Our health can be very complex, and depends on the wellbeing of our bodies and minds. Taking care of those aspects of health can be complex, and particularly in the area of mental health where so much is still being discovered. Managing our mental health means keeping our lifestyle healthy, using medication and other medical solutions when necessary, and knowing when to turn to a psychologist or therapist for cognitive behavioral therapy.
How well do most of us do with this stuff? Well, the results are mixed. Americans are certainly turning to medication more often than they used to (with mixed results), but our lifestyles need some work: Studies show that Americans eat poorly and don’t get enough exercise. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma associated with cognitive behavioral therapy and other types of therapy. Too often we assume that therapy is only for those with serious mental health disorders.
We often skip sessions that could be helping us to live better, happier, and more fulfilling lives. Let’s talk about what cognitive behavioral therapy is, how and why it works, and why you should consider it.
What is cognitive behavioral therapy?
Therapy involves a therapist and your mental health. There are many types of therapists and several therapy approaches, explain experts at Therapy Group of NYC, a mental health practice helping with everything from career advice to LGBTQ-related therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (which the New York therapists specialize in) is a niche profession. It is a type of talk therapy that focuses on thought patterns and strategies for counteracting negative thoughts and behaviors. The approach isn’t necessarily about linking your current problems to past trauma or diagnosing you with hyper-specific disorders. It’s more practical.
The idea is to develop strategies for actively countering negative thinking. You may learn how to run through mental routines that test your responses to certain situations, or learn to start making lists of flaws in one’s own thinking. In time, cognitive behavioral therapy can help you conquer the negativity, fear, and anxiety inside of your own mind.
Why consider cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy can help with mental health issues like depression and anxiety, both of which are becoming increasingly common. It may be something that you are prescribed in order to help with those issues specifically, should you be diagnosed with one or the other (or both). However, it’s important to remember that there is nothing about cognitive behavioral therapy that’s specific to depression, anxiety or any other kind of mental health disorder.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is about understanding what we think, why we think it and how our thought patterns impact our behavior. It’s about developing new behaviors and strategies to counteract those thoughts and behaviors and make our lives happier and more fulfilling. Perfectly happy people can also benefit greatly from cognitive behavioral therapy, as it can truly be a holistically positive learning experience.
These are valuable tools in our everyday mental and emotional lives. Knowing how to respond to certain types of thoughts and impulses can help you be a better parent, a better worker, a better partner, a better friend and a happier person all around. It’s hard to imagine a person who couldn’t benefit to some degree from therapy.
Hopefully, therapy will someday be something that everyone understands and that virtually everyone chooses. It should be something as natural as going to the dentist or to a primary care physician. We’re not there yet, but you can choose that life for yourself by reaching out to a local mental health care provider and invest in your future starting with your mental health.