Have you ever wondered what CBT is? It stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, right? Ok, but have you wondered what that actually means?!? Instead of lecturing you about core beliefs, the cognitive triad, automatic thoughts, cognitive distortions and citing hundreds of research articles about how effective this therapy can be, I thought that a few images will help you understand how it works, especially for a new mom.
This first image, thanks to the Parent Connection (UK), shows how our thoughts (also known as cognitions), feelings and behaviors are linked - and these arrows should be bi-directional, because in this example, feeling unsupported or lonely might also cause one to turn away from a partner or a friend.
But thoughts are not facts.
Let that sink in for a minute and then take a look at all of these cognitive distortions we make, many on a daily basis:
So what now?? I have visually shown you how your thoughts influence your feelings and cause you to act in ways that may not help - which is probably not news to you.
The slideshow of images below, thanks to a former patient (all identifying information removed), is a step-by-step example of a thought record that a new mom completed in session to begin to challenge these thoughts and change the resulting feelings and behaviors.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a process that takes 10-12 fifty minute sessions and thought records are only one piece. I am asked about how this therapy works, on a regular basis (even from the physicians I work with at Cedars), and thought this post might help.
If you have questions, please comment below and/or contact me.
Dr. Accortt in the News
5/18/18: TODAY.com Alyssa Milano on Postpartum Anxiety
5/3/18: Cedars-Sinai Maternal Mental Health Research
10/19/17: Cedars-Sinai Postpartum Depression Screening Program
3/24/17: MomCo. App for Social Support
Dr. Accortt is a California licensed clinical psychologist. When she isn't seeing patients in private practice she conducts research in the OBGYN department at Cedars-Sinai. She will update this page with important maternal mental health news and research.