Why is it so hard to lose weight, stop smoking, or establish healthy habits? Why do couples argue about the same issues over and over? Why do so many people lie awake at night, stricken with worry and anxiety? Why is it so difficult to come to terms with a loved one’s death, even if it’s after a long illness?
The answers to these questions—and the path to lasting change in your life—lie in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a well-tested collection of practical techniques for managing moods and modifying undesirable behaviors through self-awareness, critical analysis, and taking steps toward gradual, goal-oriented change.
CBT illuminates the links between thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and physical health and uses those connections to develop concrete plans for self-improvement. Built on a solid foundation of neurological and behavioral research, CBT is not simply about treating mental illness. It is an approach almost anyone can use for promoting greater mental health and improving quality of life.
In the 24 engaging half-hour lectures of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Techniques for Retraining Your Brain, you’ll build a robust and effective self-improvement toolkit with the expert guidance of Professor Jason M. Satterfield of the University of California, San Francisco. You will explore CBT’s roots in Socratic and stoic philosophy, build a toolkit of CBT techniques, and review the latest research about its outcomes. Additionally, this intriguing and practical course allows you to take on the roles of medical student, physician, psychologist, and patient.
As a special feature of this course, you’ll observe CBT session scenarios between Professor Satterfield and three “patients”:
Maria, 70, is a caretaker for her terminally ill husband. She struggles with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and coming to terms with his death.
Carol, 30, is so anxious in everyday social situations that she has trouble developing friendships.
Michael, 50, has a temper that can flare up at a moment’s notice. He wishes he could keep his anger under control.
After completing this course, you will be armed with myriad resources to examine your own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and to set yourself on the path to a better life, all without leaving the comfort of your own home.
The Science of Lasting Change
Everyone has something about their life that they would like to improve. Learning how to assess your situation and select an appropriate tool for change is a vital skill. Cognitive behavioral therapy engages a patient in a very scientific and logical approach to creating lasting change. It is:
Collaborative and transparent: The therapist and patient work together as equal partners throughout the treatment process.
Empirical: Each session includes homework, such as jotting down notes about behaviors, thoughts, and emotions in a journal. The next steps in the process are based on the evidence of the previous week’s “experiments.”
Time-limited: The CBT process is designed for 12-24 sessions. Once a patient understands the process, it becomes easier for them to be their own CBT therapist.
Skills-focused: CBT teaches the patient skills to practice in the real world, such as social experiments and somatic quieting techniques.
Symptom-focused: While CBT was developed to treat depression, it is also effective for anger, anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, and developing healthier habits.
Present-focused: Rather than the bottom-up approach of traditional psychotherapy, CBT works from the top down, starting with the patient’s daily life.
A core assumption behind CBT is that human beings, by nature, aren’t particularly rational. In fact, we aren’t even mostly rational. We take all sorts of shortcuts in terms of how we think, how we process, and how we make decisions. CBT helps you become aware of your daily thoughts, categorize them as “helpful” or “hurtful” (instead of true or false), and decide how to act on them.
Engineer Your Own Happiness
Throughout the course, you’ll explore issues that cause people to seek out therapy. In some cases, you’ll get to watch Dr. Satterfield working with a patient, and in others, you’ll be delving into the research to see what causes these issues and how CBT helps to resolve them.
Stress: Humans are unique in that we can stress ourselves out with hypothetical events, things that never happen or might never happen. An individual’s appraisals may be out of sync with reality, or out of touch with their actual coping skills. CBT helps to uncover those thoughts and to begin restructuring them.
Depression: People who are feeling depressed often engage in maladaptive behaviors, which exacerbate their depressed feelings. For example, in one of the three depressive spirals, a depressed person may engage in less social activity, which makes them more depressed, thus causing them to pull away even more. CBT helps patients reverse the spiral and participate more fully in their lives.
Anger: Have you ever had a fight with someone that took place wholly in your mind? The journaling aspect of CBT brings awareness to these hostile fantasies, and the somatic quieting techniques you learn can help you avoid letting your emotions get away from you.
CBT can help you address a variety of common concerns. Some of these issues fall under the traditional rubric of mental health, such as anxiety, depression, and trauma. Others are stressors in that occur in everyone’s life, from everyday challenges like conflicts at work to potentially life-changing events like the loss of a loved one. Even with medical issues, such as insomnia, weight management, and chronic pain, CBT can be a powerful part of better understanding the problem and enhancing the healing process. Unlike other forms of psychotherapy, CBT places the power in the hands of the patient, who learns and practices an explicit skillset that lasts long after therapy might end.
Self-Help for Critical Thinkers
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a thoroughly enjoyable course for the critical thinker who would like to improve their quality of life. Professor Satterfield’s presentation is warm and engaging as he deftly blends history, science, inspirational stories, and case studies in each lecture.
As you progress through the course, you will:
gain a comprehensive understanding of the complex relationship between cognitions, emotions, and behavior;
see how a very empirical process can be applied to very emotional situations;
find success through analyzing situations in which you failed to achieve your goals;
ramp up your positive emotions and moderate the negative ones; and
understand the full scope of treatment options available.
With the tools in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the desire to improve your situation, you can create lasting change in your life simply with the power of your own mind