What Is CBT? A Comic Example

When you feel depressed or anxious, it can feel like you are just lost in your thoughts. A type of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps to teach you how to change your thoughts. The idea is that by changing your thoughts, you can change your mood and how you deal with day-to-day events. CBT is one of the most effective therapies for depression and anxiety in young people.

  • CBT describes a cycle starting with an Event.
  • A person responds to the Event with a Thought.
  • This Thought leads to an Emotion.
  • Then that Emotion leads to further Action.

Out of all of these responses, the easiest to change in the cycle are the Thoughts, because they can come from an underlying belief system: one example of such an underlying belief system is, “I’m not good at anything.” This belief system is overly negative. CBT helps train you to think more rationally by using evidence, rather than feelings or beliefs.

Like in this comic strip:

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After reading this, imagine that Jude talks to his doctor and realizes he has been feeling depressed. He starts seeing a therapist who teaches him about CBT. Jude realizes there is evidence that some people do like him and there are some people he doesn’t get along with as well.

After CBT, the same scenario might happen a little like this:

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How did Jude manage to change his thinking? What are the differences between the two comic strips? Let us know your thoughts below!

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Hi! The moderator is a research team member with a background in behavioral health. We're here to help answer your questions and stimulate some great conversation! We don't provide therapy and are not available 24-7 so please if you are in crisis, go to our crisis page: https://sova.pitt.edu/i-need-help-now We look forward to talking to you!

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