Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was developed in the 1960s by psychiatrist, Aaron Beck. CBT is a structured, short-term, goal-oriented form of psychotherapy that “targets multiple areas of potential vulnerability (e.g., cognitive, behavioral, affective) with developmentally-guided strategies and traverses multiple intervention pathways.” Young people enter adolescence with outdated emotional coping mechanisms. As teenagers mature, they are faced with new challenges that demand more refined and complex coping strategies. CBT encompasses numerous strategies, focusing on an array of topics, such as extinction, habituation, modeling, cognitive restructuring, problem-solving, and the development of coping strategies, mastery, and a sense of self-control. The steps of CBT include the following, provided by Psychology Today:
- Identify troubling situations and/ or conditions in your life (e.g., divorce, a medical condition, anger, grief, etc.).
- Become aware of your emotions, thoughts, and beliefs connected to these troubling situations.
- Identify inaccurate and/ or negative thinking that may be contributing to your troubles.
- Reshape inaccurate and/ or negative thinking. To help facilitate this step, a therapist may encourage you to ask yourself if your view of the situation is based off an inaccurate perception of the situation or off facts.
CBT is often used with adolescents as it is recognized as an effective treatment method for youth struggling with a wide range of mental health issues including eating disorders, substance use, anxiety, and depression. Verywell Mind illuminates several benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy for teenagers, some of which include the following:
- Honed ability to shift negative thought patterns toward positive thinking.
- Enhanced self-compassion.
- Identify positive responses to stress.
- Improved communication with others.
- Interrupt thoughts that lead to addictive or other self-destructive behaviors.
- Learn to skillfully manage and reduce irrational anxiety, fears, and phobias.
- Enriched self-esteem.
- Become more adept at navigating social situations and interactions, which reinforces healthy adolescent social and emotional development.
Through CBT an adolescent will learn to understand that the way they behave has a direct correlation with their personal attitudes and emotional problems. The CBT framework aims to help young people break unhealthy behavioral patterns by identifying and replacing dysfunctional patterns with positive thinking patterns. It focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and developing personal coping strategies to problem solve effectively.
For Information and Support
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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