Cognitive restructuring

As mentioned, the main purpose of CBT is to facilitate cognitive restructuring, a process whereby participants increase their awareness of their cognitive distortions, are challenged to change, and eventually transform their dysfunctional cognitive structures (schemata) into healthy functioning ones (Twohig & Dehlin, 2012). Such cognitive restructuring involves first deliberately eliciting the dysfunctional thought patterns. The therapist then assists the participants to formulate rational responses to these negative automatic thoughts. By identifying and removing cognitive distortions, correcting false beliefs and assumptions, and reinforcing those beliefs that are positive and healthy, participants can begin to develop healthy patterns of thinking (Twohig & Dehlin, 2012, p. 137). This may involve identifying and recording cognitive errors, decatastrophizing situations, reattribution, cognitive rehearsal, and listing rational alternatives to their current thinking patterns (Huppert, 2009). Labeling distorted thinking is also a part of the process, including labeling 'all or nothing thoughts', jumping to conclusions, emotional reasoning, and 'should' statements (Huppert, 2009).

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