What is Cognitive Therapy?
Cognitive therapy is based on the cognitive model which asserts that our thoughts and perceptions of events strongly influence our emotions and behaviors. It is not a situation in and of itself that determines what we feel, but the way in which we interpret it. Feelings follow thinking and therefore our thinking has power over our emotions!
The practice of cognitive therapy began from the clinical observations and systematic studies of Aaron T. Beck MD. He theorized that there was a thinking problem at the heart of many mental health and relational problems based on the way the patient viewed their specific circumstances and experiences. Cognitive therapy teaches how to Identify, Evaluate and Modify thoughts in order to produce relief of problematic emotions and find practical solutions to everyday problems. It is especially beneficial for specific problems such as anxiety, depression and issues relating to self worth such as assertiveness, confidence and social self-assurance. This therapy involves the teaching of principles for practical living, modeling, skills training, restructuring and problem solving.
Most of us relate how we feel to the events, things and circumstances in our lives, so we spend a lot of time attempting to arrange and change circumstances so we will be happy. But the truth is that emotions and behaviors are not dependent on our environment, but our thoughts and belief systems, our self talk. Our choices of our thoughts about events- our self talk-create our emotions!