What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a blend of two therapies: cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. Cognitive therapy is a structured, problem focused treatment that examines a person’s thoughts and beliefs, and how they influence one’s mood and actions, and aims to modify a person’s thinking to be more adaptive and healthy. A basic premise of CBT is that your thoughts and beliefs have the greatest impact on how you feel and behave. Therefore, you can feel better by changing the way you think. Another basic premise of cognitive behavior therapy is that people learn to feel certain ways because of experiences they have. This learning process ultimately affects the behaviors that people engage in (e.g. avoidance of certain situations). In turn, these behaviors then increase the intensity of emotions over time and make the problems significantly worse.

Behavior therapy helps people unlearn negative emotions by modifying the dysfunctional behaviors that are currently perpetuating these emotions. In addition, Behavioral therapy helps one to develop skills such as relaxation training and mindfulness based stress reduction to help reduce tension and stress and improve focus and clarity. In summary, CBT is an active and collaborative treatment that helps a person focus on his or her current problems and how to solve them.

Some of the most common objectives

  • Adjust to a crisis or other current difficulty.
  • Identify negative beliefs and behaviors and replace them with healthy, positive ones.
  • Explore relationships and experiences, and develop positive interactions with others.
  • Identify issues that contribute to your situation and change behaviors that make it worse.
  • Regain a sense of satisfaction and control in your life and help ease symptoms, such as hopelessness and anger.
  • Learn to set realistic goals for your life.
  • Develop the ability to tolerate and accept distress using healthy coping mechanisms

Some common problems we treat

  • Stress reactions
  • Relationship difficulties (i.e., spouse, children, parents, peers, colleagues)
  • Behavior management problems
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Specific phobias (e.g., flying, dogs, heights)
  • Panic disorder (with our without agoraphobia)
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Suicidal and non suicidal self-injurious behaviors
  • Habit disorders (procrastination, overeating, nail-biting, mild substance use)
  • Strengths assessment to help optimize productivity and functioning in a variety of contexts (i.e., work, relationships, personal life