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gamefu91's avatar

What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and how can i learn it?

Asked by gamefu91 (588 points ) December 23rd, 2010

What is CBT?
What is it used for?
Any book for learning CBT?
Any video-courses for this?

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7 Answers

gasman's avatar

Is there anything Wikipedia can’t tell us?

Then of course there’s Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies at amazon.

Imagine the possibilities of throwing Google into the mix! Including images.

A quick check of Quackwatch and other skeptical sites raises no red flags about cbt—it’s apparently legit. I know nothing of the subject myself…

ETpro's avatar

I have two knee-jerk reactions when I read this question.

1—Don’t turn to the Urban Dictionary for guidance on CBT. It may actually work to modify behavior, but I am pretty sure it isn’t what you are searching for..
2—Any behavioral modification therapy so new you have to ask for resources needs time for the market to test it—unless you are, yourself a junk-science huckster who doesn’t mind making a buck on the placebo effect and other people’s gullibility.

Just saying…

Cruiser's avatar

CBT in it’s rawest simplest form is role playing through what ever it or the situations and circumstances that seem to cause you strife or difficulty in life. You discuss what you do wrong and role play what you should or need to do in a better, safer, more productive way. You rehearse and role play it over and over until it becomes somewhat natural and automatic response for you! You learn to think before you react which helps you avoid the landmines in life that are currently triggering stressful moments for you.

lilalila's avatar

It’s a combination of cognitive therapy and behavior therapy, so it draws techniques from both.

Cognitive based therapy operates on the principle that your beliefs and attitudes shape your behavior and mood rather than triggering events (that is, your divorce isn’t making you feel inadequate; your belief that your divorce was caused by your inability to do anything right/your being ugly/your being not enough of a man is causing you to feel inadequate). Techniques are highly diverse, but some things they do are to identify your damaging beliefs and have you argue against them, have you imagine increasingly stressful situations, roleplaying, etc.

Behavior therapy operates on the idea that behavior is the key to your mental distress. Basically, it’s like treatment of the symptoms of disease rather than a complete cure. In behavior therapy, patients are given instructions on how to act differently, or to gradually change specific behaviors that are disturbing them by implementing at-home practices/homework assignments.

CBT is considered an effective treatment for a myriad of mental ailments, but is used most famously for depression and anxiety. You can learn it at graduate school in Psychology, or if you don’t want to be a practicing CBT therapist and are just curious about it, there are college classes you can take, or wikipedia.

Supacase's avatar

Read Feeling Good by David Burns. Not only is it a helpful book, it explains CBT very clearly in the early pages.

klutzaroo's avatar

A load of crap.

CBT is an overly well-thought-of form of therapy that modifies thoughts and behaviors to change (or change perception) the person or have the person change the situation that is causing them to seek counseling through role playing. Its a “say it until you believe it” kind of thing. There are many more effective and proven therapies out there that focus more on actual change than the perception of change and our role in our lives. Talk therapy can be incredibly effective, but the methodology of CBT rubs a lot of people the wrong way.

Its been suggested (and I happen to agree) that the people who are so successful “using CBT” are actually straying from what teachers of CBT would teach you. Most practitioners, as they gain experience, stray a little from whatever approach they’re taught in school to make it work for them. Some abandon what they thought worked entirely and find another school of thought or form their own about what works. It isn’t far-fetched at all to think that maybe some of these people who do have success are leaning way more on either side of the fence (into the proven therapies) rather than trying to straddle it and use both methods at once/together.

All that being said, here’s a video.

If you want to study in this field, find something else that focuses on brief therapy. Something that won’t waste your time. It takes about 2 years to go for a Master’s in therapy and wasting that much time to find out that you’re in a program that teaches something that you can’t make work in real life blows.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s funny. Everyone here took your question to mean that you wanted to learn in order to become a practitioner. I took it to mean you wanted to learn so you could help yourself.

My recommendation is that if you want to use it for yourself, don’t learn it from a book. Find someone—preferably a therapist—to treat you using those techniques.

I made a big mistake in trying to learn it from a book—“Feeling Good,” as it happens. Rather than empowering me, it made me feel much worse. It provided tools and yet, when I applied them, they didn’t work, and I blamed myself for them not working, and that sent down further, and the more I tried, the more I failed.

My therapist had recommended the book, and when I told her what was happening, she said I could throw it away. If that didn’t work, we’d find something that would work. I think that was the single most helpful thing she ever told me. It made me realize, in one swell foop, that it wasn’t my problem. It was just that we had the wrong tool.

We turned to mindfulness (I think it’s known as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT), which turned out to be more more my style. Rather than being responsible for my recovery, mindfulness allowed me to give up. It told me that I couldn’t stop the feelings. On the other hand, I didn’t have to give them much credit, either.

That worked for me. Like CBT, DBT is evidence-based therapy. Both have undergone study at prestigious Psychology schools, and have been proven effective. Both are potential tools in the psychological health tool kit. I don’t see why one wouldn’t be able to use both. I know a number of people who have had that kind of therapy and found it helpful. I know one person who is actively using it now, and she swears by it.

My perception is that CBT works better for people who aren’t all that self-aware. It destroy people who analyze more. DBT is better for the more philosophical types.

Anyway, if you want to learn CBT, one of the best places you can go is the Psychology Department at the University of Pennsylvania—the place where the therapy was developed and researched. Lots of serious, well-known people in CBT do research there.

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