How does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work? (Pt. 1: Thoughts)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is one of the most widely-used types of therapy today. It also has one of the largest bases of evidence for alleviating challenging mental health symptoms. CBT targets both our "cognitions", or thoughts, and our behaviors in order to produce changes in our emotions and moods.
First, CBT encourages us to be more aware of our automatic negative thought patterns, sometimes writing them down on what's called a Thought Record. The more we can strengthen our awareness of these patterns, the more we can begin to map out the ways in which these thoughts are not entirely accurate or beneficial for us. We do this by mapping our automatic thought patterns onto the types of negative thinking traps which in CBT are termed Cognitive Distortions. This is the beginning of the process which shifts our thought patterns and consequently, our emotions as well.
For more information on CBT, feel free to refer to this article from the National Health Service UK: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cognitive-behavioural-therapy-cbt/how-it-works/