What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy? (Pros & Cons)
When you research therapies for anxiety and depression, one of the first terms you’ll come across is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Generally, you may know that CBT can help stop unwanted thoughts from reoccurring, or help you to manage difficult emotional responses.
It’s one of the most heavily researched and evidence-based forms of therapy available, making it a top solution for a wide range of issues.
But what happens during Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – and when might there be a better option?
Here at KMA, our experienced therapists help clients tackle issues like anxiety and depression through the use of CBT. We also provide customized therapy plans for all of our clients – so we understand when CBT may not be the best choice for you.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of what CBT is, the pros and cons, and what alternatives are available to you.
What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an action-based form of therapy that helps you gain control over your feelings and actions by examining the thoughts you have on a daily basis.
It is based on the idea that you have control over your feelings and actions, which are governed by the cognitions (thoughts) that we have on a daily basis.
CBT uses various exercises to help you re-write negative cognitions in a practical and short-term therapy approach.
What Happens During Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
During Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, your therapist will help you identify any negative thought patterns and beliefs you have, and establish strategies to change them.
For example, you may have a negative belief that one small disagreement in a relationship will cause it to end. This could lead you to avoid arguments at all costs, at the expense of your own needs.
CBT could address this situation by challenging why you believe this, establishing what you’d like to believe instead, and helping you to create new thought patterns based on this belief.
The main goals of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy are to:
- Help you understand how your negative thoughts may be impacting your beliefs about yourself and your life
- Support you in identifying what people, situations, or events reinforce these negative thoughts
- Learn how to challenge and change your negative beliefs
- Create new thoughts and skills for a healthier life
This may involve things like mindfulness techniques, journaling, and completing homework tasks between sessions.
Pros of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy applies to a wide range of issues – whether you’re experiencing issues with confidence at work or struggling to maintain healthy relationships, CBT can be a great solution.
Some of the benefits of CBT include:
- Gaining tangible skills and strategies that are applicable in your daily life
- Creating new and positive beliefs about yourself and your life
- Setting specific, measurable, and achievable goals
- Experiencing a set therapy timeline (8 – 16 weeks)
Cons of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
While there are many benefits to CBT, you may not feel like it’s the best option for you. While the structure of CBT can allow for quick and sustainable progress, it may not allow you to explore your emotions as deeply as you would like to.
The short timeframe of CBT can be an asset, but may also not work for people looking to unpack complex trauma or explore things that happened in their childhood.
CBT may not be the right choice for you if:
- You experience learning difficulties
- You’re experiencing complex mental health issues
- You feel the structure of CBT won’t allow you to fully explore your emotions
Alternatives to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
After exploring the pros and cons of CBT, you may be interested in learning about what other options are available.
Some alternatives to CBT include:
These therapy options allow for a deeper exploration of your experiences within the broader context of your life.
Next Steps For Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Toronto
After reading this article, you now have a better understanding of what Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is, the reasons why it may (or may not) be the best choice for you, and alternative forms of therapy.
Here at KMA, our passion is ensuring you receive the best therapy plan for the unique challenges you’re facing. This includes matching you with a great therapist and creating a customized treatment plan based on your needs.
Our introductory appointment will help you establish whether CBT or another form of therapy might be the best option for you.
If you’re not yet ready to connect with our team, read these resources for more information:
- If you’re unsure what your first therapy session will look like: What Should I Expect in a Therapy Introductory Appointment?
- If you want to understand why therapy can seem expensive: Is Therapy Worth the Cost?
- If you’re looking for a therapist in Toronto: How to Find a Therapist in Toronto