Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a highly effective treatment for anxiety, depression and general behavior change. In CBT treatment, the client and therapist examine, evaluate and replace negative thinking patterns that are causing problematic feelings, thoughts, moods and behaviors.
We all have dysfunctional thinking patterns - it's natural, because as a human being it is impossible for us to see the bigger picture of life from a one-person point of view, which leads to mistakes in reasoning. Learning to identify and evaluate these thoughts can free us of the emotional trap to which they lead - often brooding about the past or feeling hopeless or anxious about the future.
Some examples of negative thinking patterns are the tendency to form negative predictions about the outcomes of situations ("catastrophizing") or to make incorrect assumptions about the motivations for people's behavior ("mind-reading"). In CBT, your therapist will provide you with psychoeducation about the most commonly used Cognitive Distortions and will help you to identify when you are falling into one of these harmful and upsetting thinking patterns.
Together, therapist and client evaluate thinking patterns for their evidence, usefulness and consequences. Your therapist, an objective ally trained in identifying thinking pitfalls, can give you options for seeing situations in a new light. You choose what works best for you. Unhelpful thought patterns are replaced with those that are reality-based, evidence-based, useful and positive, or even just more realistic. CBT empowers you by helping you to control what you can - your thoughts!