In bipolar treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or CBT) centers on the pattern of behavior in patients. The goal of the therapy is to teach the patient to change negative or harmful thoughts and actions. It involves two main components; cognitive therapy deals with the negative thoughts. Behavior therapy deals with the patient’s relative behavioral reaction.
Primarily, in cognitive behavior therapy, therapists guide patients through some methodical approaches to recognize their negative and often distorted ways of thinking or perception about the things around them, which allow them to analyze their pattern of thinking. They encourage these patients to test the reality or validity of their negative thoughts, whether they are true or not. This, in turn, would allow them to reconstruct their ways of thinking into something realistic and positive.
Thoughts control a person’s view of things and situations. A faulty perception will naturally produce faulty judgment. Therefore, in bipolar disorder patients, their negative thoughts become their reality. However, once a patient’s capacity to make good reality testing has improved, he can spot situations where he acts unusually or does possible self-damaging actions and thus, helps him stop harmful or potentially harmful behaviors.
Challenging negative thoughts is an arduous process of discovery, examination, and testing perception but patients acquire coping strategies, which help them minimize the severity of their mood swings, and reduce the effect of their illness on their social or work relationships. It gives them an encouragement to continue their medication since they are getting positive outcome. It leads to the patient’s having the ability to function normally and eventually develop a systematic plan to avoid a relapse, which could be more disastrous.
Thus, CBT becomes more appropriate bipolar treatment for stable patients, particularly those medicated patients who can openly talk about their disorder.