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Your Healthy Mind

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy? How CBT helps you become resilient.

Posted by Dr. Peter Farvolden, Ph.D., C.Psych. on Aug 1, 2018 5:11:31 PM

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, helps people develop resilience to cope with life’s demands. If you are feeling down, overwhelmed or stressed out, CBT can be an effective way to improve your mental well-being.

A qualified therapist helps you learn techniques and develop skills to understand and manage your thoughts and feelings so you can be empowered and feel better moving forward.

CBT has been proven to help many mental health concerns

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the few forms of psychotherapy that has been scientifically tested, and for over 40 years, has been shown to be effective in hundreds of clinical trials for many different conditions related to mental well-being. These include mild to moderate, and even severe depression, panic, PTSD, and anxiety. It is currently considered the gold standard in evidence-based psychotherapy.

Unlike other forms of psychotherapy, CBT is usually shorter, more focused on the present, and is focused on problem-solving and perspective-taking. Most important, people learn specific coping skills that they can use for the rest of their lives.

Thoughts, behaviours and emotions can influence each other

In CBT your therapist will help you become aware of how your thoughts and behaviours are related to your emotions, and that by changing your thoughts and behaviours, you can change how you feel. You are not helpless, you have the ability to learn how to manage your own thoughts and feelings. You will feel empowered. You can feel better.

While CBT principles form a basis for treating a number of mental health conditions, in practice it is most effective when tailored by the therapist who uses specific techniques for your specific problems, always with an understanding of the client’s current circumstances.

 Your perceptions can shape your feelings

In CBT people learn how to become observers of their own mental processes and emotions, and learn how to take different perspectives on their problems. CBT helps people consider their distorted or negative thoughts, and how realistic the thoughts are.

 For example, someone reading this page might think, “Wow! This sounds good, it’s just what I’ve been looking for!” and feel empowered. Another person reading the same information might think, “Well, this sounds good but I don’t think I can do it.” This second person feels sad and discouraged.

 The same situation can be perceived differently by two individuals and, therefore, results in different emotions, which may then influence each person’s decisions about the situation. And it’s possible for you to change your own perception; your feelings do not have to remain fixed.

Doing the work

A core component of CBT is practicing skills as you learn, through readings and activities that your therapist provides and assesses, so that when stressful situations occur again in the future, you are well-practiced and can manage your feelings and reactions in a healthy way. All of this happens with BEACON just as it does in face-to-face therapy, and BEACON’S digital experience helps you work and practice fluidly, without waiting for an appointment.

Think of it like physiotherapy after a physical injury; you need to put in the work to heal effectively. The exercises may feel awkward at first, but as you practice, they become second nature.

How long will I need therapy?

CBT is a form of therapy that moves toward an end goal, and typically lasts for 8-20 weeks.

Once you better understand how to take different perspectives on your thoughts and feelings, and start feeling better, you’ll be able to take those skills with you for life.

With BEACON, many people begin to feel better after only a few weeks, and you have access to your BEACON therapist for up to 12 weeks.

BEACON digital therapy is CBT

The features that comprise CBT are all present in BEACON digital therapy – BEACON is CBT. A therapist guides you through the readings and activities so that you can start to feel in control again. The therapist regularly checks your progress, and provides therapy unique to you.

Digital CBT with BEACON differs in a couple of ways from face-to-face therapy. Instead of waiting an entire week to ask a question or have the therapist review your worksheets at an in-person appointment, you can send a message to your BEACON therapist at any time, receiving a reply within a couple of days. Many people find the stigma of attending therapy is lessened as they do not need to book in-person appointments and take time out of their day. BEACON is also available if someone lives in an area without access to a therapist.


Related articles:

Topics: Digital therapy explained, TAiCBT explained

BEACON is covered for many Canadians.

Check with your employer or benefits plan provider on how to access BEACON digital therapy at reduced or no cost.

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