Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic approach based on the cognitive model: how we interpret situations influences how we feel emotionally. CBT has demonstrated strong empirical support for the treatment of a wide variety of mental health concerns related to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and others. CBT is generally focused on the present, time-limited, and oriented toward solving problems. Through use of CBT principles, one can learn skills to change maladaptive behaviors, identify distorted thoughts, and modify irrational beliefs. Within counseling, it is common for the therapist to structure the sessions and actively challenge the client in a collaborative manner. Within this working alliance, it is common to engage in active problem solving, come up with alternative ways of thinking and/or behaving, and commit to engaging in therapeutic homework (related to specific therapeutic goals) between sessions.

The idea is to gain a concrete and fact-based understanding of what thoughts and behaviors enable one to do well, so that those thoughts and behaviors can be strengthened through reinforcement and repetition. Maladaptive thoughts and behaviors are challenged through questioning their validity, seeking evidence for and against false beliefs, and actively testing out hypotheses that beliefs or situations are truly as they appear.

Common Self-Defeating Thoughts… and Solutions

“A sick thought can devour the body’s flesh more than fever or consumption.” – Guy de Maupassant When you’re in the midst of a repetitive pattern of self-defeating thoughts it can be tough to see any alternatives. In fact, self-defeating automatic thoughts can become so repetitive that you may have never even considered the mere…

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Behavioral Steps to Address Perfectionism

“Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.” – Henry van Dyke Perfectionistic ways of thinking and behaving are often rooted in deep-seated core beliefs that can be quite resistant to change. The need for perfection can be related to closely attaching one’s…

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6 Core Beliefs of High Achievers

“Men succeed when they realize that their failures are the preparation for their victories.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson Core beliefs are fundamental views that we have internalized about ourselves, other people, and the world. These beliefs are generally so central to our identity and worldview that they often go unquestioned. We often develop core beliefs…

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Set Realistic Goals for the New Year

“The great and glorious masterpiece of man is to know how to live to purpose.” – Michel de Montaigne As you begin to live your life in 2012, ask yourself how you might be able to make successful New Year’s resolutions this year. How might your personally chosen goals for yourself have a greater chance…

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