Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy In A Nutshell

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Here is a useful diagram to understand the underlying premise of cognitive behavioral therapy:

cbt2

Most of us don’t think in terms of the above schematic. We don’t factor our beliefs about the world, our hidden biases, into the equation. We’re all narcissists to a greater or lesser degree, and what this narcissism causes us to do is to treat many of our own subjective interpretations of events as if these interpretations were objective reality, as if they weren’t interpretations at all but simply the way things are. No need to question or actively challenge our beliefs, no need to look for evidence to confirm or deny them, because for us they aren’t experienced as beliefs, they’re experienced as reality.

Our narcissism compels us to think of the world in terms of the diagram below:

cbt1

So the great power of cognitive behavioral therapy is to open up a bunch of hidden space in between activating events and consequences in order to spend more time reflecting at a stage that really matters but is given short shrift.

It’s our beliefs about activating events that lead to the consequences, not the activating events themselves. And many of these beliefs are faulty thinking patterns, also known as cognitive distortions. Like we already said these patterns of thought cause us to process activating events in skewed ways that we take for granted as valid, and these ways lead to dysfunction in life and relationships without us even realizing it.

Greetings I'm Michael, the owner of Evolution Counseling and the author of all the articles on this site. I got my master's degree from Seattle University in community mental heath counseling and have committed myself to advancing my knowledge of psychology and my own theoretical system ever since. The content here represents my personal evolution of thought. I've also become a big fan of photography and I take all the pictures you'll see at the top of articles. We don't advertise to get traffic so this site's increasing popularity is grassroots, it's based on you and people like you deciding for yourselves that these articles are a good source for psychological insight and that they're worth sharing with others.