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Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is a structured, compassionate, present-oriented psychotherapy focused on solving current problems and teaching skills to modify dysfunctional thinking and behavior. CBT theorists and practitioners believe that the way individuals perceive a situation is more closely connected to their reaction than the situation, itself. Given this, an important aspect of cognitive behavior therapy is helping clients change their unhelpful thinking and behavior so that they will experience an enduring improvement in their emotions, mood, and functioning. CBT treatment can be helpful for a wide range of problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, attention and behavior problems, parent-child conflicts, couple conflicts, and more.
CBT treatment is different from long-term psychotherapies such as psychodynamic treatment. The relationship between therapist and patient is collaborative, the treatment goals are clear, and the process offers cognitive and behavioral strategies designed to accomplish treatment goals. Development of this collaborative relationship is key… This means that both the patient and therapist must take an active role in understanding the client’s issues, identifying the goals to be accomplished through treatment and working to reach these goals.
Your CBT therapist will begin by conducting a detailed assessment of problems and symptoms and then determine what you hope to gain in treatment. You and your therapist will work together to develop a personal, individualized treatment plan with those goals in mind. A specific agenda, with various techniques and concepts, is set for every session. To obtain significant improvement with CBT, motivation is vital. CBT requires a great deal of commitment and effort from both parties. It is important for the client to give feedback—both positive and negative—at each therapy session. This allows the therapist to alter the speed, style and content of future sessions to meet the specific needs of the individual patient.
Patients will also be given “homework” assignments to complete outside of therapy sessions. These tasks are assigned to reinforce the skills learned during the sessions. While participating in CBT requires helpful and rewarding (although not always easy) work and energy… the outcome can be extraordinary.