CBT Therapy: Advice from Berkshire CBT Therapists
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a short-term form of psychotherapy that helps individuals replace negative thoughts and behaviors with more positive or productive ones. Using a combination of cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy, CBT can help people reduce stress, navigate relationship issues, and improve the symptoms of mental health disorders.
CBT is a problem-specific, goal-oriented approach that focuses on present-day thoughts, behaviors, and challenges. Above all else, CBT can help you understand how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors interact and learn valuable ways to change existing patterns.
From what to expect during therapy sessions to how to find the right therapist, here’s everything you need to know about CBT to decide whether it’s the right type of therapy for you.
What to Expect During Therapy Sessions
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on exploring the relationships between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. During your first session, your therapist will ask about your past experiences with therapy, as well as your current mental health problems, to help you set goals and explore your treatment options.
CBT is based on the concept that our thoughts, more than external events, influence our feelings and behaviors. As a result, we have much more control than we think, and it’s possible to foster positive behaviors and emotions by changing our thoughts. Throughout CBT therapy, you’ll work with your psychotherapist to uncover problematic thought patterns and how they might be related to self-destructive behavioral patterns.
By identifying negative thoughts, you can work together with your cognitive behavioral therapist to develop more constructive ways of thinking that will lead to positive behavior change through a process called cognitive restructuring. To help you learn CBT techniques and implement them in your daily life, your therapist may give homework assignments between sessions.
Compared to other types of therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is both short-term and time-limited. While the ideal number of therapy sessions will vary depending on your specific problem and situation, most treatments range from five to 20 sessions. CBT can help you set goals, learn different approaches to cope with difficult situations, and ultimately become your own therapist.
Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is associated with wide-ranging benefits—from its effectiveness as a short-term treatment to its ability to treat various mental illnesses. Research has shown that CBT is a valuable component of treatment plans for individuals with:
- Anxiety disorders, including social anxiety and phobias
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia
- Mood disorders, including bipolar disorder and depression
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Substance use disorders and addiction
CBT is also an effective treatment for chronic medical conditions, including chronic pain and chronic fatigue syndrome, as it provides helpful tools for individuals to manage their psychological distress. Research has demonstrated the efficacy of CBT in treating people of all ages, including children, adolescents, and young adults.
CBT has a considerable amount of data supporting its use as an effective therapeutic approach. Many mental health practitioners, including behavioral therapists, social workers, and psychologists, have training in various forms of CBT, making it an accessible form of psychotherapy.
How to Find a CBT Therapist
Whether you’re starting therapy for the first time or searching for a new psychotherapist, it’s essential to find someone you feel comfortable with. According to the American Psychological Association, your therapeutic relationship—the relationship between you and your therapist—can play an important role in your long-term mental health outcomes.
If you’re unsure where to start, consider asking your health provider for a psychotherapy referral or using an online therapy platform. Online therapy offers an accessible alternative to in-person therapy sessions, so you can learn new skills to cope with mental health symptoms from the comfort of your own home.
Depending on your specific problems, your cognitive behavioral therapist may recommend different forms of CBT to improve your symptoms. For example, if you have OCD or a phobia, exposure therapy can help you face your fears and reduce anxiety. On the other hand, if you’ve been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, dialectical behavioral therapy can help you identify your strengths and challenge automatic thoughts.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Berkshire County
Whether you’re experiencing low self-esteem, navigating a difficult life transition, or facing relapse after addiction recovery, therapy is the first step toward feeling better.
To find a CBT therapist, reach out to a mental health professional through The Berkshire Therapy Group. We’ll connect you to a compassionate, experienced cognitive behavioral therapist you’ll feel comfortable with based on your personal preferences and requirements. One of our therapists will help you navigate your mental health, learn new ways to cope with stress and improve your quality of life.