What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy, often shortened to “CBT”, is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment we use to help our patients understand how their thoughts and feelings can influence their emotions and behaviors. Commonly used to treat a wide range of emotional disorders, it can be particularly helpful when treating addiction, depression, and anxiety. 

How Does It Work?

CBT isn’t often used as a long-term therapy, which is why we use it as just one part of our program. It can help us get to the root of the problem quickly and effectively. Our team and the individual focus on identifying the particularly destructive behavioral patterns and thought processes that are affecting their lives, relationships, and future.

Our thoughts and feelings lead to the behaviors we choose to display to the world and to our loved ones around us. For instance, feeling frustration and stress may lead to one’s reality being altered. A teen may feel he is being attacked or threatened, even by loved ones. This may lead to issues with:

    • Lowered Self-Esteem
    • Lose of Perception
    • Depression
    • Aggression
    • Anxiety

As a team, our goal is to teach struggling teens that, although they are unable to control or change the world around them, they can control how they exist and act in that environment. Often times, a troubled teen doesn’t even know why he acts the way he does. The negative patterns and responses have been ingrained without thought.

So much of what we do comes down to helping a teen understand that the patterns they’ve displayed in the past don’t have to continue. Many young men believe that they have to proceed to think and feel in one specific way—even if it’s in a negative manner—just to get through their day. Overcoming that feeling may be the greatest hurdle they have to get past in their own time. 

The Benefits

By encouraging change in negative thought patterns, poor emotional responses, and harmful behaviors, we can create new pathways to a healthier and happier individual. Transitioning back into their normal lives away from the Triangle Cross Ranch can be difficult at first. When life gets difficult, reverting back to old patterns of behavior becomes easy. 

We want to give these boys every opportunity to address their psychological behavior while they’re in our care. This creates a greater chance that a teen will use a new and better way to cope and react to any given situation, rather than revert back to negative patterns.

Structured Therapy

Although many of the activities we choose to partake in during other forms of therapy are less structured and in real-time, like horsemanship and general ranching, cognitive behavioral therapy works best in a more structured environment. By spending one-on-one time with a therapist, a teen can process his personal patterns, routinely challenging his perceptions of himself in a safe environment without judgment.