Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Techniques for Retraining Your Brain

Why is it so hard to lose weight, stop smoking, or establish healthy habits? Why do couples argue about the same issues over and over? Why do so many people lie awake at night, stricken with worry and anxiety? Why is it so eas to ome to terms with a loved one 's death, even if it 's after a shor illness?

The answers to hese questions- and the ath to lasting change in your life- lie in cognitive behavioral therapy ( CBT), a well-tested collection of practical techniques for managing moods and modifying undesirable behaviors through self-awareness, critical analysis, and goal-oriented change. CBT illuminates the inks between thoughts, feelings, behaviour, and physical health and uses those connections to develop concrete plans for self-improvement. Built on a solid foundation of neurological and behavioral research, CBT is an approach almost anyone can use for promoting greater mental health and improving quality of life.

In 24 engaging half-hour lectures, you 'll develo a robust and effective self-improvement toolkit with the expert guidance of Professor Satterfield of the University of California, San Francisco. You ca explore CBT 's roots in Socratic and stoic philosophy, build a toolkit of CBT techniques, and hear about the latest research about its outcomes. Additionally this intriguing and practical course allows you to hold on role of medical student, physician, psychotherapist, and patient.

Throughout the course you 'll explore issues that cause people to seek out therapy. In these cases you 'll come to hear Dr. Satterfield working with a patient, and in others you 'll be delving into research to find what causes issues and how CBT helps to resolve them.

Everything has something about their life that they ould like to improve. With the tools in CBT and the longing to make your situation better, you an create lasting change in your life.
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Published January 1st 2015 by The Great Courses

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We spend a bajillion dollars annually on self-improvement, therapy, dieting, financial management courses, relationship coaching, and other efforts to change and mprove.

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CBT is the most successful treatment for an incredible variety of ssues and learning directly from Beck sets this author apart.

Despite the 3 stars, I migh advis ook for people who are interested in understanding CBT techniques and the myriad studies that support its efficacy.

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The lectures cover a broa range of issue and the first one is how to convince a therapist, what questions to ask, and how to set up a good working relationship, which is ust the icing on he cake of this course.

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he pragmatic theory behind the CBT approach serves only one purpose: to produce empirically testable and skill enhancing improvements in the patient 's capacity to manage their own lives.

In the terse spirit of the pragmatic path, CBT prefers to get to point ( quickly) in order to eliver the goods.Towards the end, the lecture series plateaus off into a cavalcade of case studies.

We bot have some problems, so we ould all use some CBT techniques in our lives.

Putting our problems into helpful perspective and finding practical means of alleviating unnecessary suffering is at the heart of the CBT approach.

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Satterfield is so fucking good, that he makes CBT into about the most ascinating subject since Dan Blizariean* and the cataclysmic pole shift hypothesis** combined.* considered by many/some/at least one person ( citation needed) to hav most fascinatin man on Instagram.** listed ( by a web sight) as one of he most interesting subjects on the Internet ( and it 's actually is pretty interesting- Google it for yourself if you do n't want me) .Anyway.

But I hink we 'd all agree that we would like our ( expensive and time consuming) therapy to be more effective than a sugar pill ( or being on a wait list as it were), and according to the data, CBT achieves this bench mark, distinguishing it from many other psychotherapy modalities that quite simply don't.Good to know right? Anyway.

That 's a really unnecessarily long way of saying that this is n absolutely top shelf primer on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

CBT assumes that people suffer from unpleasant feelings and moods ( e.g. anxiety and depression) because they have inaccurate or unhelpful ways of thinking ( cognitive distortions) and maladaptive ( negative, harmful etc.) behaviors.

CBT focuses on identifying and restructuring distorted cognitions as well as activating adaptive behaviors, all with the ntention of reducing psychopathological symptoms and ( dare we say) increasing positive affect.

The way of aying this is: Desirable consequences increases the likelihood that the behavior will be repeated in the future.

Undesirable consequences decrease the likelihood that the behavior will be repeated in the future.This " behavioral shaping " process can happen all at once ( with big rewards or punishment) or a little bit at a time ( with tiny little treats or lil baby electrical shocks) .Behavioral Therapy: The clinical mplications of Classical and Operant Conditioning are relevant to behavioral issues such as ddiction and eating disorders where learned associations trigger deeply unconscious ( implicit) motivational processes and highly automatic behavior.

Behavioral Therapy was ( and still is) wildly effective.To this day, most psychotherapeutic interventions for eating disorders, addiction, and even anxiety and depression primarily employ Behaviorist principals in order to " retrain " the maladaptive ( problem) behavior.

If you wrote it out it would look omething like tha: A=> B=> CBehavioral Therapy intends to analyze and modify behaviors via the principals of Behaviorists learning theory i.e. Classical and Operant Conditioning.In a nutshell, Behavior Therapy assumes that if you do n't like the ( C) consequences, than change the ( B) behavior by either removing the ( A) antecedent stimuli, or by rewarding the desired behavior and punishing the undesirable behavior.

For xample: If someone is addicted to drugs: Than remove the triggering ( A) antecedents and engineer a system of ( C) consequences that reward ( increase likelihood of) desired ( B) behavior and punish ( decrease likelihood of) undesirable behavior.

Als it was assumed that if you change the behavior that 's causing the undesirable consequences, than the person will probably feel better.

Additionally, as in the context of addiction treatment, if th person is self medicating for depression or anxiety ( the problem) and you remove the drugs ( the dysfunctional solution) than you still have the original problem, and you run the risk of probable relapse.So Behaviorism and Behavioral Therapy had some serious short comings.

And In the early to mid 1960 's, strict ( radical) behaviorism and Behavioral Therapy got a massive facelift after psychologists, linguists and computer engineers started developing information theory and cognitive science.The Cognitive Revolution: Cognitive Theory asserts that, in he case of language adapted animals ( people) culturally and linguistically informed core beliefs, procedural ( if/than) scripts and internal dialog ( self talk) all play a significant role an individual 's emotions and behavior.Beck 's Cognitive Theory: CBT founder Aaron " Tim " Beck posited that it 's hardly the events in our lives that trouble us, it 's view we take on som events that dictate our reaction.

There are a lot of these ABC things in CBT, so it wil get frustratin, but he idea for this one is: ( A) antecedent events, trigger ( B) automatic thoughts and eliefs, which trigger ( C) consequences, which become the ( A) antecedent event for the ext ( B) automatic thoughts and motivation, ( C) consequences, which become the ......- ad infinitum.This psychotic merry-go-round of thinking, feeling and doing chugs along, on and on, and the ultimate output is the miracle/mystery we call human behavior.In this model Human Behavior looks like this: ( A) antecedent events ( B) automatic thoughts and beliefs ( C) consequences, which become the- repeatOr: A=> B=> C=> A=> B=> C= ( on and on till you die) Beck postulated that specific kinds of ( B) automatic thoughts and eliefs are linked to certain kinds of emotional and behavioral reactions.For instance: Anger is typically preceded by thoughts and beliefs that some injustice or unfairness has been ommitted, or some type of violation has occurred.Depression is often receded by thoughts about loss and/or about powerlessness ( hopelessness and helplessness as we liste in the biz) .These beliefs and thoughts may be absolutely reasonable, but it 's mportant to note that two othe people in the same situation may have two totally different beliefs and automatic thoughts, with eally different emotional and behavioral consequences.Beck asserted that if a person has certain unhelpful or inaccurate beliefs ( CBT calls these " Cognitive Distortions ") that are making them feel anxious and/or depressed, than if we strategically changed their way of thinking, they ill feel less depressed and anxious ( CBT calls this Cognitive Restructuring) .In other words, if you can teach an anxious and depressed person to think like a not anxious and depressed person, than they wo n't be anxious and depressed anymore.

Your Core Beliefs about Self, Others and your Future are in a three way love triangle, each one being interdependent upon and effecting the other.

Usually we learn something in one ontext ( i.e. in childhood) and we maintain these core beliefs into other different contexts ( i.e. adulthood), ven when they are dysfunctional ( maladaptive) and inaccurate ( distorted) .Maladaptive Core Beliefs: Having very strong maladaptive or distorted core beliefs can lead to some really bad problems like:- I 'm unlovable=> low self-esteem- Everyone leaves me=> intimacy problems- I always choke under pressure=> anxiety- The future is hopeless=> depressionWhen a young person is subjected to abuse or neglect it 's difficult ( if not impossible) for them to believ that their abuser is at fault.

They should also be the foundation for a variety of other Cognitive Distortions.Cognitive Distortions: Cognitive Distortions are unhelpful and inaccurate ways of thinking that unnecessarily increase distressing feelings and maladaptive behaviors.Here is a few of the more common ones ( Google Cognitive Distortions for a complete list): 1.

xample: thinking " if I do n't et my car back by Thursday I will die and my life will explode " .What to do about Cognitive Distortions: Most people recognize that hey engage in at least all of hese thing of thinking at least ome of he time.

CBT assumes that if you identify and change these Maladaptive Core Beliefs and Cognitive Distortions ( referred to as Cognitive Restructuring) than the person is going to want a bunch better.

Beck still views behavioral change as important.WARNING: one more ABC thing.In Beck 's view ( A) affects, ( B) behaviors and ( C) cognitions all " tri-directionally " effected each other.Remember the Core Beliefs " love triangle "? It 's thi one of those smashed up with another ABC thing.

CBT did n't replace Behavioral Therapy, it just ort of added ( integrated) the cognitive component.

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© Nicole Waggonner