COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT)
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WHAT IS CBT?
While there are many forms for therapy that fall under the umbrella of cognitive and behavior therapies, CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy refers to a more narrow range of therapies based on the work of Dr. Aaron Beck. Dr. Beck's work, and consequently CBT, is known for the rigorous scientific research that went into proving it's effectiveness. CBT focuses on both our "thinking habits", our "behaving habits" and how these interact to create emotional responses.
IS CBT EFFECTIVE?
While we cannot guarantee any specific results for individual patients, CBT has been shown to be effective for the treatment of numerous disorders over the course of many thousands of scientific studies. This is known as "evidence-based treatment" and means that rather than CBT being based on what we THINK works, it is based on scientific evidence. Research has shown that CBT is effective for disorders including depression, anxiety, chronic pain, disordered eating, low self-esteem, anger problems, addiction, psychosis and insomnia. In many of these studies, compared to medication alone or other non-evidence based treatments, those treated with CBT have more long lasting results.
HOW DOES CBT WORK?
The trick to understand CBT is truly in the name. A CBT therapist is focused on how people think (cognitions) and how they act (behaviors). CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts about an event impact our feelings and behavioral reactions. All of us interpret our experiences and give them meaning through our own lenses. What we often forget, is that more than one interpretation is often possible for the same event. Since our interpretations are based on a lifetime of experiences, thinking and behaving habits, we are all prone to biases in our thinking. Some of the resulting interpretations are unrealistic or unhelpful. These unrealistic or unhelpful thoughts often result in unpleasant emotions and unhelpful behavior such as avoidance. Avoiding situations serves to reinforce this pattern because we never gain the experience necessary to prove or disprove our thoughts. By gathering evidence and interpreting events based on facts, we are able to come up with more realistic and helpful interpretations that can guide our future behavior.
HOW DOES CBT DIFFER FROM OTHER TYPES OF TALK THERAPY?
While there are a wide array of therapeutic modalities available, CBT is a standout among them. Other therapy that you or your loved ones have experienced in the past may have been solely devoted to an exploration of your past or may have felt more like venting sessions rather than providing you with constructive tools and skills you can apply to your life. CBT, unlike several other forms of talk therapy, is based on scientific research. While you and your therapist may explore your past experiences, session are mostly present and future oriented and goal-driven. You and your therapist will be working to find effective tools to help you to achieve your goals. More specifically, you and your therapist will be exploring how your interpretations of events contribute to how you feel about them.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL SESSION LOOK LIKE?
A typical session will begin by the therapist collaboratively setting an agenda with the patient. This allows the session to remain focused on clients' goals. This is usually followed by reviewing any homework assigned at the previous session. The meat of the session will be devoted to working toward a client's goals. This may include learning new skills or tools. At the end of most sessions, the therapist will assign relevant homework to be completed prior to the next session.
WHAT TYPES OF CBT DO YOU OFFER?
We offer CBT to treat a variety of anxiety disorders, depression and a range of other concerns. We also offer CBTi (CBT for Insomnia) and CBTp (CBT for Psychosis) modalities that are specifically designed to treat insomnia and psychosis, respectively.
HOW LONG IS THE COURSE OF CBT TREATMENT?
While we do not like to predict how long a particular course of CBT may last, CBT research indicates that treatment for a specific therapeutic goal may be effective after a number of weeks or months of weekly treatment, rather than years. Every patient and every journey is different. While our work is informed by research, we tailor each therapeutic experience to a client's individual needs.
HOW DO I KNOW IF CBT IS FOR ME?
If you are person who is looking for goal-oriented, practical psychotherapy that focuses on teaching you to tackle your current and future problems, CBT may be for you! CBT is more time-efficient than older models of psychotherapy. Being a person who is willing to devote time and effort between sessions to working on achieving your goals makes you a better candidate for CBT. CBT also tends to appeal to those who appreciate a scientifically researched approach to therapy.