Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) was developed by Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s. CBT intervenes at the level of cognitions, or thoughts, to help people develop more balanced, healthy, and realistic ways of thinking to improve thier mood and behavior. Specifically, CBT seeks to change what are commonly referred to as cognitive distortions. There are many different types of cognitive distortions; for example, catastrophizing or thinking the worst case scenario. Oftentimes, CBT therapists will have clients keep a thought record to help them catch, check, and change their cognitive distortions. There are many apps now available such as MoodKit, Mood Tools, and Moodnotes to help you do so.
If you can use CBT to change your thinking great! But many people find it difficult. In fact, there is research that shows trying to stop or control your thinking can actually backfire (Abramowitx, Tolin, & Street, 2001; Campbell-Sills, Barlow, Brown, & Hofmn, 2006; Wenzlaff & Wegner, 2000). Thankfully, the traditional CBT approach from the 1960s is not the only option! Like most things, the approach has evolved over time. So, what is the new CBT? Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)! Don't know what ACT is? Learn more about it in this post!
Please note that the information in this blog is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for psychological or medical care. If you are looking for professional help, visit my resources page for guidance on how to find a therapist. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest ER.
Abramowitx, J.S., Tolin, D.F., & Street, G.P. "Paradoxical Effects of Thought Suppression: A Meta-Analysis of Controlled Studies." Clinical Psychology Review 21 (2001): 683-703. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0272-7358(00)00057-X.
Campbell-Sills, L.D., Barlow, D.H., Brown, T.A., & Hofmn, S.G. "Effects of Suppression and Acceptance on Emotional Responses of Individuals with anxiety and Mood Disorders." Behaviors Research and Therapy 44, no. 9 (2006): 1251-1263. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2005.10.001.
Wenzlaff, R.M., and Wegner, D.M. "Thought Suppression." Annual Review of Psychology 51 (2000): 59-91. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.51.1.59.