We do not always have control in life. Sometimes, things go awry. Long-awaited plans may get canceled. People we treasure may end up hurting us. When these things happen, we may feel a swirl of emotions and can turn into anger. It can be positive or negative, depending on what we do with it. Some people may quickly recover or control it while others can’t. The inability to manage anger may cause problems in our life. 

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Uncontrolled anger strains relationships, not only with others but with ourselves. Harmful actions such as physical and verbal abuse may happen as a result of uncontrolled anger. Thus, seeking professional help can significantly improve your anger management if you are suffering from this problem.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy found to help people suffering from anger issues. It focuses on building awareness of destructive thoughts and creating healthy responses to those thoughts.

Seeking professional guidance will help in determining the triggers and causes of your uncontrollable anger. Often,  it is a symptom of another mental health problem. It may be a sign of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), or bipolar disorder. These conditions can severely affect our quality of life. They make it hard to keep relationships and even function well at work or school.

Fortunately, CBT can address these problems. This therapy utilizes various techniques for patients to understand and manage their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. CBT focuses on a person’s present thoughts and beliefs. It is a short-term treatment backed by many studies.  CBT enables therapists to address their client’s issues by listening to their thoughts. 

CBT may be right for you if you are suffering from anger management issues or any mental health disorder. Here are some frequently asked questions about cognitive behavioral therapy.

What are cognitive-behavioral techniques?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques are cognitive restructuring, exposure, activity scheduling, successive approximation, mindfulness, and skills training. The cognitive restructuring aims to revisit and dig up one’s negative or dysfunctional thinking and develop new and healthier perspectives. Exposure is a method of overcoming fear by gradually exposing the person to the object or fear source.

Meanwhile, successive approximation and activity scheduling are manners of setting mini-goals, which is useful for difficulty accomplishing tasks. Lastly, mindfulness and skills training are techniques to embody and practice newly developed problem-solving skills and manner of thinking.

How do you do cognitive behavioral therapy?

CBT sessions are different from other psychotherapies because it is heavily structured, rather than the client freely talking. CBT’s structured nature is because it is driven to reform a particular way of thinking or behavior. In any case, the structure will still depend on the client’s initial assessment of what pressing problem the therapy will solve.

The CBT therapists will design a plan to address them, which are divided into mini objectives. There will be discussion points after every session to tackle the client’s progress and future path.

What does cognitive behavioral therapy involve?

CBT is concerned with helping deal with critical problems by teaching positive coping mechanisms and perspectives. It involves unpacking the inner thoughts and behaviors and reflecting on past responses to various problems. However, it is essential to highlight that CBT is more focused on your current problems than your past issues. It involves setting mini-goals for you to achieve, may it be psychological, physical, or following or changing a daily routine.

What are the key concepts of cognitive-behavioral therapy?

CBT works on the premise that thoughts, feelings, actions, and physical state are interconnected. It recognizes that thinking affects all aspects of life, including decisions, emotions, and physical well-being. What makes it different from other psychological therapies is that it focuses on problem-solving by looking into a person’s behavior, communication, and present thinking.

What are the 4 steps of cognitive restructuring?

The four cognitive restructuring steps are awareness/consciousness, evaluation, reflecting rationally, and reforming or replacement. The first step is awareness. It is becoming conscious of how you think and how it can potentially affect you. Afterward, assess whether your thoughts are rational and healthy.

After the assessment of thoughts, dig deeper into the reasons behind your perspective, and fact-check it. Finally, take action. Replace your distorted thinking, and plan how you are going to change it.

Can I do cognitive behavioral therapy on my own?

You can apply CBT techniques on your own. However, doing it with a professional gives you a more efficient result. If you do it on your own, remind yourself of some things as you practice CBT techniques. It might get frustrating, but remember to be kind and patient to yourself, respect your process, and do what you love. Grow a habit of being aware or mindful of your thoughts and actions and keep your perspectives in check. It would also help have a book or a program to guide you in doing CBT techniques.

What is CBT for anxiety?

CBT is the most commonly used therapy approach for addressing all sorts of anxiety disorders, including phobias and panic disorder. CBT works to identify and transform negative thoughts and ways of reacting. It also looks into behaviors that contribute to anxiety.

Exposure therapy for anxiety is through step-by-step systematic desensitization or gradual exposure to the trigger until its effect wears off. CBT for anxiety also uses other therapeutic techniques like exercising, relaxation techniques, hypnosis, and biofeedback (monitoring physiological functions).

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How do I practice CBT for anxiety?

Practice CBT by learning about your anxiety, becoming aware of your triggers and the reasons behind them. You must actively grow a healthier set of thinking and reacting and adopt a healthy mental and physical lifestyle. Invest in good connections and relationships with people who support you or who are in the same situation as you. As part of cognitive reframing, you also have to reduce your stressors. Find a way to minimize stress and instead focus on what makes you happy and relaxed.

How long does it take for cognitive behavioral therapy to work?

CBT is not a one-time-big-time overnight change. The usual CBTs take about 12 to 20 weeks, with each session lasting from 30-60 minutes. The practice and effectiveness lie outside of these session hours and more on the everyday applications.

What is CBT not good for?

CBT may not be appropriate for complex mental disorders, such as learning difficulties, social anxiety, and personality disorders. People with learning difficulties may find it hard to cope with the very structured approach of CBT. Simultaneously, it is hard and not that simple to do exposure therapy for people with social anxiety.

Aside from this, CBT may not be for individuals who need to address deeper problems in systems or families mostly because of CBT’s present-focused approach and not so much on past issues.

What are the three main goals in cognitive therapy?

The three main goals of CBT are 1) to help you develop new healthy skills and coping mechanisms, 2) to relieve symptoms and find solutions to the client’s current problems, and 3) to modify the client’s cognitive and behaviors.

Is Rebt a form of CBT?

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy or REBT is one of the earliest forms of CBT. It is a short-term therapy that focuses on present thoughts and feelings that are self-defeating. It also aims to replace it with healthier and more productive beliefs.

What is faulty thinking in CBT?

CBT defines faulty thinking as patterns of thinking that are self-defeating or are distorted perspectives of things. Cognitive distortions are when one’s ways of thinking do not match reality, whether they realize it or not.

How do I change my thinking patterns?

Understand how you look at things and re-examine how rational or are they just toxic and not based on reality? Another helpful practice is learning how to take criticisms and rejections, which we often take heavily. Learning how to take criticisms while still assertively defending yourself can help you think healthier.

Writing your thoughts and feelings will help you process them before it gets the best out of you. Remember also not to forcibly stop unwanted thoughts by merely shoving them off, but instead by positively addressing them.

What does a CBT session look like?

CBT sessions are either a 1-to-1 session or in groups with people in a similar situation as you. It usually takes 30-60 minutes. Sessions typically happen in a clinic, outdoors, or at your home. The first session is about assessments, while the subsequent sessions are oriented towards achieving mini-goals as planned.

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Before the development of CBT, behavior modification focused on reinforcements and punishments. While it was already in practice for years, it does not address the causes of the issue.  The inception of CBT greatly contributed to the treatment of various mental health disorders.  Mental health professionals have applied CBT in their practice to understand better how negative thoughts contribute to mental health problems. 

CBT is one of the first-line treatments for several disorders and conditions. Concrete goals guide this method to measure the progress of a patient’s recovery. With this, studies have easily measured CBT’s efficacy making it one of the most well-researched psychotherapy.  

CBT  can also be useful for other problems not necessarily caused by mental health issues. This therapy can tackle everyday issues ranging from improving sleep quality to handling the loss of loved ones. It can also address problems concerning stress and emotion regulation. 

If you or your loved ones suffer from any mental health disorder, seek immediate professional assistance like CBT. It can help in managing your thoughts and emotions. Also, CBT can significantly improve your outlook in life. You may also discuss what particular techniques within this treatment you want to try and learn to do at home with your therapist.

Proper emotional and behavioral regulation is essential for us to deal with life’s problems. It is normal to feel angry, anxious, or sad. But when these emotions become too much, seeking a professional’s help would help us regain a healthy body and mind.