The Magical Steps of CBT

Change your thoughts, change your feelings

CBT can seem like magic when it works, and it often does. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.
  • Fighting and preventing depression
  • Treating past trauma and post-traumatic stress (PTSD)
  • Chronic pain
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Ongoing stress
  • Panic attacks
  • Self-image issues
  • Common medical disorders, like diabetes and fibromyalgia

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Steps and Questions

1. Identify a common negative message you often say to yourself. (Example: I’m a failure.) Write it down on a sheet of paper. Notice if this comes from a particular struggle, stressor, or situation. (Example: When I try something new and it’s not going well, I think this.)

  • How is it protecting me? (Example: It keeps me from being vulnerable and taking too many risks.)
  • Honor that you’ve had this thought in the past for a reason.
  • Is that the whole story?
  • Is it based in habit, or fact?
  • Make it a habit to notice the old thought and correct yourself with the new thought as much as you can.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Triangle

CBT triangle infographic is by the author.

How Can I Access CBT Resources and Therapy?

There are many self-help and professional resources that can assist you if you’re wanting to change your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Here are a few ways to find help:

  • Find a qualified online therapist. Many online CBT programs, like offer packages, weekly rates, or free programs to help you learn the steps of CBT. However, not all programs are alike, so research these options and check out reviews.
  • Use self-help resources to practice the steps of CBT, such as the questions above. My recently published book also includes the steps and questions specific to healing from recent trauma and PTSD. Check out PTSD Quest here on Amazon.

What are Supplements to CBT?

CBT is one of the most proven therapies to help with nearly any life struggle or mental health issue. However, sometimes supplemental practices can be of help. They can assist you to calm your thoughts, and relax you enough to make use of the steps of CBT. Here are some helpful practices that can help support your CBT work.

  • Yoga. Practices like yoga also allow you to slow down, and incorporate purposeful movement, which can help boost both therapy and mindfulness practices.
  • Tai chi. This is an ancient practice, but has plenty of modern day research to back it up. Through the intentional movements and sometimes spiritual practices of Tai chi, you can learn to focus and calm restless thoughts and feelings.
  • Diet, supplements, and exercise. We all know a healthy diet can help with many areas of health, including mental health. However, sometimes we have missing vitamins or nutrients that affect mood. Or, depression or anxiety may be getting in the way of being more active. If you’re struggling with this area, find a doctor or other health practitioner who can help you get to the bottom of any medical or nutrient issues affecting your mental health.

Therapist, writer, newly published author. Check out my book PTSD Quest about healing trauma symptoms, available on Amazon at

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