All individuals suffer from bouts of insecurity now and then, especially during moments of uncertainty of loss of control. During these moments of insecurity, we are at risk of giving extra weight to fearful thoughts such as: “Something bad will happen”, “I won’t be able to deal with it”, I am not strong/valuable/desirable enough”, and more. These negative thoughts exacerbate symptoms of anxiety, such as physiological discomfort or flight-or-flight behaviors to avoid the “threatening” situation.
So long as these occurrences take place on a low frequency, we are able to go through our daily routines with minimal anxiety, and to find serenity and happiness in life. However, many people have developed chronic insecurities as a result of traumatic experiences that lead them to persistently question their own value and ability on an almost daily basis. When the self-esteem is low on a regular basis, the individual is flooded repeatedly with negative or catastrophic fears, high levels of anxiety, physiological distress, and the desire to escape or avoid uncomfortable or uncertain situations. As a result, individuals with low self-esteem suffer from anxiety (Generalized Anxiety, Panic Attacks, etc.), or from the need to stay in control at all times in order to avoid the distress (Phobia, OCD, PTSD, Eating Disorders, etc.).
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a short-term treatment model focusing on problematic thought style or behavioral habits which reinforce emotional distress and low self-esteem. CBT is different from psychodynamic therapy in that instead of focusing on the significance of events in the past, CBT focuses on developing healthier habits today and learning tools to cope better with stressors. The therapy provides the patient with many exercises, whose purpose is to increase the patient’s self-confidence, reduce the need for defensive mechanisms such as perfectionism and rigid control, decrease intrusive or negative thoughts, and decrease emotional distress to normative levels. Treatment on average is between 3-6 months.
CBT is appropriate for a variety of disorders and problems. Read more >>
What is Cognitive Therapy?
Cognitive Therapy focuses on identifying emotionally distorted thoughts based on fears from our past instead of logic and facts, which occur especially in situations with elements of uncertainty (e.g. considering the future) or lack of control (e.g. emotional reactions). Identifying distorted thoughts allows us to replace them with more logical thoughts in real-time by reexamining the facts and selecting what to believe.
What is Behavioral Therapy?
Behavioral Therapy focuses on replacing unhealthy behavioral habits by practicing and incorporating new and healthier habits. Often individuals lacking self-confidence tend to avoid or escape uncomfortable situations rather than cope with them, but frequently find themselves exacerbating the situation by not coping, and reinforcing their belief that they are unable to cope. By learning how better to cope, individuals increase their self-confidence for future situations and their anxiety of the future decreases.
Who can provide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a form of psychological treatment. However, most psychologists in Israel today specialize in psychodynamic therapy and not CBT, therefore it is important to seek out a therapist (psychologist, social worker, counselor) who has undergone formal training specifically in CBT.