Cognitive Behavioral Therapy—Therapists and Counselors in Conway, AR
Think right now, for a moment, about a situation that you would love to change. Maybe it is a difficult relationship, like an overbearing parent or a contentious spouse. Maybe it is a professional goal you want to achieve, like landing a certain job or promotion. Maybe it is a physical change, like eating well or running 5k race. What do you want to achieve? Now, think for another moment about what might be holding you back? For most people, the biggest hindrance to making important changes in their lives is not an external factor but an internal one: their own negative thinking. Have you told yourself something like… “I always work so hard and then everything falls apart right before I reach the finish line.” Or what about… “I feel so inadequate. There is no way I could reach that goal.” These are examples of cognitive distortions, and while everyone experiences them to some degree or another, everyone can also learn to change them into more positive, truthful thoughts. In fact, changing your thinking may be the key to changing your life. Many people are experiencing the power that changing their thoughts can bring to their life, and they are doing so with the help of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” —Carol Burnett
CBT focuses upon changing people’s lives by first changing their thought patterns. Internal change often comes first as external change follows. Hardships. Setbacks. Difficulties. These external realities will always be. No one is exempt, and people cannot always change their circumstances, but they can exert significant control over their thoughts and feelings. In clinical trials, CBT helped clients experience lasting change through adjusting their thinking. In particular, clients with anxiety and depression felt symptom relief from CBT that equaled the relief they experienced from medication. CBT is a proven therapeutic method for sustainable change in people’s lives because it often equips them with cognitive and emotional skills they are able to utilize for the rest of their lives.
The counselors and therapists at Thriveworks Conway offer cognitive behavioral therapy, and we have seen first-hand the power of changed thinking.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: What Is It?
During a session of CBT, therapists and clients will often work through a specific and practical scenario the client is currently facing. It may be any psychological, social, emotional, and/or relational challenge. Together, the therapist and client process the event. The focus is not upon the event per se, but the time is usually focused upon how the client is responding to and thinking about the event.
Although this list is not exhaustive, a few of the difficulties clients may present at CBT may be related to…
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- General health issues
- Self-destructive habits
- Relationship issues
- Anger management
- Mood swings
- Drug and/or alcohol addiction
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Child and adolescent issues
As clients and therapists process the client’s circumstances, they will seek to identify any negative, untrue thoughts—any cognitive distortions. For example, consider Jeff. He is experiencing some anxiety and some relational problems with his parents. His parents want him to come visit for the Memorial Day weekend, but he wants to stay home and spend the weekend with his boyfriend. Jeff thanked his parents for the invitation and declined it. Only now, he feels really guilty and thinks he may have made a big mistake with his parents. He keeps thinking, “I’m a terrible son.”
As Jeff and his therapist process his thought about this event, they see that Jeff will be visiting his parents for the Fourth of July. Yes, his parents are upset and yes, Jeff feels guilty, but in reality, he has not done anything wrong. He made a respectful choice. Seeing the situation from this perspective has helped Jeff let go of the guilt he was feeling.
Examples of Common Cognitive Distortions
The negative, untrue thoughts that plagued Jeff will haunt everyone at some point. They are common but very destructive because thoughts are intertwined with actions. Untrue thinking often escalates to unhelpful actions. The first step in breaking that escalation is to recognize cognitive distortions. A few common ones include…
- “Black and white” or polarized thinking puts all of life into an either-or category: horrifying-or-peaceful, good-or-bad, delicious-or-disgusting.
- Filtering negates anything positive or good. Only the negative and adverse reaches a person’s perspective.
- Catastrophizing expects the worst outcome. Signs that something may turn out well are dismissed and any setback is taken as a sign of impending doom.
- Overgeneralization takes one experience and draws a universal principle from it. Like Jeff in the example above, one tough interaction with his parents does not mean that he is a bad son.
- Blaming seeks to assign fault whenever and wherever it can. However, often times, blame is neither necessary nor helpful.
- Emotional reasoning makes one’s internal feelings equivalent with an external realty. Like Jeff’s situation, Jeff felt guilty, but he did not do anything wrong. The feeling and the external circumstances are different realities.
Appointments for CBT at Thriveworks Conway
What changes would you make if you could? If you are ready to make changes, we are ready to help. Thriveworks Conway has appointments available for cognitive behavioral therapy.
If you contact Thriveworks Conway, your first appointment may be the following day. We work with most insurance plans, and we do not keep a waitlist. Weekend and evening appointments are available.
Let’s work together. Call Thriveworks Conway today.