With the rise in mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression comes awareness of therapies. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT or iCBT for the virtual version) is a recurring recommendation lately – and with good reason. But what exactly is CBT?
What is CBT and How Does It Work?
CBT is a form of psychotherapy that has been proven, time and again, “as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications” (APA, 2021). The way CBT works is by helping the patient challenge and change their thought patterns and behaviours. Patients monitor and record thoughts when they are upset, and learn that how they think can contribute to emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. CBT helps patients gain control in upsetting situations by teaching them to “identify distortions in their thinking, see thoughts as ideas about what is going on, rather than as facts and stand back from their thinking to consider situations from different viewpoints” (CAMH, 2021).
It’s about empowerment and building self-confidence.
Here’s a mock-therapy session, so you can understand what someone might experience during a CBT session.
Can CBT Help You?
- you are interested in learning practical skills to manage your day-to-day life
- you are interested in practicing change strategies (“homework”) between sessions to consolidate improvement.
CBT is a good fit for you if you want to learn practical skills you can use regularly and if you’re open to practicing these strategies in your day-to-day life. If you want to focus exclusively on past issues or if you want supportive counselling, CBT may not be the best option for your needs.
CBT is proven to be most effective for treating depression and anxiety. However, it can also be used to treat illnesses such as:
- bipolar disorder
- eating disorders
- generalized anxiety disorder
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- panic disorder
- posttraumatic stress disorder
- schizophrenia and psychosis
- specific phobias
- substance use disorders.
How Can You Access CBT?
You can access CBT in a few ways. First, you can access CBT in person by discussing your problems with a certified counsellor or health care practitioner who may provide you with a referral to a professional who practices CBT. Second, you can easily access CBT virtually through MindBeacon via text, or live on the device of your choice. CBT is covered under extended health, so you can take care of your mental health without the added stress of finances.