog
Science lends credence to the fact that many individuals struggling with psychological conditions hold negatively-distorted views of themselves, others in the world, and even the unfolding of future events. Moreover, it is theorized that maladaptive thoughts, emotions and behaviours exist in a mutually reinforcing cycle. To address the perpetuation of psychological distress and behavioural problems, this cycle must be interrupted.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a term that refers to an array of interventions that fall under a canopy of integrated cognitive-focused, behavioural-focused and emotional-focused interventions. A time-sensitive psychotherapeutic approach, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is considered an efficacious “first line” treatment for numerous psychological conditions. Furthermore, it is arguably the “golden standard” of psychotherapeutic treatment.
How does it work?
Generally, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy imparts cognitive techniques to the patient that will assist them in the various aspects of identifying, examining the veracity of, and correcting dysfunctional beliefs. Furthermore, the treatment seeks to elicit alternative appraisals to circumstances and challenge automatic maladaptive assumptions. In essence, from a theoretical standpoint, this intervention aims to correct core beliefs, facilitate emotional regulation, and alter maladaptive or detrimental behavioural patterns.
CBT may be carried out 1-on-1 or in group settings. Whilst numerous specific treatment protocols have been developed to address different cognitions and behaviours; these interventions share several components. In general, patients become active participants and engage in cognitive restructuring, behavioural experiments, and problem-solving that tests the veracity of their maladaptive cognitions
Tailored Treatment Plans
At IndoPsyCare, we formulate treatment plans on a case-by-case basis. Contingent upon your condition and situation, your therapeutic journey may or may not include a variation of the following components:
Your therapist may administer assessments at various points throughout your therapeutic journey. This is done as a way of assessing your improvements and thus the effectiveness of the treatment plan.
IndoPsyCare seeks to provide you with an understanding of your symptoms in the context in which they occur. Your therapist will aim to provide you with a clear understanding of your condition and explain its nature, symptoms and prevalence. Furthermore, your clinician will likely provide you with an understanding of the relationship between your thoughts, emotions and behaviours.
Moreover, psychoeducation seeks to enhance your understanding of the rationale behind your therapy and its various components. Your therapist may help you feel more at ease by increasing your awareness of different treatment strategies, why they are undertaken, and how they are important aspects of your roadmap to recovery.
The identification of problems
Where possible, you and your therapist might collaboratively discuss problems you seek to target through cognitive behavioural therapy. This phase may include increasing awareness of your thoughts, emotions, beliefs and behaviours that originate from, or are maintained by, these issues. You may reflect upon your experiences, sharing your interpretation of different situations and their ensuing reactions.
In order to increase awareness and initiate a timely recognition of thought processes that might perpetuate your condition, you and your therapist may discuss the relative cognitive, behavioural, physiological and emotional responses to a range of situations.
Addressing and correcting inaccurate thought patterns
You and your therapist may address maladaptive thought processes and behaviours whilst endeavouring to initiate both thought and behavioural change.
During this phase, your therapist will aim to help you identify and evaluate your incorrect or maladaptive thoughts, perceptions and beliefs. Further, our clinicians may help you identify possible cognitive errors that underpin and perpetuate their maintenance. During this stage, your therapist will likely assist you to generate less harmful alternative explanations for your beliefs. They may assist you in your ability to find evidence, either in favour of or against, different alternative explanations.
Considered “active ingredients” of CBT, behavioural experiments are often implemented in cognitive behavioural therapy as a method that activates cognitions and behaviours to uncover underlying beliefs and preconceptions. The technique allows therapists to identify safety-seeking behaviours that you may not be aware of or behaviours or beliefs that are only situationally activated.
Optional modules for specific conditions and comorbidities
IndoPsyCare offers optional modules for specific issues. For instance, treatment of those with body dysmorphic disorder may integrate an Exposure and Response (Ritual) prevention module, the treatment of borderline personality disorder may involve the integration of principles from Dialectical Behavioural Therapy. For the treatment of depression. Similarly, the treatment for depression may involve the implementation of Behavioural Activation.
During this phase, your therapist will seek to reinforce your understanding of the strategies you have learned, including when and how they should be implemented. Furthermore, you will likely be taught to recognize your own personal warning signs. It is essential that you understand these warnings so you can seek timely assistance from your therapist who will re-address your recovery treatment plan.
Key Features of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Pragmatism: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy aids in the identification of problems and the ways through which they may be addressed
- Structure: The patient and therapist collaboratively identify the problematic cognitions and behaviours that they seek to address
- Collaboration: The therapist typically works alongside the patient to find solutions to the difficulties they are currently confronted with.
- An emphasis on current issues: Whilst knowledge of the patient’s past may inform treatment, this intervention is typically concerned with the issues a patient is currently enduring.
How many sessions will I need?
Our psychologists base your treatment plan upon scientific literature and recommendations from bodies such as the Cochrane Library, the UK’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and IPK Indonesia’s National Clinical Practice Guidelines.
The number of sessions you require will typically be influenced by:
- The specific disorder you are experiencing
- The severity of your symptoms
- Existing comorbidities (co-existing conditions)
- The length of time you have been experiencing your condition
- Your personal motivation and progress
- Your social support network
Making the Most of Therapy
Asking for help is commendable
Asking for help is understandably difficult, thus reaching out is a testament to the strength of each individual who does so. A call for help should never be seen as a sign of weakness, as it is the first step in your journey to recovery. Although sometimes uncomfortable, sharing your vulnerabilities with the right people may provide an appropriate, timely, and forthright avenue through which your problems can be assessed and addressed.
Be open and honest
Think of therapy as a journey in which you are steering the ship; your therapist is your guide, navigating the journey based on your word. Reaching your desired destination and goals will be acquired with more proficiency when you share your feelings and fears. As your therapist acquires a clearer understanding of the intricacies of your situation, he or she will be in a better position to guide you in the right direction.
You will not see change overnight. True, lasting, cognitive and behavioural change takes time. Therapy is not a “quick fix”, rather it requires patience, consistency and tenacity on your part. Allow yourself time, communicate with your therapist, and share your feelings if you feel you are losing sight of your destination.
Trust the process
More often than not, improving your condition requires you to go beyond your comfort zone, letting go of your maladaptive coping strategies. Trust that, whilst this process may inevitably become uncomfortable or difficult at times, temporary discomfort may bring long-term and lasting benefits.
A Gentle Reminder
We sincerely appreciate your dedication; you have made it through this page of our library. We trust that you have gleaned valuable information from this page. Before we part ways we would like to reiterate that each treatment plan will be uniquely tailored to you, your situation and your requirements. Your personal treatment plan may or may not include the elements on this page.
If you feel as though you require professional assistance, please refrain from self-diagnosis. IndoPsyCare has professionals who are here to help.
Resources and Recommended Readings
We would like to emphasize that the information presented herein was derived from external sources. IndoPsyCare does not claim ownership of any information or research within these pages. For your convenience, our team has constructed a list of the sources utilized and included further reading.
American Psychiatric Association. (2022). What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?. Retrieved 3 July 2022, from https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/cognitive-behavioral
David, D., Cristea, I., & Hofmann, S. (2018). Why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Is the Current Gold Standard of Psychotherapy. Frontiers In Psychiatry, 9. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00004