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  • Dr. Sanjana Saraf

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive or cognition in a counselling and therapy setup means a stream of thoughts that occupy an individuals’ mind or awareness. The main idea behind cognitive behavioural therapy is threefold: 1. Cognition affects behaviour, 2. Cognitive activity can be identified, monitored, altered and modified and, 3. Desired changes in behaviour are achievable by cognitive changes. The aim of cognitive behavioural therapy derives from the above three principles. In the initial stages of therapy aims to reduce distress by teaching skills that are behavioural and skills to recognise understand and modify relevant thought processes. In the later phases, the role of cognitive behavioural therapy is to foster an understanding of themes in one's maladaptive thinking, in order to bring about modifications in long-standing patterns of attitudes and beliefs. The latter part if not addressed leaves residual symptoms and also the client prone to relapses in the face of future stressors. During cognitive behavioural therapy, the therapist is empathetic yet active and problem-focused. During this process, the patients are also encouraged to participate actively in gaining an understanding of their problem. They are also encouraged to apply skills learned in therapy to their daily life functioning. These efforts ensure better outcomes. It is important to note that only a limited number of issues can be covered during a single session. Therefore, cognitive behavioural therapy is more prescriptive and structured, especially during the early sessions. Cognitive behavioural therapy addresses a variety of problems like depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, personality problems and etc. It is also used side by side with some psychiatric and neurological treatments like psychosis, bipolar disorders, mild dementia etc.

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