What can I expect during from a CBT session?
That same researcher from Dartmouth highlights the importance of identifying central thinking patterns, called “schemas.” These schemas are beliefs about yourself that fuel problematic/maladaptive behaviors.
Your therapist and you may explore the schemas that are fueling your attitudes and beliefs about yourself.
As part of this process, you and your therapist may also explore what are called cognitive distortions (see section below). Additionally, a CBT therapist will likely give you homework to work on outside of sessions.
CBT can be short term, long term, and can be applied to both thoughts and behaviors that are associated with mental illness or other concerning mental health conditions.
What are cognitive distortions?
The easiest way to think about a cognitive distortion is to break down the name. Cognition, or thoughts, that are distorted, blown up beyond accuracy.
For instance, a common cognitive distortion is called “Black and White Thinking,” which means that you are looking at things in absolutes (i.e., good or bad).
A common example of “Black and White Thinking” would be that things are either “good” or “bad.” See the “Can I do CBT on myself” section for an example of how you can check your cognitive distortions on your own.