What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy? (CBT)
Clients and therapists work together to identify and understand problems in terms of the relationship between a person’s thoughts, emotions, physical sensations and behaviours. CBT is a form of psychotherapy that has been extremely well researched and found to be highly effective for a wide range of problems. CBT has been shown to be effective for:
• Social anxiety
• Anger difficulties
• Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
• ADD/ADHD and Other emotional and physical difficulties
What happens in CBT?
The aim is for the client to develop skills and strategies that can help to manage their difficulties, and to generate solutions to problems that are more helpful than their current way of coping. Learning these skills and strategies can continue to be used throughout the client’s life. This applies whether the client is an adult or child.
After an initial assessment to discuss a client’s problems, therapy usually focuses more on present difficulties. An understanding of a person’s life experience is helpful to see how difficulties have developed over time. The therapist and client will work to identify goals that are important to the client, and develop a shared treatment plan. These goals reviewed and monitored on an ongoing basis during therapy until the goals have been achieved or a plateau has been reached that is desirable to the client.
CBT is often time limited, where the number of sessions is often agreed between the client and the therapist. The usual number of treatment sessions is 12. This can then be reviewed during the course of treatment, and extended if required.
Treatment sessions are usually an hour, and may be weekly initially. They may progress to twice a week, or may occur more intensely such as once or twice a week for a few hours. As CBT is an active therapy, success of therapy is dependent on the client completing tasks between sessions, which is referred to as “Homework”.
Many different workbooks are used in conjunction with other “paper and pencil” tasks for homework and in-session education. Other tools include CD’s and recordings, depending upon which techniques and modalities are being used.
Individual or group treatment following assessment includes:
Learning use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques includes learning to think differently, by examining thoughts and how they affect behavior for:
· Decreasing Anger by exploring feelings and emotions
· Decreasing depression through examination of negative thinking and distorted thoughts
· Decreasing Stress by learning about the mind-body connection
· Improving mood and activity level by exploring activity and activation
· Dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder symptoms and attempting to extinguish them
ADD/ADHD and Executive Functioning Skills:
Specific techniques are reviewed and taught, to allow clients to develop and integrate skills the required to maintain an environment that allows them to function at their best. This includes:
· Skills training in organization and planning
· Setting goal-oriented priorities
· Problem solving, and learning how to persevere in stressful situations
· Managing distractibility
· Managing anger and frustration
· Overcoming procrastination