From the ever-expanding Googleverse to the snarky payoff of celebrity gossip, life is splintered and refracted in a million ways by contemporary communication tools. The media has a profound impact on how we perceive ourselves and our world.
Most of us wish we could improve certain things about ourselves. Lasting change is difficult: Many of our habits are deeply ingrained, and certain core personality attributes may be immutable. But even the oldest of habits and character traits can be altered to varying degrees, as it's never too late to change; with effort and determination, it is possible to be the person you want to be.
Quite simply, cognition refers to thinking. There are the obvious applications of conscious reasoning—doing taxes, playing chess, deconstructing Macbeth—but thought takes many subtler forms, such as interpreting sensory input, guiding physical actions, and empathizing with others.
Psychotherapy is the practice of spending time with a trained therapist to help diagnose and treat mental and emotional problems. Therapy can take various forms—cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, psychodynamic therapy, or a combination of these—but at the center of each is the caring relationship between a mental health professional and a patient.