Exploring Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: The What, Why, and How


cognitive behavioral therapy

It’s no secret that our brains are complex and mysterious. We’ve spent decades trying to unlock their secrets, but we’re still working out just how much of our own behavior is a result of external factors and how much comes from within.

But one thing is clear: our thoughts affect our emotions—and vice versa.

In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), we explore the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in order to change them for the better.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: What Is It?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an effective form of psychotherapy that can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. It combines mental and behavioral techniques to help you examine your thoughts, change your behaviors, and develop new strategies for dealing with distressing situations. With this approach, you can learn to manage your emotions better and build healthier coping habits.

CBT focuses on the way your thought patterns affect your emotions and behaviors. It teaches you to pay attention to negative thoughts, recognize them as irrational, and replace them with more realistic, positive reviews. This helps you identify the thoughts and beliefs holding you back and learn how to change your thought processes so that they no longer negatively impact your moods and outlook on life.

Through CBT, you will learn to challenge the voice that tells you that you are unworthy, unlovable, and have no value. You will learn how to set boundaries when you feel hurt and control your emotions when they seem overwhelming.

Understanding the Different Approaches to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

different approaches to cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy includes a range of techniques for dealing with our thoughts, emotions, and behavior. These can consist of structured psychotherapies to self-help practices, and some specific types of therapeutic approaches include:

Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy is an approach that seeks to change negative thought patterns to improve mood or behavior. It focuses on helping people identify negative beliefs about themselves and their surroundings and then encouraging them to challenge those beliefs by focusing on positive aspects of their lives.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on increasing clients’ ability to accept their experiences and reactions to those experiences. ACT aims to improve a clients’ sense of purpose rather than encourage them to change their thoughts or behaviors.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that helps people learn how to manage intense emotions and behaviors. It’s also used to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), which can cause people to have unstable moods and relationships, impulsivity, and self-harming behaviors.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected. The therapist helps the client identify irrational beliefs and replace them with healthy self-talk. REBT can be helpful for people who have experienced trauma or abuse and those who struggle with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

While each of these approaches uses a different set of techniques, they all incorporate the same fundamental principles of CBT. They encourage clients to learn how to control their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and make positive life changes.

Why Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy So Effective?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective way to address mental health issues because it is based on the theory that our thoughts affect our feelings, and those feelings then influence our actions. The following are some reasons why cognitive behavioral therapy is so effective:

1. Focuses on the Thoughts and Behaviors Contributing to Mental Health Issues

focuses on the thoughts and behaviors

The focus on the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to mental health issues is one of the reasons it has been so successful.

The premise of cognitive behavioral therapy is simple: thoughts influence behavior, and behavior affects thoughts. By changing what we think about, we can change our actions, which will then change how we feel. The end result? Mental illnesses are treated in a more holistic way that works to address both their symptoms and their causes.

2. Helps Identify Patterns and Triggers

When you’re feeling depressed, lonely, or anxious, it can be hard to figure out what triggered your feelings and how you might avoid that trigger in the future. CBT helps you recognize triggers for negative emotions and teaches techniques to avoid those triggers or manage them if they do occur.

3. Provides Practical Strategies for Dealing With Stressful Situations

If you’re struggling with feeling depressed or anxious because of something that happened in your life, CBT can help you identify what happened and what thoughts led up to the situation. Then it will help you develop new ways of thinking about the problem so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by negative emotions when faced with similar situations in the future.

Additionally, it provides tools and strategies to help you deal with the situation in a more rational and effective way.

4. Recognize Irrational Beliefs and Challenge Them

recognize irrational beliefs and challenge them

A person with depression may believe that their life is meaningless or that they will never be happy again. People with an eating disorder may think they will never be able to control their eating or are unlovable if they’re not thin. However, CBT helps people learn to challenge these beliefs and replace them with more rational and healthy ones.

5. Promotes Self-exploration and Self-awareness

Through CBT, clients learn how to identify the triggers for their negative thoughts and emotions. They also learn to identify the thoughts and beliefs contributing to their mental health concerns. Self-exploration is an essential part of the cognitive behavioral therapy process because it helps people understand themselves better, which in turn helps them develop more positive thought patterns and put better self-management strategies into place.

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?

As we’ve mentioned, CBT focuses on the relationship between thoughts and emotions. Most often, when we experience distress or negative thoughts, it’s because of irrational thinking about some situation or experience. Cognitive behavioral therapy uses several approaches based on triggers or events to treat mental health issues. These include:

1. Setting Goals and Monitoring Progress

setting goals and monitoring progress

Setting goals and monitoring progress is a key part of cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s essential to set realistic goals—short-term goals that you can reach within the next few weeks and long-term goals that will take months or years to achieve. You should also write down your goals to reflect on later and see how far you’ve come.

Once you have set your goals, it’s time to start monitoring your progress. As you work towards each goal, write down what steps you took to get there and how long it took. This will help you track where you are in reaching your goals and motivate yourself when things get tough!

2. Learning Relaxation Techniques

The second step of cognitive behavioral therapy is learning to relax. This is done through the use of a variety of relaxation techniques, including meditation and breathing exercises. In this way, you can learn to take a moment to calm yourself down when you feel stressed or anxious.

As you practice these techniques over time, they will become more automatic and less conscious—you’ll be able to call on them anytime without thinking about it. Different methods teach you other things; breathing exercises teach you to control your breathing and ignore distractions, while meditation helps you become more mindful of your thoughts and feelings.

3. Developing Healthy Coping Strategies

developing healthy coping strategies

Cognitive-behavioral therapy works by helping you to identify and manage your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. You’ll learn to recognize when your thoughts are negative and unrealistic and how to change them into more accurate and realistic thoughts. You’ll also learn to remember when you’re experiencing unhealthy emotions and how to replace those with more helpful ones.

As you start practicing new ways of thinking and feeling, you’ll find that they become easier to use again in the future. With practice, these new ways of thinking will become second nature so that you can respond more appropriately in situations where your old patterns would have led to negative outcomes.

The goal of CBT is to help patients develop healthy coping strategies. These techniques include:

  • Identifying the self-talk that contributes to negative emotions.
  • Recognizing unhealthy behaviors and modifying them.
  • Building a positive attitude about their own behavior and emotions
  • Utilizing problem-solving skills
  • Identifying the feelings that contribute to negative thoughts.
  • Identifying the reality-based idea that corresponds to the emotion you are experiencing at a given moment.
  • Devise an action plan for dealing with negative thoughts and feelings.

These skills and strategies can be helpful in other areas of life, such as relationships, school, or work.


Cognitive behavioral therapy is a widely accepted and effective approach to treating mental health issues. CBT helps people recognize negative thought patterns and correct them to respond more effectively in everyday life.

If you would like more information about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or would like help with negative self-talk, Hanie Health Solution can help. 

We have expert therapists and counselors who can provide you with the CBT best suited to your needs. Ensuring you receive the best therapy will help you improve your mental health positively.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us today! Let Hanei Health Solution help you improve your mental health.

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