Cognitive behavior therapy, or CBT, is one of the most widely researched therapy modalities in use today. Made popular by Aaron Beck in the 1960s, CBT quickly became known as the most effective treatment for depression and depressive symptoms.
Today we know much about the reliability and validity of CBT, as researchers the world over have proven the substantial statistical significance of this therapeutic technique. Over the recent decades, cognitive behavior therapy has been expanded upon and is now seen as an effective treatment for a wide range of symptoms and disorders.
CBT is directive and goal oriented, focusing primarily on the identification of illogical and negative thought processes that produce unwanted emotions causing us unhealthy actions. The premise of CBT is that by changing the way a client thinks, you then change their feelings, which in turn corrects behavior. Very little concern is given to the historical origination of where we developed these thoughts, meaning that therapy focuses primarily on the client’s current thinking and behavior with the minimal psychoanalysis of the past.
How to prepare
Preparing for therapy with a therapist who uses CBT is similar to the preparation you would do for any therapeutic modality. Clients should try to be open to new ways of thinking about subjects because thought process will be challenged in order to change them to more positive and optimistic outlooks. Therapy is most effective when the client and therapist work as partners to determine major issues and how to solve them. Clients may want to take some time before therapy to think about what they want to accomplish through counseling and jot down a few ideas or subjects to bring up in session. We all have our good days and bad days, and while you may schedule your appointment when you are experiencing a bad day, it is possible that your actual session takes place on a day that is not so bad. This can make it difficult to recall why you were so upset in the first place. Writing down a few issues you have been dealing with will help you recall that which prompted you to seek help and thus make your session more effective.
What to expect
If you are interested in CBT and would like a therapist who specializes in that treatment method, please mention your interest when calling to make your initial appointment. Most therapists use a combination of techniques tailored to each individual client and their needs and personalities. Many of the therapists at Noyau have a core methodology of CBT in combination with other theoretical orientations that allow for a more individualized and effective treatment plan.
The initial session with a CBT therapist will resemble a therapeutic interview, where the therapist asks a series of guided questions to gather a detailed history, current challenges you are facing, and an understanding of your subjective world view. A subsequent session will focus on conscious and subconscious thought processes that occur throughout your day. You will be assigned homework at the end of most sessions designed to help you tap into what these thoughts are and how they are affecting you emotionally.
Once you and your therapist have identified the unproductive thought processes, you will then begin to learn how to halt this line of thinking. Again, your therapist will assign you a homework assignment to help you work through this.
At the point when you are able to recognize negative or illogical thinking and halt the process, you and your therapist will then begin to work on changing those thoughts to more positive and productive ways of thinking. Individualized techniques will be demonstrated during sessions to help you develop these skills outside of therapy. Again, your therapist may ask you to repeat previous assignments to help you continue to be cognizant of your thinking.
Remember, these ways of thinking did not occur overnight but rather developed over the course of your life. It is likely that it will take some time for you to automatically think positively and see things differently. This is normal and expected. CBT, like any other type of therapy, is a process that you will continue long after you leave therapy.
Therapy will teach you how to minimize your symptoms and deal with situations as they arise. It is helpful to think of different techniques as various hypotheses to a problem. Testing these hypotheses in between sessions, by challenging your negative self-talk and adjusting your behaviors, will help you identify which techniques work best for you. As every person is a unique individual, so to should your treatment plan be unique and individual. Talk with your therapist about what works best for you so that, together, adjustments on treatment can be made to ensure the most effective therapy experience possible.