Cognitive behavioral therapy — What is it?

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Courtesy of

By Gabrielle J. Melin, M.D. -March 19, 2009

Have you ever heard of cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT?

If you haven not, this blog will help you to understand how your thinking can affect your mood. The thoughts in your head can affect the way you feel, which can affect your behaviors.

For example, say you are talking with a group of other people. Your mood is good and you have been experiencing a positive day overall. The subject turns to a complaining session regarding work. Others chime in about how awful their job is, how they are overworked, etc.

Soon your mood sours and you are angry and upset, too. You add your two cents about how horrible your job is. When the conversation is over, you are starting to dwell on other negative aspects of your life. You return to your work area with a scowl on your face and another co-worker asks you what is wrong.

The same thing that happened in this situation can happen in your head when you are alone. You may start focusing on your depression and have a thought such as, “I got up late this morning, so now my whole day is ruined.”

This thought can be the spark that gets the fire burning. Fuel is added by thinking, “I can’t even get up on time, what use am I to myself or others?” The negative thoughts feed on themselves. You continue to talk negatively to yourself and, ultimately, you feel more depressed.

The thoughts can also be inaccurate. Inaccurate thoughts are also called “cognitive distortions.” These negative and inaccurate thoughts can be so ingrained that they become “core beliefs” that you live by. An example is, “I have never been successful at anything, so why even try?”

Cognitive distortions can worsen depression. Working with a trained cognitive behavioral therapist is the best way to learn CBT and to apply it effectively to your life. Depression and anxiety can be effectively treated with CBT. Cognitive behavioral therapy alone may not be enough, depending on the severity of your depression. Medication may be recommended along with CBT. Cognitive behavioral therapy is just one type of talk therapy. There are numerous other effective types. Talk with your health care provider to find the best type for you.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy based on the idea that your own distorted thoughts and beliefs lead to your negative moods and unhealthy behavior. Cognitive behavioral therapy says that other people, situations and events are not responsible for your mood and behavior — you are.

According to the theory behind cognitive behavioral therapy, you have automatic but inaccurate thoughts or beliefs in certain situations. These inaccurate thoughts lead to unhealthy moods and behavior, such as anxiety and overeating. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you become aware of these inaccurate thoughts and beliefs. You learn to view situations more realistically. This allows you to behave and react in a healthier way — even if the situation itself has not changed.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common type of psychotherapy. It combines features of both cognitive therapy and behavior therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful for numerous mental illnesses and stressful life situations.

Dr. Gabrielle Melin, board certified in general psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine, is looking for ways to empower patients and families dealing with chronic mental illness. She encourages patients to commit to working together with their physicians and health care teams. Dr. Melin completed medical school at the University of Minnesota. She completed both her psychiatry residency and consultation-liaison

© 1998-2009 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved



About jeanne hambleton

Journalist-wordsmith, former reporter, columnist, film critic, editor, Town Clerk and then fibromite and eventer with 5 conferences done and dusted. Interested in all health and well being issues, passionate about research to find a cure and cause for fibromyalgia. Member LinkedIn. Worked for 4 years with FMA UK as Regional Coordinator for SW and SE,and Chair for FMS SAS the Sussex and Surrey FM umbrella charity and Chair Folly Pogs Fibromyalgia Research UK - finding funding for our "cause for a cure" and President and co ordinator of National FM Conferences. Just finished last national annual Fibromyalgia Conference Weekend. This was another success with speakers from the States . Next year's conference in Chichester Park Hotel, West Sussex, will be April 24/27 2015 and bookings are coming in from those who raved about the event every year. I am very busy but happy to produce articles for publication. News Editor of FMS Global News on line but a bit behind due to conference. A workaholic beyond redemption! The future - who knows? Open to offers with payment. Versatile and looking for a regular paid column - you call the tune and I will play the pipes.
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