What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) combines two very effective kinds of psychotherapy - cognitive therapy and behavior therapy. Cognitive Therapy essentially involves the pursuit of accurate thinking by learning a process to identify these inaccurate thoughts and then utilizing tools for changing them into more accurate beliefs that produce emotional relief and more productive behavioral strategies. These specific skills are learned in the context of a time-limited, supportive and collaborative relationship with your therapist. Both forms of therapy are used to help you better understand your psychological infrastructure that supports bothersome behaviors and reactions.
How does it actually work?
Cognitive therapy teaches you how certain thinking patterns, rules and core beliefs are causing your symptoms. These patterns are often giving you a distorted picture of what's going on in your life, and making you feel anxious, depressed or angry when no good reason exists, or provoking behaviors that only continue self-damaging ends. Then you are taught how to better evaluate your thinking from an objective viewpoint to determine if your thinking patterns are more accurately tied to the realities of a situation and/or person.
Behavior therapy helps you weaken the connections between troublesome situations and your habitual reactions to them, such as fear, depression or rage, and self-defeating or self-damaging behavior. This is accomplished through the use of graduated behavioral experiments in which new behaviors are learned and practiced to likely have desirable results. When combined into CBT, behavior therapy and cognitive therapy provide you with very powerful tools for stopping your symptoms and getting your life on a more satisfying track.
What is different about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you will be asked to set goals for what you want to achieve through this therapeutic work. "What would your life look like if you were able to better manage your depression, anxiety, etc.?" is a question that you will need to define for yourself. Because as you will see in our work together, we are collaborating to help you develop skills to manage your emotional self on a day to day basis for the rest of your life.
For example, can you imagine a life in which you were not suffering from depression? You might see yourself as being more social, exercising more regularly, having more energy to be more involved with various activities with your children, spouse, family ... to name just a few changes. And then when life throws you the various "curves" (challenges of life), and stressful times ensue, you are less likely to revert back to your old depressive behavioral patterns.
Or, imagine a life in which you were not suffering from severe levels of anxiety. For example, without the constant worrying tendency of generalized anxiety disorder, you might envision a life in which you smile and laugh more each day; without phobias, you might the ability to drive on that freeway again after many years of not doing so; without obsessive compulsive disorders, you might envision the ability to get through a day without constantly washing your hands to prevent contact with germs; without panic attacks, you might envision the ability to once again go into that shopping mall and be in a crowd of people without leaving early for fear of losing control; without post traumatic stress disorder, you might envision the ability to have a good night sleep without nightmares; without health anxiety, you might envision the ability to minimize your visits to the doctor for minor aches and pains; and without social phobias, you might envision the ability to say "hello" first to people you see in the hallways at work and to invite others to join you for that morning coffee break. This is the work of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy ... to help you achieve that life you have been wanting to live or to get back to life as you once knew it ... and to help you learn the skills for managing your emotional self for the rest of your life. This is some of the most exciting work you could ever do in therapy because it can open up endless possibilities for a more fulfilling life ahead.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?