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The Power of the Mind through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) by Karmen Cohen, D.O.

Dr. Cohen pulseCognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a fast technique used by counselors and therapists to teach patients how to change their unwanted behaviors or feelings by changing their thoughts. The premise of CBT is that our thought patterns (cognition) and interpretation of life events greatly influence how we feel and behave. In essence, CBT is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on how our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes affect our feelings and behavior and teaches us coping skills for dealing with difficult challenges.

Usually the distorted thinking leads to distress and problematic behaviors.  In contrast, realistic thinking with less negativity allows individuals to respond to challenging situations in an effective way. Over the past few years, research shows that this technique is an effective way (besides medication) to cope with not only depression, anxiety/panic disorder, dysfunctional behaviors, marital conflict, but many illnesses including blood pressure, migraine headache and insomnia. Additionally, this therapy involves clear identification of the problem, establishing attainable goals, empathic communication, frequent feedback, reality checks, homework assignments, and teaching individuals to use learned tools to promote positive behavioral change and growth.

CBT emphasizes the need to identify, challenge, and change how a situation is viewed. Our thinking pattern is like wearing a pair of glasses, which allow us to see the world in a specific way. CBT creates an awareness of how thoughts create our reality and these thoughts determine how we behave.

It has been observed that the perceptions and interpretations of depressed persons are distorted. Depressed individuals are likely to engage in “cognitive errors” such as a negative mindset, jumping to conclusions, catastrophic thinking, and thinking only in black and white. It has been noted that these errors in thinking are automatic thoughts that come spontaneously; the individual accepts them as truths instead of distortions. CBT focuses in modifying the automatic thoughts by challenging the validity of the thoughts against reality.  When an individual stops negative, self-depreciating and catastrophic thinking, their distress decreases and they are better able to function in the desired way. It will be a good practice to be careful of what we think about at all times.

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.