Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Explained
Goals of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is actually exercise for the brain, and it has been studied by scientists for over a hundred years. The goal of CBT is to think faster and learn new information a bit more easily. Core cognitive skills are the ones utilized by the brain to learn, think, read, reason, remember and to pay attention. As information comes into our brains the core skills work together to take in new information and move it into your brain to an area you will access while at work, school or basically anywhere you might need the information.
Cognitive skills play an important role in our ability to process new information. If even one of these skills is weakened or if you are not retaining new information the brain is not being utilized properly. Most learning problems are due to one or more weakened cognitive skills.
Brain training became a $1.3 billion industry in 2013, and approximately 55% of that was software products. Not all software and computer games will help with cognitive deficits despite what may be advertised.
Who Needs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Other aspects of our brain health that need evaluation include:
- Motor functioning - How well do you control your movements?
- Emotional functioning - How well do you respond and interpret emotions?
- Sensory function - How well do you feel and respond to the sensations of touch, which includes pain, pressure and temperature?
Children may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy when they have the following problems:
- Sensory processing disorders
- Math and/or reading issues
- Auditory processing delays
- Learning and attention challenges
Adults with the following disorders may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy
- Anxiety disorders
- Sleeping disorders
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Sexual disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Substance abuse disorders
Traumatic brain injuries will also cause cognitive issues. Sometimes medication in addition to cognitive behavioral training is required to achieve the best results.
Cognitive Training Goals
As with any health problem eating a healthy diet, exercising, not smoking, getting adequate sleep and limiting the use of alcohol will result in a healthier person.
The Journal of Educational Psychology was the first to report on a recorded cognitive training study. CBT sessions typically last between five to twenty sessions.
Cognitive training focuses improving a variety of cognitive abilities including:
- Executive functions
- Working memory
This group of abilities are thought to correlate with individual differences that take a person’s education and life outcomes into account when assessing brain function. An individual's cognitive reserve is the capacity of an that person to meet the demands in their life. Cognitive training may be used with some diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and it is very useful for people with a decline in fluid intelligence occurring with advanced age. Therefore, if a person has long term memory problems, working memory problems, or reasoning skill problems then cognitive training would be helpful.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT Explained
Purpose of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This therapy is a method of addressing emotional challenges. The following list is some of the conditions that are treatable, such as:
- Managing symptoms of a mental illness
- Preventing relapses of mental illness symptoms
- Treating a mental illness when medicine is not an option
- Coping with loss or grief
- Learning techniques for coping with stressful life situations
- Learning to manage emotions
- Learning to resolve conflicts in relationships and better ways to communicate
- Managing chronic physical symptoms
- Coping with a medical illness
- Overcoming an emotional trauma related to some abuse or violence
How the Therapy Works
CBT usually focuses on specific problems. It tends to use goal-oriented methods and you may be asked to do specific activities, to do homework or reading. You will be urged to apply what you have learned in your session to your daily life. Your therapist will use an approach that depends on your particular problems and preferences. CBT may be combined with other therapeutic approaches, such as interpersonal therapy that focuses on relationships with other people.
CBT identifies the specific problems in your life, such as a medical condition, an impending divorce or a mental health disorder.
Cognitive decline is considered an unavoidable happening for senior citizens. However, the University of Texas in Dallas completed research showing that senior’s brains were more energy efficient and seniors did not have to work as hard to complete many tasks.
CBT teaches seniors to focus on the more relevant information and filter out the less relevant. CBT teaches that deeper thinking teaches seniors to not focus on the less relevant events. One recent study found that seniors who completed brain exercises for five or six weeks experienced improvements in their mental lasting for five years.
Some Brain-Boosting Exercises
There are some activities you can do at home that may help your mental acuity, so below is a list of possible activities.
- Logic puzzles
- Card games
- Arts and crafts
- Go dancing
- Sudoku games
- Build your vocabulary
- Word puzzles
- Trivia games
- Teach a new skill to someone else
- Learn a new language
- Use all your senses
- Listen or play music
- Fun and interactive games online
- Read fiction books and retell the tale
ABC Model of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
As a senior it is good to do all the things that make the body healthy, such as eating a good diet, exercising, stop smoking and reduce stress. Mind exercises improve an individual’s mental faculties over time. Memory and completing daily tasks can improve with the right mental exercises. It is also important to have a support group, which is ideally family but also may include close friends.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Pamela Oglesby