Cognitive behavioral therapy
It's early evening and your partner is long overdue for being home from work. You look at the clock and think: “Where is he/she now? Most likely, he will stay at work a little longer to complete an important task.” You feel that you are proud of your partner who takes work so seriously and you continue to cook relaxed. You may also think: “I don't understand where he/she is at all. He/she must have not paid attention to the time again and is late for food for the umpteenth time.” You notice that you are getting angry with your partner and you consider with a beating heart how you can confront him / her about this as soon as he / she comes home. Finally, you may also think, "Oh, if only he/she hadn't had an accident and been injured." You feel fear rising and you walk through the house with a beating heart.
Cognitive behavioral therapydeals with the exploration of thoughts that influence our feelings, bodily experiences, and behaviors.
“Cognitive” means “thinking processes”, “knowledge” and “perception”.
In this form of therapy, therefore, the thoughts are central. It is assumed that all events are neutral and that we give events meaning through our perception or the way we think about this event. Then we react to the event in a certain way.
So, our perception of an event (son is late) determines how we feel emotionally (proud, angry or scared), physically (relaxed, beating heart, sweating hands) and behaviorally
(continue cooking, come up with a response to your partner, walk around the house) respond to that.
The treatment looks like this.
First of all, it is important to detect the negative thoughts that arise about the problem or complaints and to find out what unpleasant feelings they evoke. This is sometimes not so easy because these thoughts arise spontaneously or automatically over time, so that one is no longer really aware of them.
When the negative automatic thoughts are clearly defined, it is checked whether they correspond to reality. The client now learns to form new, positive and more realistic thoughts and to apply them in certain situations. These positive thoughts then evoke positive feelings, bodily reactions, and behaviors.
The duration is generally 10 – 12 sessions and the client is expected to practice a lot between sessions.