How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Can Help with Mental Health Issues

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Can Help with Mental Health Issues

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychotherapeutic treatment suitable for a wide range of mental health conditions. It proposes the view of thought processes, feelings, and behaviors being closely interwoven in a person’s psyche. A change in negative and irrational thought processes leads to a change in behavior and emotional health. CBT looks at how these areas interact with one another. Treatment leads to developing better thinking and coping mechanisms for healthier mental health outcomes.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Can Help with Mental Health Issues

What Is CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on facing the here and now rather than the past. It’s a short-term treatment, usually delivered in five to 20 therapy sessions. However, the number of sessions varies according to individual needs and specific problems.

At its most basic level, CBT believes that our thoughts and feelings influence our behavior. Emotional responses and behavior patterns change when we become aware of distorted or unhelpful thoughts.

Understanding CBT Strategies

Identification of Negative Thought Patterns

This helps the individual identify and make sense of their negative thoughts and beliefs. Completing a daily thought diary helps the individual track their thinking patterns.

Cognitive Restructuring

After identifying negative thought patterns, the individual works with the therapist to challenge and reframe those thoughts. This can involve revising the value of such thoughts or exploring other ways of thinking while testing the value of those thoughts.

Coping Skills Strategy Development

This is a practical skill taught in CBT to handle and reduce negative thinking and behavior. People achieve this through relaxation, problem-solving, and social interaction techniques.

Behavioral Activation

This strategy motivates the individual to engage in activities that they may have initially avoided, and as a result, elevate their mood while alleviating negative thinking and feelings of depression. A therapist may use role-playing as a way to give feedback or analyze a situation.

Exposure Therapy

The therapist encourages the individual to gradually expose themselves to fearful situations to help them gain confidence and reduce anxiety over time.

Using CBT to Treat Mental Health Problems


Patients experience a general elevation in mood from a modification of negative thought patterns and encourage positive behaviors.

Anxiety Disorders

The therapy helps the individual learn and face the source of stress and fear-provoking situations. CBT methods can help with some anxiety disorders including:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Specific phobias

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

A subtype of the therapy includes trauma-focused CBT and is successful in helping patients process and decrease trauma-based memory distress.

Eating Disorders

CBT is effective in treating anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder through the process of handling underlying thoughts and behaviors about food and body image.

Substance Abuse

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps individuals identify the thoughts and behaviors that trigger the urge to use substances. It helps patients with substance use disorder to develop coping strategies and prevent relapse.

Bipolar Disorder

Patients cope and deal with manic depressive episodes and improve medical adherence to the use of appropriate medication.


Schizophrenia symptoms including delusions and hallucinations can reduced by CBT. Having patients question their delusions and hallucinations, leads to better social and occupational functioning.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Compulsions and obsessive thoughts associated with these mental health disorders are reduced.

What are the Advantages of CBT?

Clients apply the skills learned in cognitive behavioral therapy treatments long after the therapy ends. The patient is empowered to manage their symptoms and avoid relapse on their own.

In CBT, a collaborative process is followed where the therapist and patient set goals and monitor progress. Beyond that, the flexible approach of CBT makes it an effective form of therapy for people at all life stages. This includes children, adolescents, adults, and seniors.

CBT may be done individually, in a group, or via telehealth. There is no need for the patient to be physically present at sessions to see beneficial outcomes from CBT.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Enhance Your Quality of Life

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the best treatments for resolving many mental health disorders. It allows the patient to understand and change the patterns in their mind, leading to long-term improvements in emotional and behavioral health.

CBT is an evidence-based therapy with roots in science. It is an empowering treatment for improving the mental structure and processing of the patient’s mind using a skills-based form of therapy.

Dialectical behavior therapy was developed as an extension of CBT. It focuses further on acceptance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal relationships. Both are therapeutic approaches to improve mental health.

Whether it’s depression, anxiety, PTSD, or any other mental health issue, CBT is a key treatment people can benefit from using to improve their quality of life.

Blue Sky Counseling – Mental Health Counseling Omaha, NE

I, Carly Spring, M.S., LIMHP, LADC, CPC, offer my specialized expertise to assist in the healing process to anyone who may be experiencing and suffering from a vast spectrum of mental health issues. Such mental health issues include behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, grief, loss, trauma, addiction issues, and life transitions. I believe strongly in applying a holistic perspective addressing your whole person not just the bits and pieces of you. Contact us with any questions or to talk with a mental health counselor in Omaha today.