Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most well-researched theories of therapy that exist in the field of psychology and is one of the most often used forms of therapy. CBT is often used to help treat anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive behavior, posttraumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, substance abuse, and eating disorders. It is  sometimes used in conjunction with medication. CBT states that what one thinks about a situation or their circumstance determines how one feels, which can lead to how one behaves. So, by changing the thoughts surrounding the situation, a person can change from maladaptive thinking to a healthier way of thinking and alter their outcome. 

However, sometimes a person is not aware of what they are thinking when they react to a situation. CBT labels those as “automatic thoughts.” For example, if someone has been hurt in the past by someone who betrayed them, and someone new acts in a similar pattern, they make “automatically” think that person is behaving for the same reasons as the person who betrayed them. So, the first step in CBT is to identify the thoughts. When a person has a particularly strong emotional or physical reaction to a situation, stop and consider what the thought is about the situation. Often it is helpful to record these thoughts to see if a pattern emerges. 

The next blog covering CBT will explain steps two and three of this basic overview of CBT therapy. A counselor can assist in figuring out those automatic thoughts if a person is having trouble deciphering what are those thoughts. If you live in the Forney area and are interested more in CBT therapy, we are here to help. 

Steffani Wooley, MA, LPC Intern

Supervisor: Sascha Webb, MA, LPC-S