Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Pros and Cons

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel

What is cognitive behavioral therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of talking therapy in which a therapist will address your underlying problems, breaking it down into smaller and more manageable parts to show you how you can change your ways of thinking and behavioral patterns. Cognitive behavioral therapy is often used to treat anxiety and depression, but it can also help with:

  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Phobias
  • Eating disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Other long-term health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

Although cognitive behavioral therapy can not affect or cure the actual physical conditions, it helps patients cope with their conditions better.

What are the advantages of cognitive behavioral therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in cases where the patient does not see an improvement with medication alone. It does not take as much time as other types of therapy. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy is structured in a way that it can be offered in various formats, including group therapy, self-help books, and online programs. Most people enjoy cognitive behavioral therapy because it teaches them practical strategies that can be applied to everyday life. It provides patients with solutions to improve their mind on a daily basis.

What are the disadvantages of cognitive behavioral therapy?

First of all, cognitive behavioral therapy requires a high level of commitment. Your therapist cannot help you if you do not cooperate. The frequency of cognitive behavioral therapy sessions can be a challenge if you have a busy lifestyle. Besides, due to the highly structured nature of cognitive behavioral therapy, it may not be a good choice for those with complex mental problems or learning difficulties. Many people are afraid of cognitive behavioral therapy since it forces them to face with their root of anxiety. If you choose this type of therapy, you should be prepared for an initial period of fear and discomfort. Another significant drawback is that cognitive behavioral therapy does not address other issues that may have a huge impact on the patient such as families and social factors.

As effective as cognitive behavioral therapy is, it is not suitable for everyone. While it may work wonders for your friends, you may not benefit from it. Moreover, cognitive behavioral therapy tends to target the specific issue rather than the cause of it. The therapy focuses on working out present problems rather than past problems. For example, someone with a mental condition resulting from a childhood trauma may not see much improvement from taking cognitive behavioral therapy.

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