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Thoughts impact how you feel: about yourself, about others and about the world around you. Cognitive therapy can help you adjust your way of thinking so you can overcome drug or alcohol addiction, anxiety, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. With the right attitude and perspective, you can take control of your life.

What Is Cognitive Therapy?

Cognitive therapy is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on helping you recognize negative thoughts and develop methods for coping with those thoughts. It can also have a behavioral component, where your therapist helps you engage your thoughts and how they affect your behavior.

When something negative happens to a person, they often take that event and attach their own sense of meaning to it. Doing this can create a biased view of the world and situations that arise, leading a person to react negatively to events that aren’t as dire as they seem.

These automatic thoughts may crop up at the strangest times, coloring your perception of a situation. You may not even be aware these thoughts exist, but they can have a definite impact on your life. They may prevent you from seeing the truth of a situation, thus reinforcing a negative thought pattern.

Cognitive therapy can help you recognize and break down these automatic thoughts, allowing you to view a situation without that bias. By helping you adjust your thought patterns, cognitive therapy encourages you to approach life with a different perspective.

How Does Cognitive Therapy Work?

Cognitive therapy is more structured than traditional therapy. Rather than a free-flowing exploration of whatever comes to mind, cognitive therapy narrows its focus to specific problems or situations. Your therapist will help you set goals based on these problems and situations.

Also unlike traditional therapy, treatment is more collaborative. You and your therapist work together to create goals, discuss breakthroughs and set homework assignments for practice beyond the scope of the session.

Focusing on specific issues can help you learn methods for coping when those situations arise. As you proceed through treatment, these coping methods can help you learn to adjust your perspective, attitudes and behaviors.

Once your outlook on life begins to change, you can begin to resolve other problems in your life. Anxiety can be fought, depression overcome and addiction bested.

Who Can Cognitive Therapy Help?

Because treatment focuses on your thought patterns and learning to control them, cognitive therapy can be beneficial for a variety of addictions, traumas or psychological issues. Positive thoughts can work wonders on your outlook on life and the ways in which you handle addiction, stress, anxiety, anger and depression.

Cognitive therapy can help prevent relapse for those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. You learn to identify problem situations and behaviors in yourself and apply methods for dealing with them. These can include talking through the consequences of substance abuse, identifying cravings and learning to cope with and overcome those cravings.

Those suffering from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological issues can also benefit from cognitive therapy. Each of these mental disorders can be helped by learning to recognize negative thoughts and redirect those thoughts toward a more positive, realistic outlook.

Cognitive therapy can be an effective form of treatment that emphasizes learning to recognize and cope with negative thoughts and create new attitudes and behaviors. If you are struggling with addiction, anxiety, depression or other mental disorders, cognitive therapy may help you find a better life.

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Cognitive Therapy: Thinking Your Way to Healing
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