You’ve probably heard about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It’s the recommended evidence-based treatment for anxiety and depression, but also for chronic pain and a host of other mental health/emotional ailments. Here’s a quick summary of what CBT is and how you can use it.
What it is:
CBT was developed by Aaron Beck, a psychiatrist, back in the late 1960s. Some see it as a counter, along with the behaviorism of B.F. Skinner, to the prevalent and heavy influence of psychodynamic/Freudian approaches to mental health at the time that focused on unraveling the past and doing long-term therapy.
What Beck focused on is thoughts — the notion that how you think affects how you feel. If you can change your thoughts, you can come to change your emotions. Over the years, others have focused more on behaviors; while you can’t directly control what you feel (you can’t right now make yourself happy), you can learn to control your thoughts — what you say to yourself — and you absolutely can control your behaviors. Change either thoughts and behaviors and/or both, and you can change how you feel.