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What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?

There are a multitude of therapy “styles” available in the mental health field, and it can be difficult to know which one is a fit for you. The primary treatment model at The LodeStone Center is Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or “CBT”. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a present-oriented therapy, meaning the focus tends to be on current problems and symptoms, rather than underlying childhood issues. It is a treatment model in which the therapist and patient work as a team to identify and modify patterns of thought, behavior and emotion that maintain symptom patterns. Cognitive Behavior Therapy has been extensively demonstrated in clinical research to be effective in treating Depression, Anxiety and a host of other Psychological issues and disorders. Here are a few questions we are asked frequently about therapy, and CBT in particular:

Do we just talk about my feelings, or how my week went in therapy?

No. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is focused more on developing skills to help you reduce your symptoms, and prevent them in the future. Your therapist is definitely available to discuss troubling events, but the main focus of your therapy will be to change the patterns in your life that have led you to seek out help.

Can the same result be achieved with medication?

Not usually, though both can help. Cognitive Behavior Therapy addresses symptoms in a very different way than medications do. When you begin to develop new, healthy habits in how you think, and how you respond to emotions, those changes tend to be permanent. Medication will not change the way your process social interactions, emotional stimuli or stressful events in your life, but it will help correct chemical imbalances associated with Psychological symptoms. Often times, people get the best results from a combination of medication and therapy, and get the most long-term benefit from the work they do in therapy.

I am hesitant to see a Psychologist, because I’m not “mentally ill”. 

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is not just used to treat severe mental illness. A large portion of our country will experience a depressive episode or symptoms of anxiety at some point. CBT can even help health individuals learn to get more out of relationships, work life and have a happier home life. Sometimes, the role we play as Psychologists and therapists is very much like that of a “personal trainer for your emotional health”.

How long does CBT take?

That varies depending on the complexity of what you are struggling with, but Cognitive Behavior Therapy is typically a brief form of treatment compared to other approaches. The goal in CBT is to improve your symptoms, equip you with new skills, and allow you to take on the role of being your own “therapist”. Cognitive Behavior Therapists like to be able to observe tangible progress in therapy, and help you get back to living a symptom-free life as soon as possible.

 

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