Compassionately Facilitating Change
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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy developed in the early 1960s by
Dr. Aaron T. Beck. The CBT model states that it is our perception of an event, and not the event itself, that impacts our experience of the event. For example, if a neighbor moves away we might experience the move as joyful, sad or any range of emotions, depending on how we view the move. If the neighbor was an annoyance we'll be happy he's gone, but if the neighbor is a friend we're likely to be sad he's moving. On another level, if we believe that our friendly neighbor is going to be better off by moving we might be happy. Clearly, the neighbor moving (ie. the event) is not the cause of our emotional or behavioral reaction, but instead our perception of the event is what dictates our response to it.
Our perception of an event is determined, in large part, by our thoughts surrounding the event. Our thoughts lead to our emotional and behavioral reactions. Behavioral health problems (ex. depression, anxiety, etc) usually develop when we make a mistake in our thinking or get stuck in a "thought trap." Once we discover our mistake and correct it we resolve the behavioral health problem.
A Cognitive Behavioral Therapist helps a client uncover thoughts, which are sometimes unconscious, and teaches the client how to test and challenge those thoughts to determine if the thoughts are accurate. When a thinking mistake is made, the client is taught how to identify it and transform it. If a thought is accurate, the client is taught skills to help cope and manage the feelings and behaviors that result from it.