One of your best friends feels that he fails at everything he does and that his life isn’t worth living. When you suggest that he talk to a psychotherapist, your friend responds, “Talking won’t help. The more I talk about myself, the more I think about my problems. The more I think about my problems, the more depressed I get. ” Explain why your friend’s comment illustrates his need for cognitive therapy. What procedures would a cognitive therapist use to help your friend overcome his negative feelings?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps patients understand the thoughts and feelings that influence behaviors. This type of treatment is used to treat a wide range of disorders which include phobias, addiction, depression and anxiety. This type of treatment is generally short-term and focused on helping clients deal with a very specific problem. During the course of treatment, people learn how to identify and change destructive or disturbing thought patterns that have a negative influence on behavior.
Since my friend is suffering from low self-esteem and experiencing negative thoughts about his life, to combat these destructive thoughts and behaviors a cognitive behavioral therapist will begin by helping him to identify his problematic beliefs. This stage, known as functional analysis, is important for learning how thoughts, feelings, and situations can contribute to maladaptive behaviors. The process can be difficult, especially for patients who struggle with introspection, but it can ultimately lead to self-discovery and insights that are an essential part of the treatment process.
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The second part of cognitive behavior therapy focuses on the actual behaviors that are contributing to his problem. My friend will begin to learn and practice new skills that can then be put into use in real-world situations. For example, a person suffering from drug addiction might start practicing new coping skills and rehearsing ways to avoid or deal with social situations that could potentially trigger a relapse. In most cases, CBT is a gradual process that helps a person take incremental steps towards a behavior change. Next, my friend might start practicing conversations with friends, family and acquaintances.
By progressively working toward a larger goal, the process seems less daunting and goals easier to achieve. Of course, in order for CBT to be effective, my fiend must be ready and willing to spend time and effort analyzing his thoughts and feelings. Such self-analysis can be difficult, but it is a great way to learn more about how internal states impact outward behavior. The treatment does not necessarily involve pharmacological medication. One of the greatest benefits of cognitive-behavior therapy is that it helps clients develop coping skills that can be useful both now and in the future.