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Cognitive Behavioral Health Therapy

What’s Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)? 

Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT for short, helps you to recognize and control your automatic thoughts which are often negative thoughts. Cognitive behavior therapy also teaches you ways to change dysfunctional behavior patterns. CBT teaches that while you cannot control every aspect of the world around you, you can control how you interpret what happens.

Some other therapies focus on how past events affect your current state of mind. However, CBT focuses on present thought patterns, not something that happened long ago. Once you start your treatment plan, you will cultivate thought patterns that allow you to live everyday life at the highest levels instead of reliving past traumas.

CBT can be a powerful tool in treating mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. Some patients experiencing distortions in their thought processes might only need CBT. Other patients may find it to be a helpful adjunct to the medications they are taking.


Cognitive behavioral therapy is beneficial in treating mental health issues when medications are not a good option.

counselor in session

What’s the Goal of CBT? 

While specific objectives should be set by you and your therapist, the goal of CBT is typically to transform your negative thoughts into positive feelings and behaviors resulting in positive change.

In other words, replacing unhelpful or self-defeating negative thought patterns with more self-affirming ones. For example, "I'll never be a successful painter" might become "If I paint every day, I'll become a more proficient painter over time. However, I must remember that success in this area is subjective. It might help if I could define what success means in a way that is achievable for me."

What Happens During the First CBT Session? 

Cognitive behavioral therapy typically focuses on specific problems using a goal-oriented approach. During your first session, your therapist will gather information about you and what issues you would like to work on.  This includes the emotions, feelings, and symptoms you are experiencing. However, because emotional distress can manifest physically, your therapist will also ask you about symptoms such as body aches, headaches, or stomach upset.

Because your therapist will encourage you to talk about your thoughts and feelings and what is troubling you, cognitive behavioral therapy may cause you to feel emotionally uncomfortable at times.

You may cry, feel angry, or get upset during a session. Some forms of cognitive behavioral therapy (such as exposure therapy) might require you to confront situations you would rather avoid. For example, airplanes, if you have a fear of flying. However, a psychotherapist trained in cognitive behavioral therapy can help you deal with these distressing emotions. Once your therapy is complete, you will have the coping strategies to ensure dysfunctional thoughts no longer undermine your quality of daily life.

A Proactive Role in Your Treatment Plan

The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to get you to overcome problems on your own using the tools you learned in therapy. This allows you to take a proactive role in your recovery. This can be incredibly empowering for people accustomed to treatment encouraging clients to be passive therapy recipients instead of active participants.

The CBT Program Process

Identify Troubling Situations: Before embarking on the therapeutic journey, you will need to pick a problem to work on, such as divorce, grief, a medical condition, anxiety, or excessive anger.
Become Aware of Your Thoughts: Once you have identified an issue, your therapist will encourage you to share your thoughts directly with them or in a journal. This might include observing what you tell yourself about an experience, your interpretation of the meaning of circumstances, and your beliefs about yourself, other individuals, and events.
Identify Inaccurate Thinking Patterns: To assist you in recognizing thinking patterns and behavior contributing to your unhelpful thoughts, your therapist typically will ask you to pay attention to your physical, emotional, and behavioral responses in different situations. 
Reshape Unhelpful Thoughts: You will be able to reshape negative thoughts by looking at a situation and deciding whether your view of it is based on fact or an inaccurate perception of what is happening.


CBT Techniques

Cognitive behavioral therapy techniques can range from structured psychotherapies to self-help practices. For example, your therapist might challenge you to replace negative self-talk with more constructive and compassionate self-talk.

Your therapist will have you look at the cognitive distortions in your thoughts so you can see how they contribute to your negative thinking patterns. One potent technique is situation exposure. This is where you list situations that cause distress according to the level of stress they cause. Then, you will gradually expose yourself to the things on the list until they no longer have the ability to upset you. This is referred to as cognitive restructuring.

You will learn new skills you can use in real-world situations. If you have a substance abuse disorder, you might rehearse ways to avoid social situations that could trigger a relapse.

Part of your therapy might be mindfulness meditation. By watching thoughts that come into your mind and letting them pass without judgment, you will sap them of their emotional power.

Homework is an integral part of cognitive behavioral therapy regardless of the techniques you use. Just like academic assignments help you internalize the skills you learned in class, cognitive behavioral therapy homework helps you become familiar with the skill sets you are developing.

counselor in session

What CBT Can Help You With

CBT helps with the following mental health conditions:


Bipolar Disorder

Substance Abuse



Eating Disorders

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Anxiety Disorders

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

However, cognitive behavioral therapy might even be able to help you if you do not have a mental health condition. This means it could be helpful in the following situations:

Low Self-Esteem



Relationship Difficulties

Breakup or Divorce

A Serious Health Diagnosis, such as Cancer

Grief or Loss

Chronic Pain

counselor with a clipboard

Is CBT Effective?

Cognitive behavioral therapy has been exhaustively researched and found to be effective. For many mental health conditions, it is the best treatment available. In fact, it is the leading evidence-based treatment for eating disorders.

A 2018 study found overwhelming evidence to suggest that CBT could provide significant relief for anxiety disorders, OCD, and PTSD. Another study conducted the same year found that cognitive behavioral therapy had excellent long-term results when treating anxiety in young people.

More than 50% in this study no longer met the criteria for anxiety during a follow-up two years after completing therapy. It has been found to not only successfully treat depression but also help reduce the chances of relapse after treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Sub-Types

There are various sub-types of CBT therapy. These types include:es of CBT therapy. These types include: 

Exposure Therapy

This therapy slowly introduces anxiety-inducing situations into your life for discrete periods, such as one to two hours three times a day. Exposure therapy is particularly effective for individuals dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or phobias.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

While dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was initially formulated to help those with borderline personality disorder (BPD), it is since been adapted to treat other mental health conditions. For example, people who cannot regulate their emotions or exhibit self-destructive behaviors typically respond well to this form of therapy.

Acceptance And Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) teaches clients to stop avoiding, denying, and struggling with emotions. Instead, they learn to accept that these feelings are appropriate responses in most situations.


Caring and Compassionate CBT Therapy Illinois

At Calm Mind Counseling Center, we have therapists trained in CBT. They can help you reap the benefits of this highly effective treatment modality in an emotionally safe and secure setting. With cognitive behavioral therapists based in our counseling centers in Westchester Illinois, Willowbrook Illinois, and soon-to-open Forest Park Illinois.

Our therapists can offer patients effective treatment for panic attacks, negative emotions, and other mental health problems through cognitive behavioral therapy CBT at the following locations for in Chicagoland Illinois.

Burr Ridge, Darien, Westmont, Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Western Springs, La Grange, Indian Park, Elmhurst, Maywood, Melrose Park, Oak Brook, Berwyn, Chicago, West Chicago, and Chicagoland.
We are a solution-focused counseling center focusing on the successful treatment of depression, anxiety, relationship problems, unhelpful thoughts, panic disorder, and many other forms of mental health problems.

counselor sitting in chair

Through our cognitive behavioral therapy CBT program, we can help you address life challenges and improve coping skills which in turn will help to improve emotional functioning. Negative behaviors and negative emotions prevent you from enjoying life and inhibit personal growth. By choosing this effective and popular form of psychotherapy you will enhance life experiences, and tame uncomfortable feelings that can also manifest as physical conditions.


This makes CBT an ideal treatment for the many symptoms that you may be experiencing. Worst case scenario our therapists will help you to deal with unhelpful thoughts and give you strategies through CBT therapy with trauma-informed care and a sound therapeutic relationship that will help you to deal with negative thought patterns and behaviors that life throws at you. Not only that but we will measure progress and teach you relapse prevention strategies to help you deal with life experiences.

These coping skills will help you to anticipate panic attacks which will produce positive life changes for you and those close to you. We are discreet, respectful, non-judgmental, and understanding. We treat many patients for many things and are proficient at treating substance use disorders. CBT is effective and our therapists can help you with cognitive behavioral therapy CBT therapy.

counselor and patient session

Seek CBT Therapy At Calm Mind Counseling Centers Today.

We know that reaching out for help takes courage, and we commend you for taking this first step. Remember, you are not alone, our cognitive behavioral therapy professionals are here to listen, understand, and guide you towards healing your depressive or traumatic symptoms.

Take that brave first step towards a brighter future by scheduling an appointment with our clinical practice today. Together, we can solve problems and cultivate a calm mind and a hopeful heart. Let us walk this transformative journey hand in hand.

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