Cognitive, as in examining the things we think, and behavioural, as in examining the things we do, CBT is a goal-oriented style of talk therapy that addresses thoughts, beliefs and attitudes which in turn affect your feelings and behaviours. CBT has been demonstrated to be an effective psychological treatment for patients suffering from anxiety, depression and insomnia.
CBT works by highlighting the connections between a patients thoughts and feelings, with their behaviours. Many patients are unaware of the identity distortion in their thinking, and how harmful self talk can perpetuate mental health concerns. By identifying this two way relationship, patients can learn skills to retrain their brain.
The two way relationship between cognition and behaviour is broken down by the CBT model into three levels of cognition. The three levels of cognition are conscious thoughts (rational thoughts/choices), automatic thoughts ( flow rapidly, often irrational) and Schemas ( based on early childhood or life experiences - core beliefs for processing information). CBT asks and teaches patients to be mindful and practice journaling to identify when their automatic thoughts, or schemas are negatively affecting their behaviour or mental health. This “homework” helps cognitive therapists and care coaches provide practical strategies for patients.
An example of automatic thought could be thinking that you were going to be terminated from your career, because your boss sent you a calendar invite labeled “quick chat.” The cognition is the automatic thought of thinking you’re going to be fired, the behaviour could be the increase in your anxiety and depression symptoms resulting in you calling in sick for work.
A common example of schemas is feeling like your partner doesn’t love you, or wishes to end the relationship because growing up your parents divorced and had multiple partners throughout your childhood. The negative behaviour that could result from this cognition is increasing negative mental health symptoms, or specifically, leaving a partner before they have a chance to leave you.
At Cognito, the job of our Care Coaches and psychotherapy team is to show patients these correlations so the next time triggering incidents result in behaviours of increased mental health symptoms, our patients can identify this and eventually train their brain to more often respond with conscious thoughts.