What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), and why does it require specific treatment considerations?

CBT combines cognitive and behavioral therapies into a strong empirical supported technique for treating mood and anxiety disorders, such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorders (Chambless & Ollendick, 2001; DeRubeis & CritsChristoph, 1998).

The basic premise of CBT is that emotions will respond to changing thoughts and behaviors that are contributing to the distressing emotions. CBT builds a set of skills that enables an individual to be aware of thoughts, behaviors and emotions; identify how situations, thoughts, and behaviors influence emotions; and improve feelings by changing dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors.

I work with my clients to gain these CBT skills. Learning skills is what sets CBT apart from pure “talk therapies.” In each session, we allow time to process emotions, but also to teach skills to address the presenting problem that then can be used as a new life skill.

CBT takes an average of 12-20 sessions. We can concentrate on specific issues with specific treatments for a limited number of your problems. Specificity of issue and the treatment allows for a limited number of sessions.  Because of the limited time involved, the client is required to be diligent. Time-limited therapy offers additional incentive for us to work efficiently and effectively. However, the exact length of treatment will likely be determined by a host of factors involving your history, those things going on in your life and your condition.

One of the most common complaints is that often CBT therapists are expected by payers to rigidly adhere to a “set schedule” of progress or topics. However, in our work you will find that you are in control of your therapy;  so I am flexible and adaptive in approaching all situations paying particular attention to your unique needs and readiness to approach a topic.

Most CBT skill acquisition can be greatly accelerated using hypnosis, this is called Cognitive Hypnotherapy. One main premise of all types of behavior therapy is that many behaviors become so highly learned they become automatic, we often call these habits. We can also have habits of the mind, such as thinking or ruminating negatively or positively. These automatic habits of behavior and thinking can be changed quickly, easily and pleasantly using hypnosis.
Another form of CBT I practice is Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for depression. I offer this as a 8-week empirically supported protocol to teach deep relaxation and mindfulness skills. We retrain the brain’s tendency to slide into depression by providing alternative neuropathways. This shift results in a natural rebalancing of the brain’s neurotransmitters and a return to ability to feel pleasure and have more energy.
Trauma Focused Therapy is focused on first working all life issues in the context of first resolving the residual effects of the person’s trauma. It teaches specific skill to reduce anxiety, hypervigilance and irritability. It helps build tolerance and reduce avoidance of places, people or situations that may trigger uncomfortability. This therapy is delivered in a compassionate caring way, that helps rebuild trust and confidence.