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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – A Great Resource for Your Teen

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - Paradigm Malibu

CBT is short for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It’s a form of therapy that many psychologists and therapists are familiar with and use in individual therapy. In a professional therapeutic environment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be an essential ingredient in the healthy life of your teen. It can  facilitate mental well-being, reducing anxiety, minimizing risky behavior, and preventing drug use.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

In fact, CBT is increasingly being used with adolescents, and especially with troubled youth. It is widely used to treat a range of problems including teen behavioral addictions such as eating disorders, substance abuse, anxiety, and depression. CBT has proven to be an effective method of treatment for these problems.

 

CBT essentially aims to change behavior by identifying negative and distorted thinking patterns. This successful form of therapy emphasizes the link between thoughts, feelings, and behavior. More importantly, it attempts to identify the way that certain thoughts contribute to the unique problems of an adolescent’s life. By changing the thought pattern, both feelings and behavior change, which can result in a transformed life.

 

This form of therapy is problem focused as well as goal oriented. It explores the specific issues that a teen is facing and attempts to find the thought pattern that contributes to that problem. Monitoring and documenting thoughts helps to easily identify the connections between them and the specific reactions to certain events in the day. For instance, if a teen wasn’t able to meet a teacher’s expectations by not completing an assignment and as a result had the thought, “I am worthless,” this might lead to feeling shameful and perhaps to drug use, self-harm, or a worsening depression.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works

By changing the thought pattern and by replacing it with thoughts that are aimed towards a specific therapeutic goal, a teen’s life can slowly begin to change. For example, instead of “I am worthless;” the new thought might be “I can do this.”

 

Adolescents develop distorted thinking for a variety of reasons. Unhealthy thinking might be evident among the behavior of their parents or other family members. In other words, teens might see the evidence of unhealthy thought patterns around them. Certain thinking patterns might also develop because of a need to feel a sense of control or to justify certain behavior. Unhealthy thinking might also develop as a result of not knowing other ways to cope with circumstances and the feelings that those circumstances invoke.

 

The focus of CBT is to identify thought patterns that lead to harmful feelings, distress, and/or risky behavior. It aims to change deeply seated, harmful beliefs that are the cause of unhealthy thinking. It facilitates a healthier interpretation of daily events and replaces thoughts with those that are self-affirming. CBT can also provide your adolescent with problem solving and coping skills. As well as give them an outlet to express their thoughts and feelings, particularly those that are difficult to manage.

Conclusion

It is important to mention that CBT is not necessarily a tool to use with your child alone. Instead, working together with your teen’s therapist or psychologist is best. As you can already guess, your adolescent is not going to easily disclose his or her innermost feelings with a parent. Having the support of a mental health professional can not only facilitate change in your teen’s life, but also perhaps a closer relationship between the two of you.

 

Paradigm Malibu is an adolescent mental health and drug treatment center dedicated to identifying, understanding and properly treating the core issues that impact teens and their families.

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