Therapy Blog for Orem, Spanish Fork & South Jordan

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

All About Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

On your search for the best style of therapy for your needs, you have probably seen references to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). But what is CBT? What happens during CBT therapy? And how do you know if CBT is right for you? (Related Article: Learning How to Cope in Individual Therapy)

Today, you will learn more about CBT. You will learn what to expect during your appointment, and if CBT might be right for you. cbt therapy

What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy comes from two schools of thought in the therapy world- cognitive and behavioral approaches. I guess that shouldn’t be surprising, considering it’s name!

CBT is designed to help you process and solve problems and frustrations that hold you back from your everyday life. It is used to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders, grief, and many other related mental health concerns (Source). CBT can also be a great tool for navigating specific situations that you struggle to manage on your own. (Related Article: Individual Counseling)

CBT therapy comes from the idea that your thoughts, feelings, and your physical well-being are all connected. If you find that your thoughts are generally negative, you may become frustrated and become trapped in a negative cycle that can be hard to break. In CBT therapy, you learn how to break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable parts. Then, you learn how to process those parts individually. (Source). 

The goal of CBT is to make your daily feelings and emotions more manageable. If your daily feelings are manageable, your mental health and general well-being will improve.

The CBT Experience

Let’s say your therapist suggests that you try out CBT therapy. What should you expect? And how can you prepare? 

CBT therapy should not require any extensive preparation. In your appointment, you will take a goals-oriented approach to problem solving. Your therapist will ask you about specific situations or habits that have been frustrating you or causing you distress. You will describe your emotional experience with these situations. (Related article: Counseling for Individuals)cbt therapy

You may also be asked to do “homework” in between therapy sessions. That homework might include small reading assignments, worksheets, or journal prompts that will help you learn about CBT and how it can be applied in your daily life. 

The Structure of CBT

So, that sounds great, but what are the actual steps to CBT? CBT seeks to address the following:

Learn to identify and describe frustrations. This step will involve a lot of remembering and describing your emotions about the incident. If you are addressing a mental health problem, you may be asked to describe your symptoms or common situations you confront as a result of the problem. (Related article: Emotions 101- How to Be Emotionally Healthy)

Become more self aware of your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. This step will involve you working with your therapist to interpret your experiences with these frustrating situations. You will take the information you covered in step one and take a “deep dive” into what your feelings about the situation might actually mean. You may discuss cultural and social contexts in your lives that influence these situations. (Related Article: Counseling- What it is and What it isn’t).cbt therapy

Identify inaccurate ideas or negative cycles. During this process, your therapist will help you identify and address thoughts and behavior patterns that are causing these negative cycles to occur.

Reshape your thinking patterns. Your therapist will guide you through the process of identifying what is causing these dysfunctional thought processes. This step might include addressing ideas from your upbringing, culture, or your environment that influence how you think.

The way you think and perceive your world is heavily influenced by your experiences. (Related article: Stigmas). It may take time to rebuild these patterns. But, when you do, you can develop better habits and thought processes. Additionally, if you learn to apply these processes to one situation, it becomes easier to apply these skills to other challenging situations in the future. 

Is CBT Meant For Me?

CBT can be a great tool that can help you improve your mental health and emotional capacity. However, it’s important to see a trained therapist for CBT. A therapist is trained to guide you through CBT and help you improve the way you think. And if you improve your thinking, you can improve your life. 

The best way to get started is to find a therapist. From there, your clinician can assess your needs and decide if CBT is right for you. 

Are you ready to take the first step? Start individual therapy in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork. 


Written by Lauren Adkins


Lauren Adkins

Writer for the Center for Couples and Families


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