Looking for more information on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and what to expect in the process? When someone first goes to a therapist, they are generally asked what issues bring them in and how they want help. The answers often come down to wanting to feel better and act differently. Recovery from substance use and mental health disorders require changes in the way clients act and behave. By doing so, they will also feel better. Actions and feelings follow what we think and believe. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) requires recognition of past cognitive, or thinking, errors and creates challenges for each thought distortion. By confronting these distortions and negative thought patterns, behavior can change, and a person can become whole and healthy.
Negative thoughts including inaccurate exaggerations, irrelevant thoughts, misperceptions, doubts, deceptions, and lies you tell yourself influence your feelings and actions and can undermine your emotional health. With mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar illness, these thoughts, feelings, and beliefs often become confused and distorted, leading to unhealthy behavioral patterns.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help those who struggle with anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders which can cause distorted thoughts. Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs for short) are those deeply-held, often-repeated, pessimistic views that lead to intense emotions and unpredictable actions. ANTs can ruin any picnic, spoil the fun, and derail a positive mood as they distort the truth. Yet every ANT carries a crumb of truth. You may think you are dumb because you failed a test. The crumb of truth is that you failed the test. Calling yourself dumb is the distorted and inaccurate thought. When outcomes support these thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, the negative responses are reinforced and can become deeply held, yet irrational, ways of perceiving the world. The truth is, it may be difficult to identify the distorted thoughts. Negative thoughts are often unreasonable and blown out of proportion, fueling emotional problems, and making one resistant to change. They lower self-esteem, decrease judgment, increase fear, and warp reality.