Pros and Cons of Cognitive Therapy


Cognitive therapy is an integral health of mental health and substance abuse services. This form of therapy typically gets utilized in conjunction with prescribed medication or by itself in order to treat patients with significant mental health or substance abuse issues. While cognitive therapy harbors many benefits, it’s not the right type of therapy for everyone. Here is a look at some of the pros and cons of cognitive therapy.

Cognitive therapy can be very beneficial to patients who need to essentially unlearn negative behaviors and/or thought processes. This form of therapy often provides patients with the support they need to eventually live a better life. Let’s take a look at some of its pros.

List of Pros of Cognitive Therapy

1. Cognitive therapy benefits a lot of people with various issues related to mental health.
The thought and behavior based approach to therapy helps people with mental health issues find solutions to their problems. This form of therapy can be easily tailored to suit a person’s needs, mainly to help them find solutions to quell their undesirable mental health behaviors. For this reason, many people undertake this form of therapy while taking medication for their mental health.

Cognitive therapy is often used on people who suffer from depression and/or anxiety, in addition to post traumatic stress disorder and addiction. It’s also been proven effective in people who may have a phobia, insomnia problems or trouble with managing their anger. This form of therapy is also used for people who suffer from an eating disorder or obsessive compulsive behaviors.

In special cases, this therapy is used on patients who have long term health problems like chronic pain or irritable bowel syndrome. It mainly helps these patients cope with their illness and reduce their stress.

2. Cognitive therapy sessions can be tailored to fit any patient’s needs.
Cognitive therapy is highly customizable when you think about it. This form of therapy is often done on a one on one basis, putting the patient in front of the therapist or counselor. This allows the counselor or therapist to really focus on the patient’s issues and find a solution that best suits them. Due to this, cognitive therapy sessions may last as little as six weeks to as long as a few months.

Therapists also structure their sessions in accordance with the type of patient they see. Some patients need highly structured therapy, where their therapist walks them through the examination and problem solving of their issues. Others work best in a more abstract environment, needing encouragement from their therapist to work out issues and find solutions on a more individual basis.

List of Cons of Cognitive Therapy

While cognitive therapy does provide a lot of benefits, it’s not suitable for everyone. People who may have difficulty unlearning negative behaviors, for one, can’t only rely on cognitive therapy to get better. Let’s examine some of the cons of cognitive therapy.

1. Cognitive therapy requires the patient to commit.
Cognitive therapy effectively helps people with mental health issues recognize their inherent behavioral problems. But they only get to that point if they fully commit themselves to the process.

This form of therapy is designed to help people recognize the underlying issues that might be causing them to behave in certain ways. If the patient isn’t willing to confront these issues, they may not fully benefit from this form of therapy.

2. Cognitive therapy is based around finding solutions rather than quelling complex mental health problems.
Cognitive therapy is designed to help people find solutions, namely solutions that can help them break out of negative thought patterns. This therapeutic process shows people how to react in positive ways, so they don’t fall into old and often negative behaviors. Cognitive therapy is typically paired with medication to help encourage patients to develop better thought processes.

Despite its benefits in helping patients achieve positivity in their thought patterns, it’s not a long term solution for complex mental health problems. Long term mental issues, such as depression and post traumatic stress disorder, do benefit from cognitive therapy.

But patients shouldn’t expect to be fully cured from their disorder by only undergoing this form of therapy. This is why mental health professionals generally suggest therapy along taking prescribed medication as the most effective way to reliably treat mental health.

Cognitive Therapy Overview

Cognitive therapy, also referred to as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is a type of therapeutic approached used to treat substance abuse and mental health issues.

This form of active talk therapy depicts individuals working with therapists or counselors to identify their patterns of thoughts and/or beliefs in order to figure out where their patterns of unwanted or undesirable behaviors may originate.

Throughout the counseling sessions, patients are gradually encouraged to respond to their negative thoughts in more constructive ways, rather than their learned ways, in order to develop a healthier mental state.

Cognitive therapy is often structured, sometimes completed in a few treatment sessions. This structure is actually considered more effective than long term therapy sessions, since it tends to help patients identify their problem areas much faster. It’s also commonly combined with other forms of therapy and, as mentioned, medication to help patients make a full recovery from their mental issues.

How Is Cognitive Therapy Used?

Cognitive therapy sessions generally involve the patient and the counselor or therapist in a one on one session. Some mental health professionals conduct cognitive therapy sessions with a group of patients. During the session, patients are typically asks to break down their problems in smaller portions, so they can identify the beliefs, feelings and thoughts that may force them to fall into problematic behaviors.

Cognitive therapy is described as ‘being grounded in the present, while it looks ahead to the future.’ Past issues and problems of the patient, while recognized, are often used as a basis to help patients resolve their current issues.

This form of therapy uses two distinct approaches to help patients resolve their mental health issues:

Cognitive. Cognitive, in this context, refers to one’s thought processes like one’s attitudes, beliefs and ideas. This part of the therapy examines how one’s thoughts can potentially trigger or invoke certain behaviors or feelings. By examining that, a therapist or counselor can help a patient understand their negative thought patterns, how they affect them and ways they can change that particular pattern of thought.

Behavioral. Behavior, according to this form of therapy, is learned and can be changed over time. Cognitive therapy examines harmful behaviors as performed by the patient and finds ways to help them understand why they occur. Ultimately, this form of therapy helps patients learn ways to quell the behavior before it starts.

Cognitive therapy is the most common form of therapy for a reason. It helps mental health patients recognize problematic behaviors and thought patterns, while learning how to cope with them as they focus on building positive thinking patterns and behaviors in the present. This form of therapy is commonly recommended for people dealing with various mental health issues, including anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, anger issues, addiction problems and depression.

In Closing

Cognitive therapy is popular for a reason. It’s a great way for therapists or counselors to connect with patients and put them on the path to a better life.

This type of active talk therapy encourages patients to learn how to quell negative behavioral and thought patterns, so they can eventually stop negative thoughts and behaviors before they start. Cognitive therapy encourages patients to improve their quality of life in the present, allowing them to be in better mental health for the future.