Cognitive therapy is used to help patients transform their way of thinking, to stop interpreting the situation in a dysfunctional way. For example, when the patient sees a dog, he or she thinks directly that the dog will bite him or her. The goal of these sessions is to change the way of thinking.

  1. How does it work?
  2. The first step
  3. The course of the cognitive therapy sessions


    During a very specific situation, for example for people suffering from cynophobia the patient when he sees the dog he will immediately think that he will bite it. The dysfunctional thoughts will invade the patient at the time of the situation and will trigger the protection system which is anxiety. It is due to a misinterpretation by the person who thought he was in danger. Her protective mechanism is activated because she believes she is in danger. The goal of cognitive therapy is to help them through 3 steps. In this article, we will look at the first step which consists of regaining a more realistic and balanced view of the situation. The idea is to help patients regain healthier thoughts. For example:The dog is going to come, he’s going to sniff me and he’s going to leave. 


    The first step in cognitive therapy (cognitive restructuring) is to become aware of your thoughts when you are anxious during the situation, the goal being to‘be an observer of oneself. When the patient is in an anxiety-provoking situation, they need to ask themselves, What am I afraid is going to happen?

    Ideally, to properly formulate disaster thoughts, it is helpful to formulate sentences conjugated in the near future tense. For example, I’m going to lose my job, my kids are going to be sick. This is the first step in cognitive therapy. If you want to change your thoughts, you must first identify them. This is usually done in the second session.

    Once patients have understood and identified their thoughts, you need to reassure them. Your patients have been doing this for years and may not be aware that it precedes anxiety. Their task is to become aware of it.


    Cognitive therapy should be divided into 3 sessions to allow patients to fully immerse themselves in it.  

    • 1 session : Self-observation,  
    • 2nd session : The detective 
    • 3rd session : Generating a realistic interpretation 

    Learn about the Gray’s neurobiological model and Beck’s cognitive model. 

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