What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Category: News

Therapy can be a very helpful tool to promote healing and help people deal with all types of health issues. Depending on the issue, treatments can target unbeneficial habits and allow for a better quality of life. One of these practices is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Recent research1 has shown that cognitive behavior therapy is considered extremely helpful in treating a range of issues. Significant improvements in functioning and quality of life have been the result of CBT and, in many cases, is more effective2 than medication in treating mild to moderate issues.

elderly woman doing cbt therapy by writing in a journal

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Definition

According to Mayo Clinic3, cognitive behavioral therapy can help people change harmful thought patterns, attitudes, or behavior that negatively affect the quality of life. It is a short-term therapy technique to help people deal with stress, grief, complicated relationships, emotions, and behavior. It is also helpful for treating more acute issues such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or eating disorders.

Through cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, harmful automatic thoughts and reactions are retrained to better deal with problems and cope with daily life.

Are you considering behavioral therapy for a loved one? Contact Haven Health today to learn how we help our residents thrive.

What Principle Underlies Cognitive Behavior Therapy?

CBT techniques ultimately focus on the belief that problems can result from unhelpful, faulty thought patterns or learned behavior patterns4. It also focuses on the principle that people can learn new ways of thinking and be better able to handle triggers or emotions when encountered.

These learned behaviors are often due to experiences in our lives. These are thoughts, reactions, or core beliefs that we have learned from our environment which often come from other people or events.

Once these patterns get engrained, they can be difficult to identify or change. An objective perspective, such as a therapist offers, can help target faulty thought patterns and work to replace them with new, helpful habits.

assisted living patient in cognitive behavior therapy with her husband

Why Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Done?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help with an extensive range of concerns. It is specifically geared to meet a client’s unique needs, which can vary significantly from person to person. Treatment works as a stand-alone option for healing or in conjunction with medication or other therapy for more severe disorders.

1. Emotion and Behavior

Cognitive-behavioral therapy may be used on its own to help deal with:

  • Social Situations
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Grief
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Assertiveness
  • Managing/preventing mental illness relapse

2. Disorders

In more severe cases, cognitive behavioral therapy may be beneficial to use in conjunction with medication or other treatments to address disorders such as:

  • Eating Disorder
  • Addiction
  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Sleep Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive-compulsive Disorder
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Chronic Pain
  • Schizophrenia

Looking for compassionate care for a loved one? Contact our behavioral therapy specialists today to see how we can give you the support you need.

What Are Common Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Exercises?

Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT therapists utilize different types of therapy to change some of the destructive thought patterns and habits that can cripple daily life for improved mental health. Cognitive behavioral therapy examples may include these treatments:

  1. Cognitive restructuring – Identifying negative thought patterns, reactions to specific situations, and reframing negative thoughts to be more positive
  2. Guided discovery – A therapist asks questions that reveal your perspective, challenges unhelpful thought patterns, and provide new ways to view situations
  3. Exposure therapy – A therapist slowly exposes the client to the things that cause anxiety or fear and then walks the client through a coping process
  4. Journaling – Writing to track thought records, emotions, and self-monitor
  5. Activity scheduling – Putting an activity down on a cognitive behavioral therapy worksheet or calendar that’s been routinely avoided and creating a plan to follow through and get it done
  6. Behavioral experiments – Tries to reframe catastrophic thinking
  7. Relaxation techniques – Deep breathing, visualization, mindfulness meditation, relaxation
  8. Role-playing – Work through specific situations causing anxiety and bodily sensations, and practice what to say and how to react
  9. Successive approximation – Reinforcing behavior that resembles the desired response to turn an overwhelming task into small, manageable steps

What Are the Steps Involved in CBT?

Every therapist, therapist aid, and patient is different, as are the needs of family members. While the therapy process is unique to each situation, general guidelines are followed for recovery. Treatment may include in some form or another:

  • Identifying problems in daily life
  • Becoming aware of destructive thought patterns and their impact
  • Restructure thinking patterns to be more positive to change how you feel
  • Learning behaviors that can help you cope

If you would like to discuss care for a loved one, please contact one of our understanding professionals to see how we can help.

Tips for Patients To Get the Most Out of CBT

Therapy takes work and is only effective if communication is open and assignments are completed. Changing thoughts and behaviors is a process and expecting overnight results is unrealistic. For many people, behavior patterns are reinforced over years and years of practice so patience is necessary during the healing process.

It takes time to learn new thought processes and behaviors, but when done, can greatly improve quality of life. Here are some simple guidelines to follow when behavioral therapy is a part of your healing plan:

  • Be open and honest
  • Do your homework and stick to the treatment plan
  • Be patient – healing takes time
  • Be an active participant – share in decision-making and talk about what is working and what isn’t

If you think that you or someone you know could benefit from behavioral therapy, or maybe just need some extra assistance with the demands of daily life, please contact one of our caring professionals to discuss your situation and see how we can help.

registered nurse helping elder woman out of bed with assistance of her walker


1David, Daniel et al. (29 January 2018). Why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Is the Current Gold Standard of Psychotherapy. Frontiers in psychiatry vol. 9 4. Retrieved 10 January 2022.

2Psychiatry Advisor. (26 September 2014). CBT Better Than Medication For Treating Social Anxiety Disorder. Retrieved 10 January 2022.

3Mayo Clinic. (16 March 2019). Cognitive behavioral therapy. Retrieved 10 January 2022.

4Kane, Suzanne. (25 March 2020). How to Recognize and Change Toxic Behavioral Patterns. PsychCentral. Retrieved 10 January 2022.