Among the various psychotherapeutic “talk therapies,” cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) appears to be the most effective approach. CBT is the modality of treatment I use within my psychotherapy practice in the Bay Area, CA. Like all psychotherapies, much of the success depends on the skill of the therapist as well as the connection one develops with their therapist over time. What can you expect in a typical session of CBT?
Approach. CBT focuses on identifying distorted perceptions that people have developed of the world and themselves, revealing how these maladaptive perceptions influence feelings and behavioral choices. CBT strategies help people adjust these perceptions, and discover new, healthier patterns of thinking. These perceptions, known as schemas, are negative assumptions developed in childhood that can precipitate and prolong mood disturbances. CBT works on the principle that these schemas can be recognized and altered, thereby changing the response and eliminating disturbance in mood.
- First, you will learn to recognize depressive and/or anxious reactions and thoughts as they occur, usually by keeping a journal of thoughts, feelings and reactions to daily events.
- “Homework” may be given in order to practice testing old, negative assumptions against reality, illuminating what may have been previously ignored or overlooked
- In conjunction with your therapist, you will learn to examine and challenge these maladaptive automatic thoughts and reactions.
- You will learn to identify how your particular style of thinking has led to patterns of low moods as well as patterns in interpersonal conflicts. You will learn how to employ new, healthy coping strategies tailored to your special needs.
Over time, CBT can help to rebuild the confidence necessary for you to sustain healthier patterns of functioning.