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What is CBT? (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

At the Cognitive & Interpersonal Therapy Centre, we believe there is a strong relationship between how we feel about ourselves and how we live our lives. This theory suggests that your emotions and behaviours are intrinsically linked.

We help our clients develop coping strategies and internal support tools through cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT.

What is CBT Therapy?

CBT is a short-term (16 to 20 sessions) therapy that emphasizes the role of thinking in how we feel and what we do. This type of therapy focuses on the relationship between a person’s thoughts, behaviours, and feelings and the role that they play in a person’s symptoms, daily functioning and quality of life. By focusing on these three components, changes can be made in how a person thinks, acts and feels about their difficulties. The basic principle of CBT is that how a person thinks has a powerful effect on their emotions and behaviours. The goal of CBT therapy is to teach you that while you cannot control the world around you, you can take control of how you interpret and deal with things in your environment.

CBT can help you manage:

  • Agoraphobia
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Coping with Infertility
  • Grief
  • Social Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Coping with Chronic Illness
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Dysthymia
  • Eating Disorders
  • Anger
  • Conflict Resolution

Research studies have shown that CBT is an effective treatment for a wide range of psychological problems and symptoms, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders and insomnia. Cognitive behavioural therapy also helps in teaching you stress management and relaxation techniques. Pet scan studies that have looked at people’s brains before and after treatment have shown that engaging in CBT treatment can have a profound positive effect on your brain activity. This suggests that the brain is actually improving its functioning because of this treatment.

CBT Theory

Cognitive behaviour therapy is based on the assumption that your thoughts directly influence how you feel. Not only do your thoughts directly influence how you feel, but they also directly influence how you act and how your body responds physically. When people are in distress, their perspective of the world, themselves and their future may be negatively skewed, biased or inaccurate.

CBT helps you identify your negative thought patterns, understand how these developed and are maintained, and helps you to find more adaptive ways to view stressful situations. Therapy teaches you to become an observer of your thought process and, through specific training, CBT teaches you to change your negative thought patterns. The expectation is that these cognitive changes will positively impact your quality of life, improve your sense of self and others, and help you build resilience and positive coping strategies. By the end of therapy, you will become an effective problem solver and will know how to make positive changes in your life.

Research Behind Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

At the Cognitive & Interpersonal Therapy Centre, it is important that the information we provide is transparent and accurate. We research and fact-check before investing in any of the supports, materials, or therapeutic approaches we use.

Research in the field of CBT has proven its effectiveness over an assortment of varying cognitive and psychological disorders. Some of the research conducted in this field uses Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans to evaluate brain activity and CBT’s effects on those experiencing anxiety and depression.

The theory behind CBT therapy is that the way you think about yourself and the world you live in directly impacts your body, chemical reactions, and brain signals. The way you feel about yourself affects more than your thoughts; it affects your entire physical being. When your emotional and mental self is stressed, anxious, or upset, your physical self will respond. Working with one of our cognitive behavioural therapists allows you to better define those negative feelings and the patterns which trigger them, helping you better adapt in future situations when these negative stressors arise.

How CBT Works

Goal Setting

An important part of CBT therapy is goal setting. We encourage you to think about specific changes you would like to make at work, at home, or in your relationships. Think about how you would like your life to change or improve, or what symptoms you would like to decrease. Your therapist will help you set specific goals, and throughout therapy, your progress towards these goals will be monitored and assessed. Together, you will develop an “action plan” to implement solutions to problems or make changes in your thinking or behaviours. When treatment ends, you will be able to use the skills and tools you have learned in therapy in your day-to-day life.

What to Expect

During the first session, your therapist will ask you to explain your current situation and briefly review your psychological, medical, social, work, family and relationship history. You will also discuss your treatment goals and, if appropriate, fill out psychological measures. Once all of this information has been gathered, your therapist will formulate and discuss with you a suitable treatment plan as well as give you feedback on the results of any psychological measures you completed.

CBT therapy often includes keeping track of and recording your own thoughts, beliefs and behaviours. Over time, you will learn to recognize which thoughts or thought patterns are linked to your mood and behaviours. You will learn important strategies that will help you change these negative thoughts or behaviours, and through these changes, you will notice a marked improvement in your quality of life.

CBT also uses methods such as relaxation exercises, stress management and mindfulness-based techniques to help you solve problems. Because problems and life situations are different from person to person, therapy is always tailored to your individual needs.

Treatment Length

Although CBT is a brief treatment, it cannot be said across the board how long a successful therapy will take. Some people feel considerably better after a few sessions, while others need treatment for several months. The length of treatment will depend on the kind and severity of the problems, among other things.

Tools Developed Through CBT Therapy

Working with our professional CBT therapists encourages you to develop the tools you need to overcome obstacles long after therapy has ended. These strategies include keeping a journal, harnessing emotions and relaxation through exercise and breathing techniques. Learning stress management tactics can improve your chances of overcoming obstacles independently later.

At the Cognitive & Interpersonal Therapy Centre, we know that every client is unique, which is why we do not offer a “one size fits all” approach to cognitive behaviour therapy. CBT therapy is tailored to fit your story, adapting to the individual needs you possess. The tools our clients develop vary from person to person.

Is CBT Therapy the Right Choice for You?

Many people can benefit from CBT therapy, even if you already have a strong handle on independently managing stress and anxiety triggers.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a short-term treatment program with a high success rate. The speed of your progression throughout the therapy is personal. Some clients begin to feel a substantial difference in thoughts and behaviour, following only a few sessions. Others require more in-depth sessions to reach a level of understanding and balance.

Deciding on CBT therapy is a personal decision, and your therapy plan will depend entirely on the gravity of your symptoms and the goals you set for yourself. It is essential to know that you are not alone in your CBT journey. At the Cognitive & Interpersonal Therapy, we are here to help you every step of the way.

Contact the Cognitive & Interpersonal Therapy Centre

If you, or someone you love, is dealing with stress, anger, depression, anxiety, or other negative symptoms attributed to a psychological condition, or daily life, cognitive behavioural therapy can help you.

We believe transparency is crucial in our relationship with our clients, which is why we ensure you have all the information you need to be successful before, during, and after CBT therapy.

To learn more about cognitive behavioural therapy, we invite you to reach contact the Cognitive & Interpersonal Therapy Centre through our contact page or by calling 1-416-570-5050

Click on the link to book a session with one of our team members.

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