Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)



t can be easy to fall into negative thinking patterns regarding yourself, others, or the world around you. Your beliefs influence the way you view your life, and consistently negative thoughts can distort your opinions about yourself or your surroundings.

These thoughts can be incredibly painful and uncomfortable to live with. Your reality, though, may not always be the true reality. When you habitually tell yourself negative things, you can start to believe them as fact even though they’re not entirely accurate. Chances are, you’re much more capable and successful than you tell yourself, your peers and colleagues like you much more than you believe, and your biggest fears will not come true.

Challenging your negative beliefs can be tough, especially when they’ve been a fixture in your mind for a long time. If you’re trying to break free from a cycle of negative thinking, cognitive behavioral therapy may be the right treatment for you.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is one of the most popular methods of mental health therapy today. Countless people have improved their mental and emotional health with the help of CBT. Whether you have a diagnosed mental health condition or simply want to relate more positively to the world, cognitive behavioral therapy can help.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of therapy that explores the relationship between your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. The core idea behind CBT is that our psychological struggles are caused by unhelpful or faulty thinking patterns, and these patterns lead to unhealthy behaviors.

The main goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to change your thinking habits, which can improve your emotional state and guide you toward healthier behaviors. The first step is to become aware of the automatic negative thoughts you have. Your therapist may give you a worksheet to fill out throughout the week that records your negative thoughts, the situations that trigger the thoughts, and your emotions.

As you gain an awareness of these unhealthy thoughts, the next step is to challenge the cognitive distortions. For example, you might challenge the thought, “I will never be happy,” by reminding yourself that you can’t predict the future. Our negative thoughts can feel completely overwhelming when we give them all the control, but when you recognize the distortions and logical errors in these beliefs, they’ll start to become less powerful.

You may have some other experiences in CBT, too. If you struggle with anxiety, your counselor may encourage you to face your fears through exposure therapy or role-playing. Therapy is a safe, private environment for you to learn and grow, so it can be a valuable opportunity to work through your fears. Mindfulness meditation and relaxation exercises are popular complements to CBT, too.

For the best results from CBT, you should expect to do work outside of your therapy session. While your counselor is a vital resource for learning the CBT concepts and processing your emotions along the way, you’ll also have to practice in your day-to-day life to break your negative thinking habits. CBT is usually a short-term treatment of only a few months, but those months do require commitment. Therapy is an active experience, and you get out of it what you put in.

Trauma Focused CBT

If you’ve been through a traumatic experience, you may feel like you will never be free of that burden. Trauma is undoubtedly a driving factor behind mental health issues for many people, and it can reshape your view of yourself and your world. This is especially true of early childhood trauma as our earliest experiences have the greatest impact on our development.

Trauma is linked to mental health conditions like PTSD, anxiety, and eating disorders, and it can cause struggles with anger, self-harm, sleep, and focus. You may feel completely consumed by your pain and grief, and you may not be able to separate your trauma from your understanding of yourself as a person.

As difficult as it is to move forward after trauma, your experiences do not define you. Although you can’t change your past, you can take control of your present and your future. Trauma-focused CBT empowers children, teens, and adult survivors of early childhood trauma to safely process their experiences and resolve the lasting effects of the trauma.

Working through your trauma isn’t easy, but therapy is a safe and supportive environment for you to explore how it has affected you. Trauma-focused CBT involves recognizing and adjusting your negative thoughts, which can decrease unhealthy behaviors.

With children or teens who are receiving CBT, we can also involve non-offending parents in the therapy. This helps parents cope with the pain of having a child who has experienced trauma, and it provides them with resources to support and connect with their child while they heal.

Who Can Benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Everyone’s mental health needs are different, so not every model of therapy is the perfect option for every client. However, evidence shows that cognitive-behavioral therapy is very effective for treating a wide variety of mental health issues. It’s most commonly used to treat depression, anxiety, phobias, and trauma, but the list of symptoms it can address is virtually endless.

CBT is a short-term therapy, and the sessions are very practical and actionable. If you like taking an analytical or intellectual approach, CBT may be especially helpful for you. Throughout the process, you’ll fill out worksheets, learn to label your cognitive distortions, and become an expert on your own thinking habits. Many clients love CBT because you take such an active role in the process, and the knowledge you gain from the sessions will last far beyond the termination of the therapy.

CBT is primarily focused on specific, measurable changes to your thoughts and behaviors. If you’re looking for a deeper exploration of yourself or your life experiences, you may not benefit as much from CBT. Before you begin counseling, you and your therapist will talk about your goals and expectations to decide if CBT is the best choice or if another style would be ideal. If your therapist believes it’s appropriate, they may use another model of therapy while incorporating some CBT techniques.

You don’t have to let your negative beliefs consume you. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an opportunity to take control of your thoughts and behaviors. Begin the process of alleviating your anxiety, working through your trauma, or overcoming your depression by reaching out to a CBT therapist today.

The Beverly Hills Therapy Group offers cognitive-behavioral treatment for clients struggling with anxiety, mood disorders, low self-esteem, trauma, and a number of other concerns. Our therapists understand how difficult it is to break free from these challenges on your own, and we’re here to help. Reach out to us to learn more about CBT or to speak with a cognitive-behavioral therapist in Beverly Hills.

Call us at (888) 494-7788 or write us to set up your free consultation session.

Dr Ron N. Gad, PhD

Ron N. Gad, PhD


Dr. Ronen Nissan, PhD is the founder of Beverly Hills Therapy Group in California. Dr. Gad holds a PhD in clinical psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Along with his staff of licensed therapist, Beverly Hills Therapy Group provides mental health services for many disorders including anxiety, trauma, depression, and several others.


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