The CBT process is about identifying the thoughts (usually 'negative' and 'automatic') that are coming from your subconscious. They cause us to feel negative emotions so we react - causing arousal/tension.
The thoughts we have that we react to are loaded with "meaning" to us - how we PERCEIVE something to be. So in fact, it isn't ONLY about the thoughts we think, it's actually about the "meaning" we have attached to the thoughts. It is the MEANING that causes our emotional reaction.
So, this is where we begin on the CBT process. Identifying the negative thoughts and what they are meaning to us ('the meaning' is nearly always irrational when we are "suffering from anxiety" or indeed most forms of distress), and then, through a structured process of therapy, learn to challenge and ultimately 'retrain our thinking process'.
Most people have heard of "CBT" (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy); however, the experiences people have had of it seem to vary quite widely according to stories I have been told by patients over many years now, and it really shouldn't be the case. Of course, every person is an individual and brings to therapy their own unique set of circumstances. To me, this goes without saying and does so, whatever the therapy approach is used by a therapist.
What should happen is that the CBT process is tailored to each individual. Not that the process of CBT should be lost, by using only a part or parts of the process. Indeed, the process of CBT is greater than the sum of its parts.
Fundamentally, CBT is about addressing thoughts (cognitions) that lead to unwanted actions (behaviour) by challenging those thoughts (cognitions) in order to bring about desired actions (behaviour)........ next page on CBT