About Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a gentle, collaborative approach to working through problems. We introduce and discuss ideas, educate, and work with short experiments that challenge beliefs and unhelpful assumptions that perpetuate problematic beliefs and behaviors.
In applying CBT to peoples’ problems, I assume that it is only normal to face stress and upset from time to time. Fortunately it usually goes away in a reasonable period of time one way or the other whether we solve the problem behind it or it just seems to fade into the background.
I see CBT as a gentle collaborative approach to working on problems. We introduce and discuss ideas, educate, and work with short experiment that challenge beliefs and unhelpful assumptions that perpetuate problematic beliefs and behaviors. Research strongly suggests that CBT can be useful in improving or resolving a variety of problems such as panic, worry, depression, phobias, OCD, compulsions, health related fears, pain related problems in coping and habit control.
In this way it makes sense to me that problems in life are for the most part self-regulating. When stress and emotional problems persist it suggests that something has corrupted that self-regulation enabling the distress to endure. In CBT we undertake the task of looking for beliefs, thoughts and behaviors that inadvertently prevent self-regulation. When a problem persists we are usually doing something that makes a lot of sense on the surface but unfortunately winds up feeding and perpetuating the problem. And in this way cognitive behavioral therapy takes a keen interest in what it is that we learned once we began having a problem to figure out how the problem developed a life of its own and how we can do something about it. For example, after falling off a horse and developing a fear of horses, we might learn to avoid horses in order to feel calm. Though it is a perfectly rational response, it does serve to perpetuate the fear when problem thoughts and assumptions prevent more helpful learning to occur.
A typical course of treatment will involve the following phases:
- Assessment and history taking
- Education about a problem and conceptualization
- Introducing information, tools and ideas and applying these
- Refinement of the tools and ideas we are working with
- Prevention and limiting the reoccurrence of problems