1. CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

  • What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

  • How Can CBT Help with Anxiety, Stress, Depression, and Negative Self-Talk?

  • How Can CBT Help Improve Confidence?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is one of the most prevalent and promising treatments for anxiety, stress, depression and other mental health issues. It is very helpful in changing negative self-talk and improving confidence. It is the gold-standard of treatment for changing negative thinking patterns that fuel “issues” such as anxiety, stress, and depression.
The premise of CBT is that our thoughts (cognitive) influence how we feel, which influence what we do, or do not do (behaviour).

Our thoughts influence how we feel, which influence how we act.

It’s not necessarily the situation, it’s our perspective on the situation.

When we work together, we go through a personalized example of your Situation, Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviours.

Examples of How CBT and Counselling Can Help

cognitive-behavioral-therapy-cbt-kelowna-british-columbia-barb-egan-alive-counselling
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Above is a great visual example from The Brain Coach.

I love to use personalized resources, worksheets, practical exercises, and books, podcasts, websites, and apps for clients to own & hone their skill in this.

CBT is helpful in shifting irrational, negative self-talk to more realistic thinking.

Realistic Thinking

Our thoughts really can impact the way we feel. If you are telling yourself

 

“you are not good enough,

or not as ‘smart/pretty/interesting’ as ‘so-and-so’

or ‘you should be doing more’

You probably are not going to feel your best, or perform your best in your sport, work, relationships, or overall life.

“Changing our unhelpful thoughts to realistic or helpful ones is a key to feeling better. “Realistic thinking” means looking at yourself, others, and the world in a balanced and fair way, without being overly negative or positive. For example:”

 

Unhelpful and unrealistic thought More realistic and balanced thought
I always screw things up, I’m such a loser. What’s wrong with me? Everyone makes mistakes, including me – I’m only human. All I can do now is try my best to fix the situation and learn from this experience.
I can’t do it. I feel way too anxious. Why can’t I control my anxiety? It’s OK and normal to feel anxious. It’s not dangerous, and it doesn’t have to stop me. I can feel anxious and STILL go to the party.

-Anxiety Canada

 

Time, Consistency, and Practice!

CBT focuses on how people think (cognitive), what people feel (emotionally and physically in their bodies), and how people act (behaviours). The brain is incredible! It is tempting to think, “I’ll always be like this,” “What’s the point, I can’t change” However, research tells us that is NOT true! We call this neuroplasticity. You can actually change your thought patterns, or how you think or talk to yourself. It takes about 6-8 weeks (on average) to change your “automatic negative thoughts” or negative self-talk patterns to a more balanced, realistic way to talk to yourself or think. (See the visual example below from Sit With It).

But I describe it in this way that mental health is like dental health: if you never brushed your teeth and just started for one session, for an hour, you would not see a drastic improvement in your dental health with just one time. You would just have really sore gums! But, if you started to brush your teeth for two minutes a day, twice a day, over 1-2 months you will look back and say “wow I have really come a long way, I have healthy habits instilled, and an overall healthy mouth! My hard work has paid off!” Time, consistency, and practice is key. The same is true for mental health, or changing negative thought patterns or self-talk that often fuel anxiety, stress, and depression. A little bit of practice each day on these mental skills learned in counselling will make a huge difference in your life, work, school, relationships, and overall wellbeing with time, consistency, and practice.

Resources

When we work together, we work through personalized resources and exercises for you to change your thought patterns, to change how you feel, and even act.

We work together to Understand your Stuff to see where these “issues” , perspectives, and ways of thinking come from. When we can understand them, we can overcome them. 

One (free!) resource I highly recommend is put out by Anxiety Canada. The website version is called My Anxiety Plan. It has specific sections for adults, youth, and children. Their (also free!) app is called MindShft CBT that I also highly recommend to clients. These are great supplemental resources to utilize in between sessions to really gain traction and create new thought patterns to overcome anxiety.

Another great CBT resource for Anxiety, Stress, and Depression is an app called Sanvello.

You can read this informative article from Anxiety Canada on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety on my blog post here:

 

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