What Is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a way of talking about the connections between how we think, how we feel and how we behave. It particularly concentrates on ideas that are unrealistic. These often undermine our self-confidence and make us feel depressed or anxious. Looking at these can help us work out different ways of thinking and behaving, that in turn will help us cope better. The basic premise of cognitive behavior therapy therefore, is that the way we think about events in our lives (cognitions) determines how we feel about them (emotions), which in turn influences how we react (behavior).

Cognitive Behavior Therapy also helps people to look at their “rules for living” called schemas. Schemas are cognitive structures or templates that organise how we think, feel, act, relate, and understand and are typically referred to as our personality style.  Schemas are outside of conscious awareness and determine how we interpret the world and respond to situations. Whilst cognitive structures can be adaptive, allowing us to process information rapidly, the same rapid processing can result in entrenched maladaptive structures.  This is because they are strong beliefs and assumptions about how we should live our lives, which we develop whilst we are growing up.

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