How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work ?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is all about how you think about yourself, the people around you and the world at large and how the things you do affect your feelings and thoughts. The reason people go for cognitive behavioral therapy is to change how they think and what they do. When the changes take place, a person feels better.

Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on the present problems you are facing rather than concentrating on problems that caused you pain and suffering in the past. This therapy is all about improving a person's state of mind in the mind.

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work :

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps a person take an insurmountable problem and break it into little pieces so that the person can make sense of the problem. By breaking a big problem into smaller pieces allows the person to see how all the pieces are connected and how they affect him. Usually a problem is broken down into the following smaller pieces:

  • Situation
  • Thoughts
  • Emotions
  • Physical feelings
  • Actions


Each of the above mentioned smaller pieces can affect the other. How a person views a problem can affect him physically and emotionally. It can also affect the way a person reacts to the problem. Reactions can be helpful or unhelpful depending on how you think about a problem.

For example, you are walking on the street and someone you know walks past you without looking at you is a situation. Now you can break down this situation into smaller pieces as mentioned above.

Thoughts: You can think about this incident positively or negatively. You can think that the person ignored you because he/she does not like you. Or, you can think that the person looked lost in his/her thoughts and now you are wondering whether everything is okay with the person.

Emotional feelings: You feel sad and rejected. Or, you can start worrying about the person

Physical: You may get stomach cramps and feel you have no energy. Or, you do not get affect physically at all.

Action: Go home, mope and then avoid the person completely. Or, you can get in touch with the person to check is everything is alright with him/her.

As you can see the first part of your reaction in each of the smaller pieces are unhelpful while the second part is helpful. Therefore, this means that every situation can lead to two different results depending on how you think about the situation. Then you thought has an effect on how you feel and how you react to the situation.

When you react negatively or in an unhelpful manner, it makes you feel worse and this can make you think and feel unpleasant things about yourself like you must be a bad person or unfriendly etc.

However, cognitive behavioral therapy helps you to change your way of thinking, feeling and behaving. When you see things in parts of a whole, you can change your thoughts, feelings and behaviors (action). The therapy allows you to workout out your own unique way of handling problems and problematic situations.

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