Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and The Workplace: How CBT Can Help You

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or what is often know as CBT, is defined by The Mayo Clinic as, “a common type of structured therapy with limited sessions to help you become aware of inaccurate and negative thinking so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way.” CBT is an effective tool in not just aiding those with mental health diseases, but all those who wish to better manage stressful life situations.

 The many uses of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy include but are not limited to treating:

"Image courtesy of hyena reality/

“Image courtesy of hyena reality/

  • Depression
  • Life Stressors and Coping
  • Work Related Stressors and Coping
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Anxiety
  • Mood Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Eating and Substance Abuse
  • Tics and Tourette’s Disorder
  • The Prevention of Mental Illness and Anxiety Disorders

So, what CBT tools can help you manage daily workplace and occupational issues and stress?  There are several tools that can help you manage your stress at work, make better decisions, control your emotions and improve your sense of well-being.

The Written Word Can Help

 At times of stress, when you get a moment, write down what is happening, what situation is causing you stress  and what are the logical steps you can take to rectify the situation. What are you options? How can you best deal with the situation? Once you have written these things down you should be able to be less emotional about the situation and have a better understanding of what is occurring around you.

 Practice Makes Perfect

One way to get used to handling stressful situations is to practice. If you find that, for example, work related meetings cause you stress, start practicing with smaller discussions among co-workers on your own time so that you may get used to speaking among other employees, managers and peers which should hopefully lead you to a more relaxed and comfortable state during required staff meetings. 


There are several different types of imagery that exist and have shown great promise in the field of Cognitive Therapy and more particularly for uses in work related stressors and functional symptoms such as coping, social or occupational related anxiety, public speaking, test anxiety, and the fear of future events.

 The following Types of Imagery can be used:

  • Positive Imagery- using pleasant thoughts and visualizations to promote relaxation.
  • Negative Imagery- using unpleasant visualization to learn to avoid unwanted or negative reactions to situations.
  • Imagining future events- this is used to imagine anticipated feared or anxiety related future events to help ease the stress that this event is causing and may cause at the time the event occurs. This can be helpful with public speaking, test anxiety, social anxiety and acute occupational related performance stress. 
  • Guided Imagery- a form of imagery conducted in the presence of a psychotherapist who aids you in imagining certain images in order to reach your goals. This is often seen as a form of hypnotherapy.

Another well-documented use of Guided Imagery is with the healing of physical illnesses and symptoms. One well-known type of imagery is Cancer guided imagery.  With this type of  “mind-body intervention”, patients visualize tumor and cancer cells dying off and shrinking and themselves becoming healthier. It is however important to point out The American Cancer Society dos not support the effectiveness of this treatment though others have documented its positive outcomes.

  As stated, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a very effective introspective stress management tool. It is highly recommended for those who are seeking a short-term therapeutic engagement, as CBT is usually not an open-ended type of therapy. CBT has been proven to be effective and can surely help you if you are having difficulties managing work and personal stress. This is especially important if you are having trouble finding a good balance in your life. If you are interested in learning more about CBT or wish to find a therapist who can help you, visit The Psychology Today Therapist Finder, enter your zip code and choose CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy under “Treatment Orientation.”








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