Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a common type of therapy employed by counselors, psychologists and social workers to help facilitate positive change in an individual’s life. Cognitive Therapy is usually more focused on the present, is more time-limited than some other therapies, and is more problem-solving oriented. In addition, patients learn specific skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. These skills involve identifying distorted/irrational thinking, modifying beliefs, relating to others in different ways, and changing behaviors. The behavioral part of cognitive behavioral therapy involves doing things or behaving in a different and potentially healthier way to help facilitate growth and change.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy typically includes these steps:
- Identify troubling situations or conditions in your life.
- Become aware of your thoughts, emotions and beliefs about these situations or conditions.
- Identify negative or inaccurate thinking and exploring where or how these thought patterns or beliefs developed.
- Challenge negative or inaccurate thinking. This last step often includes changing behavior to help facilitate healthy growth.
The therapist's approach will depend on your particular situation and preferences. Often therapists combine CBT methods with other therapy approaches such as interpersonal therapy or a psychodynamic approach. It is common for CBT to include assignments or tasks assigned to the client to work on outside of the therapy session.
Length of psychotherapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is generally considered short-term therapy — about 10 to 20 sessions but may be shorter or longer depending on the issues. Factors which may affect the length of treatment include: type of issue or situational stressors, severity, length of symptom presentation, effort and follow through with therapy plan, consistency of therapy, social and/or family support.
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