Our mentors and page authors are not necessarily psychologists or therapists. Even when they are, this page is not medical or psychological advice and they are not creating a doctor/therapist-client relationship. You should consult a professional if possible and they can tell you whether this advice applies to your situation. If this is an emergency, you should call your national emergency number, like 911, or a mental health hotline, like 1-800-950-6264.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the best methods to retrain your brain yourself. If you go in to a CBT therapist, they will give you worksheets and walk you through much of the same things this website does. It’s all about teaching you to be your own therapist, rather than the therapist solving things for you. It can be very successful, based largely on how much effort you put in! If you want a guide or mentor, we’re here for you.
What is CBT?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the fastest and best ways to treat yourself, especially if you can’t afford a talk therapist for years. It is a practical and hands-on approach to dealing with the complexities of your mind with the goal of changing the way you think, feel, and act in different situations. CBT is not about being obsessed with happiness and it’s not a cure-all. It requires hard work and patience. It is about balancing and observing your emotions, rather than just reacting to them.
Never give up! It can be hard at first, but CBT can change your life, improve your productivity, and help you live longer. The key is to remember that thoughts are not good and bad or true and false. They are just helpful or harmful. CBT helps increase helpful thoughts and decrease harmful thoughts.
Please check out our relevant pages on depression, anxiety, and other specific conditions you might be dealing with for more techniques related to those issues.
The CBT Triangle
The basis of CBT is understanding that our thoughts, emotions, and behavior are all interconnected. How we think affects how we feel and act; how we feel affects what we think and do; what we do affects how we think and feel. That’s why it is so important to notice how each part of this triangle affects the others. CBT is about recognizing and responding to what’s going on in your mind.
Most often, we work on our situation by changing our thoughts and behavior; it’s the emotions we are trying to fix. For example, if you are often sad when you’re alone on a Saturday night, we’d work on understanding the thoughts and behaviors that cause this. Perhaps you could change your behavior to spend your Saturdays hanging out with or talking to other people, even if it’s online or on the phone. Perhaps you could dive into your thoughts and realize that what you’re thinking is “I am alone today and that means I’m unsuccessful and will always be alone because everyone my age is going out.” Then you’d work on fixing and correcting that thought using the methods in this toolkit.
What You Need for CBT
- A nice journal to write in daily. Make sure the pages are easy to write on and that it’s a book you don’t mind keeping and looking back on for years.
- A nice pen or pencil and white out.
- An attitude to never give up.