Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 101

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) isn’t a new concept; it’s been around for over 80 years. But, in recent years, it’s started to come back as a useful and reliable approach. In fact, it’s being hailed as highly successful in the way it provides day-to-day relief from many mental health issues.

Today, we’re going to share with you some of CBT’s tools and techniques. Read our Cognitive Behavioral Therapy101 guide to learn more.

Let’s get started.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 101

So, what is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy exactly? CBT is a blend of cognitive and behavioral therapy treatments that were developed in the 1960s by Aaron T. Beck.

This type of psychotherapy is based on the belief that our thinking controls how our lives turn out. In other words, how we think (cognition), the way we act (behavior), and the way we feel (emotion) are all connected.

The main focus of almost every CBT session is on how to shift our thinking from negative to positive. It also aims at overcoming self-defeating behavior, which ultimately leads to recurring episodes of depression and anxiety.

CBT can work on its own or in combination with other types of therapies. Either way, it helps us reduce our anxiety levels. More importantly, it teaches us various hands-on ways to deal with stressful situations.

The job of a CBT therapist is to try and get us to change our negative thought patterns to be more positive and hopeful. By changing our thinking, we can regain control over our lives. They encourage us to shift our mindsets for the better, regardless of what’s going on in our lives.

CBT is suitable for almost all types of mental and emotional health issues. Although, it’s more typically used to help treat the following:

  • Anxiety and mood disorders
  • Various disorders, such as PTSD, eating, or panic disorders
  • Depression
  • Anger management
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Certain phobias, such as agoraphobia

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Goals

CBT has proven to be effective in allowing us to take charge of our lives, rather than letting external forces manipulate us. One way it’s proven its success is that it sets realistic goals. It also encourages clients to take an active part in therapy by directing their attention to the present instead of focusing on the past.

Most therapists will assign clients various tasks to complete on their own. These tasks are an opportunity to modify thought patterns. They also help establish healthy, practical coping methods.

Check out a few other goals that you can achieve through CBT:

  • Recognize that you’ve become stuck in a pattern of unhealthy thought patterns
  • Transform negative thoughts into more realistic positive ones
  • Make the right choices in difficult situations
  • You have the ability to make good choices – have faith in yourself

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Sessions

The beauty of CBT is that it doesn’t stick to one formula and try to apply it to everyone. It’s malleable and easily customizable.

Yet, every therapist has one aim in mind: to help their client achieve a certain goal. Depending on the situation, each goal has to be SMART, as in:

  • Specific to you and the current events happening in your life
  • Measurable goals need to be broken down into elements you can gauge and assess weekly
  • Achievable goals are those that get you out of your comfort zone while still being possible to do
  • Realistic goals give you a practical target to strive toward and help contribute to what you want to achieve in life
  • Time-bound goals have a start and completion date so you can learn how to divide your time wisely and get more done.

Here’s a general outline of what you can expect to happen in a CBT session:

  1. Check the overall mood
  2. Review events of the previous week and identify negative thoughts
  3. Talk about the assigned ‘task’ including which goals were met and which weren’t 
  4. Discuss how to reshape thinking patterns that may be contributing to the problem
  5. Set a new set of goals for the upcoming week
  6. Assign a new ‘task’

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Pros and Cons

We’ve seen how CBT is effective and can be useful in treating many mental health issues. Yet, as with everything, it has its benefits and drawbacks.


  • Is considered to be short-term compared with other forms of therapy
  • Works great in cases where medicine, like antidepressants, doesn’t work by itself
  • CBT techniques are available in different formats, such as self-help books, group therapies, and apps
  • Teaches practical coping methods that you can apply in everyday life, both during and after treatment


  • Isn’t suited for those with learning difficulties or complex mental health issues
  • Doesn’t delve into past problems, which could be the underlying cause of the problem
  • Regular CBT sessions and ‘tasks’ can be time-consuming
  • Involves facing your anxiety, which can be difficult for some people

A Final Note

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has become a highly sought-after treatment method. It’s suitable for many mental health issues because it can be customized to each client’s individual needs.

Find a knowledgeable therapist who can help you pinpoint the right CBT techniques for you. This way, you get personalized treatment to help bring about the positive changes you need in your life.

Mindset/Strenghts Personal Growth Self Care

Treat Yourself As You Would A Friend

Would it surprise you if I told you that one of the best ways to gain a positive and optimistic outlook is by practicing some self -compassion. 

Frequently people confuse self-compassion with self-indulgence or even selfishness. But being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others, if not more so. 

1 Self-Compassion Makes You More Optimistic

Being kind to yourself means you can stop that vicious cycle of self-blame and recrimination. It prevents you from ruminating on past mistakes and builds your resilience and confidence so you can pick yourself up and get back on track. 

When you start giving yourself more kindness and encouragement, you will find you mood lifts, your anxiety levels drop and you will become more hopeful and optimistic about the future.

2 Cultivate Mindfulness

Perhaps the best way to start your self-compassion practice is to adopt a more mindful attitude to life. Being mindful focuses on the now – accepting where you are right now in life and accepting yourself as you are right now. With all your faults and all your glory. Accept that whatever you’re experiencing and feeling in the present moment is okay. 

Mindfulness and self-compassion help you to overcome denial and hesitation in your reality. It allows space for hope to come in. 

3 Accept that Hard Times Are Part of the Deal

We all have good time, bad times and hard times. Often the bad things that happen are out of your control. All you can do is decide how you’re going to react. Will you be overwhelmed, or will you be angry? Or will you accept and learn from your experiences, and then formulate a plan to start over?

In times of fear or illness or natural disasters or any other of life’s stressors, self-compassion allows you to take guilt or blame out of the equation and deal with whatever you’re faced with. 

4 Treat Yourself As You Would A Friend

Some and pause for a moment to reflect on your reactions. What is your self-talk saying to you? Are you reassuring yourself that things will work out okay, or are you beating yourself up for something you did or didn’t do? Would you talk to your best friend like that? How would they feel?

Be as gentle in your self-talk as you would to a loved one who is in crisis. Be loving and kind, and reassuring. Give you self some compassion and some encouragement so you can help yourself get back on track towards better times. 

Mindset/Strenghts Self Care

5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Ageing Process

Everyone grows older, but that doesn’t mean the aging process can’t be improved.

Are you aging well?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines actively aging well as the process of increasing and improving opportunities for health, participation, and security to enhance a person’s quality of life.

You can improve your aging process by focusing on your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Grip Strength

According to a study in Clinical Interventions in Aging, grip strength is related to multiple health and happiness markers. Improving your grip strength can also improve your:

  • Upper Limb Function
  • Overall Strength
  • Fine Motor Skill
  • Cognitive Ability
  • Emotional State

Good grip strength allows you to age well and remain active and independent. To strengthen your grip strength, try this exercise:

  • Squeeze a squish or tennis ball with your whole hand 5 to 10 times
  • Repeat using only your thumb and index finger.
  • Repeat using your thumb and each other finger.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or underweight puts you at risk for chronic diseases, health conditions, and potentials falls and fractures. Doctors determine weight based on your Body Mass Index (BMI). Your BMI is a calculation of your body fat based on your height and weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), your weight status is determined by your BMI. The levels of weight status are:

BMI Weight Status

Below 18.5 – Underweight

18.5—24.9 – Normal

25.0—29.9 – Overweight

30.0 and Above – Obese

Researchers have determined that a BMI of 25 or more is a risk for chronic disease and poor health. To maintain a healthy weight, the CDC recommends that your diet contains:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Lean Protein Sources
  • Low Fat
  • Low Sodium
  • Little Added Sugars

Lean protein sources include fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, and soy products. Low-fat foods should be low in saturated and trans fat and cholesterol. Talk with your doctor about how many calories you need every day and plan your diet within that allowance.

Stay Active

Your activity level helps you maintain good muscle mass, strength, and bone density. According to a study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, adults age 52 and older tend to have a decreased activity level, leading to poorer health outcomes. The CDC recommends older adults engage in:

  • 150 Minutes a Week of Moderate Intensity Aerobic Activity
  • 2 Days of Strength Training a Week
  • Activity as Tolerated

If you have health problems, talk with your doctor about what activities are safe for you. Be as active as possible and increase your activity level as you grow stronger. Staying active helps you age well by improving your:

  • Posture
  • Stamina
  • Strength
  • Independence

Exercise Your Brain

According to a study in Scientific Reports, cognitive training improves brain function. The more you use your brain, the better your overall health and quality of life. Studies in the journals Nature and PLoS Medical show that good cognitive function may reduce the risk for dementia. Try exercising your brain with these activities:

  • Jigsaw Puzzles
  • Sudoku
  • Learn a New Language
  • Art Classes or Crafts
  • Nature Walks


As people age, the opportunities for social contact may decrease. A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that one in four adults age 65 and older are socially isolated. The report also found that social isolation increases the risk for:

  • Hearth Disease
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicide
  • Dementia
  • Premature Death

You can improve your aging process by staying socially connected and active. You may find social connections through:

  • Joining a Book Club or Other Hobby Group
  • Volunteering
  • Writing Letters to Family and Friends
  • Email or Social Media

Improving your aging process helps you be more independent, increases your cognitive ability, and builds social connections. There are many simple ways to improve your aging process and quality of life.