What the Different Types of Cognitive Behavior Therapy Can Do for You

therapist talking to a patient

therapist talking to a patientToday, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) remains an accessible and popular form of psychological treatment both in Westport and across Connecticut. The term covers an umbrella of therapeutic approaches that focus on changing facets of a person’s behavior to help them overcome unhealthy behaviors and thought patterns. Over the years, CBT has helped people overcome a diverse range of problems from depression and anxiety disorders to marital issues and substance abuse.

There are several approaches to CBT, which are tailored to address a behavioral problem with particular roots. They all share a common thread of direct behaviors by acknowledging and addressing how the patient perceives these thoughts.

1. Rational emotive behavioral therapy

People sometimes hold unreasonable perceptions about themselves and others, which cause problems in life. Rational emotive behavioral therapy centers on addressing irrational beliefs, helping patients identify and challenge them as needed.

Although it focuses on changing how patients deal with irrational thoughts, rational emotive behavior therapy also acknowledges and addresses the feelings associated with these problematic thoughts. This method is frequently used to help patients manage and overcome phobias and anxiety and can be used to overcome self-defeating behaviors like chronic approval-seeking.

2. Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy, meanwhile, focuses on defusing the effects of dark or irrational thoughts to curtail their effect on the patients’ wellbeing. This focuses on talk sessions that allow therapists to help patients’ rethink the negativity, which often manifests in exaggerated or outright false beliefs about themselves that reinforce destructive behavior.

This approach is commonly used for patients with clinical depression and helps to prevent its onset by defusing the negative distortion through the power of realistic (rather than exclusively positive) thinking.

3. Multimodal therapy

Multimodal therapy seeks to address several interconnected yet distinct factors (modalities) that contribute to behavior and thought patterns.  Through this model, therapists tailor their treatment and therapy to address the individual needs of the patient based on the modalities that manifest in specific points in their lives.

4. Dialectical thinking therapy

therapy sessionDialectical thinking therapy, meanwhile, focuses on helping people cope with the here and now. Originally developed to assist people with borderline personality disorder, dialectic thinking therapy can also be used to help patients overcome self-destructive or compulsive behavioral disorders such as substance abuse and eating disorders.

Mindfulness lies at the core of dialectical thinking therapy. In this approach, therapists encourage patients to be aware of their feelings and take the reins to regulate them. Dialectical thinking programs avoid black-and-white thinking that leads people to choose maladaptive extremes rather than fostering self-control. Patients are also called to find and report potential obstacles so that they and their therapist could work toward healthily resolving them. Often, patients work with groups led by the therapist to share experiences and offer mutual support.

At the core of CBT is helping patients understand the thoughts and feelings that lie at the root of negative behaviors and how they can be resolved by managing how these factors affect them. And it works. Several studies have shown that patients receiving CBT have led to a marked improvement in cognitive function and quality of life, delivering results that are as effective (if not more so) than psychiatric medications or other forms of psychological behavior.  

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