Cognitive behavioral therapy

So the basic premise of CBT is that thoughts affect a person’s feelings and behavior, and vice versa. CBT is an umbrella term for various forms of treatment in which patients learn how to better manage their negative thoughts and feelings about themselves and their environment, get a better grip on their emotional lives and, if applicable, better align their behavior with what they want to achieve. This is based on the premise that symptoms and problems, in addition to environmental influences, can be explained and maintained to a large extent by systematic dysfunctional thoughts. The influence of these thoughts is reflected, among other things, in the way one thinks, feels and acts, and these thoughts can lead to mental health problems and dysfunctional behaviors.

One of the principles of CBT is that the evaluation and possible adjustment of cognitions leads to reduction of symptoms and prevention of relapse. In therapy, therefore, the emphasis is on influencing these thoughts insofar as they play a role in the origin and persistence of the symptoms and problems. This is done through conversations with a practitioner and by doing assignments and targeted exercises both during therapy sessions and between sessions in an environment relevant to the symptoms. The intention is that by actively working with these assignments and targeted exercises, the patient can gradually evaluate and, if necessary, adjust his or her own thoughts, thereby gaining more control over his or her emotional life and, if applicable, also try out other behaviors. CBT is indicated when symptoms are confined to one domain of life and do not appear to stem from personality development. It is also important that the client enjoys working practically with his or her symptoms.