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The Transformative Power of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Chilliwack CBT Abbotsford anxiety depression PTSD

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), developed in the 1960s by Dr. Aaron T. Beck, is a form of psychotherapy that aims to modify dysfunctional emotions, behaviours, and thoughts.

It does this by interrogating and uprooting negative or irrational beliefs based on the understanding that our thoughts, feelings, and actions are interconnected.

Altering one aspect in this triad can positively impact the others, thereby improving overall well-being. This approach makes CBT a popular and evidence-based method for treating a wide array of psychological issues.

How Does CBT Work?

CBT works by challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviours, improving emotional regulation, and developing personal coping strategies that target solving current problems.

It’s a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. The therapy is goal-oriented and focuses on teaching you skills you can use daily, even after the therapy ends.

Conditions That CBT Can Help With

CBT has been extensively researched and is considered an effective treatment for a wide range of issues. Some of the conditions that CBT can help with include:

9 Key Features of CBT:

  1. Problem-Focused and Goal-Oriented: CBT is typically centred around specific problems the individual is experiencing. It is goal-oriented, aiming to solve these problems through a structured approach.
  2. Thoughts and Beliefs: CBT emphasizes the importance of recognizing and understanding one’s thought patterns and beliefs, particularly those that are negative or unrealistic. These are often referred to as cognitive distortions.
  3. Behavioural Techniques: CBT involves the use of practical behavioural techniques. This might include exposure therapy (gradually facing and overcoming fears), activity scheduling (to combat avoidance behaviours), or relaxation techniques.
  4. Skill Development: It equips individuals with coping skills and strategies to manage and reduce their symptoms. These practical skills can be used in everyday life long after therapy.
  5. Collaborative: The therapist and client work together. The therapist is more of a coach or guide, helping clients discover and implement strategies to improve their mental health.
  6. Time-Limited and Structured: CBT is typically conducted over a defined period, ranging from a few weeks to several months. Sessions are structured and follow a specific agenda.
  7. Homework Assignments: Clients are often given tasks to complete outside of therapy sessions. These include journaling, practicing relaxation techniques, or implementing strategies discussed in therapy.
  8. Empowerment: CBT aims to empower the individual, helping them realize that they can control their thoughts, behaviours, and overall well-being.
  9. Evidence-Based: CBT is supported by extensive clinical research and is considered one of the most effective forms of psychotherapy for a variety of mental health issues.

What are the Benefits of CBT?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) offers numerous benefits for individuals dealing with a variety of mental health conditions. Here are some of the key benefits:

  1. Effectiveness: CBT is as effective as medication in treating conditions like anxiety and depression.
  2. It’s also effective for a variety of mental problems, such as anxiety disorder, attention deficit hypersensitivity disorder, bulimia nervosa, depression, and hypochondriasis, among others.
  3. Solution-focused: CBT is a solution-focused therapy that helps people understand and challenge thoughts that negatively impact their behaviour.
  4. It deals with current problems rather than focusing on issues from the past and looks for practical ways to improve your state of mind daily.
  5. Short-term: CBT can be completed in a relatively short period compared to other talking therapies2
  6. Skills Development: CBT helps individuals develop more rational thought processes and teaches useful, practical strategies that can be incorporated into everyday life to help cope better with future stresses and difficulties.
  7. Hope: CBT gives people hope about their condition. It helps individuals to regulate their responses to triggers and reduce symptoms.
  8. Versatility: CBT is used to treat a wide range of issues and is often the preferred type of psychotherapy because it can quickly help identify and cope with specific challenges.
  9. Self-Management: CBT focuses on the person’s capacity to change themselves (their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours).
  10. Research Support: CBT is the most researched form of psychotherapy and is considered the gold standard.


However, it’s important to note that while CBT has many benefits, it may not suit everyone. Some individuals may find the process emotionally uncomfortable or stressful, requiring commitment and active participation from the individual to be effective.


Are There Any Potential Drawbacks or Side Effects of CBT?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a widely used and effective form of psychotherapy. Still, like any treatment, it can have potential drawbacks or side effects.

  1. Commitment and Time: CBT requires a significant commitment from the patient. Regular sessions and homework assignments can be time-consuming.
  2. Emotional Discomfort: CBT often involves confronting and challenging distressing thoughts and emotions, which can lead to temporary increases in anxiety or discomfort.
  3. Limited Scope: Critics argue that CBT’s focus on current problems and specific issues may not be suitable for people with more complex mental health needs or those whose issues stem from past experiences.
  4. High Dropout Rate: CBT has a relatively high dropout rate, possibly due to the intensity of the therapy or the feeling that it isn’t working.
  5. Potential Side Effects: Some patients may experience severe side effects such as suicidality, breakups, negative feedback from family members, withdrawal from relatives, and feelings of exposure to criticism.
  6. Not Intensive Enough: For some individuals, CBT may not be intensive enough to address their mental health needs.
  7. Negative Perception of Group Therapy: In group settings, some individuals may develop negative views of group therapy.

It’s important to note that these potential drawbacks and side effects vary from person to person. The effectiveness of CBT largely depends on the individual’s specific needs, their relationship with the therapist, and their commitment to the process.

How to Get Started with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy FAQ's

CBT is generally considered a short-term therapy, often lasting between 5 and 20 sessions, depending on the individual’s needs.

Absolutely; CBT has been adapted for children and adolescents and can be effective for various issues, including anxiety and behavioural challenges.

CBT is generally safe but can sometimes cause discomfort as it involves facing fears and emotions. However, this is part of the therapeutic process.

Unlike some forms of psychotherapy, CBT is more focused on the present, involves structured sessions, and is proactive in teaching coping strategies.

is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Chilliwack CBT Therapist at The Healing Oak. She brings a wealth of experience and expertise in CBT. Her approach is tailored to each individual, ensuring a compassionate and effective therapy experience.

Ready for a change?

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a registered clinical counsellor.

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