What is CBT?

CBT is evidence-based psychotherapy and is most appropriate for a variety of anxiety and depressive problems (depression, low motivation, panic, social phobia, generalized anxiety, trauma, OCD, relationship issues). The goal is often to alleviate symptoms, teach clients new tools that will assist in making long-term changes for years after therapy ends. The approach focused on the present and when needed incorporates the past in such a way as to strengthen a client’s skills sets both in and out of the home.

Where did CBT originate?

The first therapeutic approach to CBT was Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), which was originated by Albert Ellis, Ph.D. in the mid-1950’s.  Ellis (cited as the most influential psychologist of the 20th century) developed his approach in reaction to his disliking of the” inefficient nature of Psychoanalysis.” In the 1960’s Aaron Beck. M.D. created Cognitive Therapy and became famous for his research and treatment of depression. Today, there are multitudes of research and protocols of evidenced based practices in CBT. Padesky & Mooney’s Strength-based CBT approach is  the most current and exciting direction in CBT literature.

How do I know if CBT is right for me?

CBT is often the best fit for people who want an effective, collaborative, strengths-based no-nonsense approach to relieve their symptoms and that will teach them tools to prevent relapses in the future.

What happens during a CBT session?

CBT often entails hour-long sessions, over a period which typically lasts from 10 to 21 weeks.  CBT is collaborative, time-limited, focuses on present distress and at times incorporates the past in such a way to strengthen newer strategies and skills.  Typically in-between work that may only require a few minutes a day is collaborated on between the client and therapist to maximize learning and decrease length of treatment as studies have shown. 

How is progress determined?

Unlike many other therapies CBT routinely obtains data on a weekly basis to gauge progress to know whether improvements are being made. This allows the client and therapist to adjust a course of treatment as needed to maximize the effectiveness of treatment.

What are some Common CBT Treatment Strategies?

CBT is different from many forms of therapy. Where some therapies help clients to feel better, the Cognitive Therapy Institute of Southern California’s approach helps clients to get better.

If you want psychotherapy that has been documented to be effective, take a closer look. There are many evidence-based techniques that we tailor to your treatment. Interventions may involve specifically addressing some of the following:

Things you Think          Things you Do          Things you Feel

Addressing things you Think:

  • ‘Cognitive restructuring’ teaches clients to re-evaluate their unhelpful thinking patterns that often originally developed for good reason but currently contribute to their presenting problems. Identifying and revising beliefs about oneself, the world, and others can assist clients in being goals focused and to becomes more inline which what they have wished to be.
  • New effective strategies promotin goal-directed problem solving and decision making are emphasized.
  • ‘Mindfulness” techniques assist clients in really seeing some thoughts as just that thoughts and that they do not have to determine behaviors or unhelpful beliefs about themselves or others.

Addressing things you Do:

  • Clients are taught how to make small steps that will culminate to having large impact. This is a collaborative and exploratory process to uncover data that will unleash their improve their motivation and follow through.
  • Activities that are planned and combined based off client’s goals promote accomplishment, pleasure and culminates to a better sense of mastery over their mood that further improved progress toward goals.
  • New tools may be provided to enhance confidence, assertion, and one’s ability to regulate and control their responses to triggering events.

Addressing things you Feel:

  • Clients are sometimes taught how to regulate painful emotions, change them in the moment, as well as the ability to accept or tolerate them when needed.
  • Often described at the “Aspirin of CBT” Relaxation exercises are often included to reduce stress that better assist working with a clients thoughts and behaviors.
  • Strategies against self-harm, rage and impulsive urges are also taught to assist in quickly changing one’s feelings in the moment.

What questions should I ask my potential therapist?

When interviewing new therapists, clients should ask if they are licensed as a psychologist, LCSW, or MFT. Some Master’s level therapist who call themselves “Dr.” obtain units to satisfy a doctorate degree but have not gone through the rigorous training and licensure of a licensed psychologist.  Find out how many years of licensed practice they have and what advanced certifications that they may have related to your presenting concerns. Some newly licensed or registered therapists charge rates similar to experienced professionals.