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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: What Is It and How Can It Help?

Psychologist Ankita Magdani consulting with patient for cognitive behavior therapy How you see the world determines how you feel about it and respond to it. Therefore, changing the way you look at things will affect your feelings and behavior.   This cognitive model is the framework from which cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) operates. If you are looking for depression and anxiety treatment without medication, you should consider CBT.  

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a goal-focused, present-oriented, solution-based, and structured psychotherapy (i.e., talk therapy) used to treat a wide range of conditions. It is commonly used in depression therapy and anxiety treatment, among others.   CBT approaches psychological issues through the cognitive model framework. According to this theory, a person's cognition – which encompasses how they think, learn, remember, and perceive – drives their feelings and behavior.   In short, the way a person thinks, perceives, learns, and remembers a situation determines how they feel about it and behave because of it.  

CBT is a proven method of treating psychological problems. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), there is ample scientific evidence that CBT methods produce change.

What Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treat?

Cognitive behavioral therapy treats mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, personality disorders, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and severe mental illness.  

CBT is also helpful in addressing chronic pain and other issues like procrastination, marital problems, and substance abuse.

Why Choose Evolve Brain Training for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Evolve Brain Training strictly follows the CBT methodology for maximum results.  

Compliance with the CBT premise, framework, and techniques is the hallmark of cognitive behavioral therapy at Evolve Brain Training.

Self-Help Assignments

Evolve Brain Training provides many relevant self-help assignments after every session. These self-help assignments maximize the positive effects of CBT sessions. They help the client build on what they learn during their CBT sessions.

Collaborative

At Evolve Brain Training, the psychotherapist and the client work together to understand the problem and agree on the goal of therapy.  

The therapist and the client also work together to formulate a treatment strategy.

Emphasis on the Present and the Future

At Evolve Brain Training, CBT is focused on the now and on moving on instead of focusing on the past.   Emphasis falls on what the client is going through or experiencing right now – how they think, feel, and behave.   The therapist will not dwell on what might be years' worth of accumulated experiences and events leading up to the client's current problems.   The therapist might establish some historical background, but the focus will always be on solutions, reducing depression, anxiety, or whatever psychological problems the client is experiencing.  

The goal is to help the client overcome their current psychological symptoms so they can look forward to a more functional future, one without or with less intense symptoms.

Structured and Time-Bound

At Evolve Brain Training, cognitive behavioral therapy follows a set structure.  

Like any treatment, it begins with a diagnosis of what's ailing the client. The therapist then designs a custom treatment strategy involving a set number of CBT sessions and homework assignments.

Specific and Goal-Focused

Cognitive behavioral therapy at Evolve Brain Training focuses on goals and solutions. From the start, the therapist asks the client about the psychological problems they wish to address.  

Thus, if the client has a fear of flying, the goal of CBT would be to enable them to ride on an airplane. If the client has anxiety and depression, treating their anxiety and depression, and alleviating their symptoms would be the goal.

Solution Focused

Aside from being focused on specific psychological problems, CBT at Evolve Brain Training is geared towards solving the issues that have been identified during assessment and in CBT sessions.  

All sessions and all homework are designed to help the client overcome their psychological problems.

The Client is Their Own Therapist

CBT works in a way that lets the client be their own therapist. CBT at Evolve Brain Training involves the client throughout the process, from the start to the end of treatment, in sessions and homework assignments.

How Does CBT Work?

CBT for stress, eating disorders, substance dependence, anxiety, or depression treatment requires: CBT stems from the premise that psychological problems are based partly on:

Therefore, CBT takes a two-pronged approach in treating psychological problems.

Correcting Distorted Cognition

To treat psychological problems, flawed or futile ways of thinking and behaving need to be addressed. After a person's cognition and habitual patterns of behavior change, they will overcome their psychological problems.  

In other words, one will be able to change the way they feel and behave.

Coping Mechanisms

CBT also believes that one may gain relief from psychological symptoms and improve their quality of life by learning to cope better with their psychological problems.   A client presenting with depression and anxiety will be made aware of any flawed thought processes and problematic habitual patterns of behavior that contribute to their fear and depression. Additionally, CBT will also teach them how to reduce depression and anxiety through coping mechanisms.  

For instance, cognitive therapy for depression may include homework that will distract the client and detract from their feelings of despair. Their anxiety disorder treatment or coping mechanism, on the other hand, may involve a minute of breathing exercises whenever they feel overwhelmed with fear or anxiety.

What Does the CBT Process Look Like?

Cognitive behavioral therapy usually follows this process.

1. 15-Minute Free Consultation

The client tells the therapist about their specific problems and the goals they want to achieve from the treatment.

2. Assessment Process

At this stage, the therapist and the client talk in depth about the client's problems. The therapist assesses the client's cognitive processes and learned behaviors, based upon which they will formulate a treatment strategy.

3. CBT Sessions

The client returns for their CBT sessions. The number of sessions required will be stated from the start and depend on the therapist's assessment of the client's condition.  

The therapist will have a specific objective for every session. The client, moreover, is given homework or assignment that they need to accomplish in between sessions.

  Homework or assignments given after every session are designed to reinforce what the client is learning in CBT sessions, train them in critical coping mechanisms, and test their commitment to the process.

4. Evaluation

The therapist and the client jointly assess progress at this point. They will determine and recognize their successes and failures. The therapist and the client may declare the treatment an unqualified success or decide to continue the treatment.

Depending on the progress moreover, the therapist might move the client to cognitive behavioral coaching.

What to Expect During a CBT Session

In a CBT session, the therapist talks about the client's cognitive processes and learned behaviors.   To correct distorted cognitive processes, the therapist helps the client do the following, as applicable. The therapist helps the client do the following, as applicable, to equip the client with the appropriate coping mechanisms. The therapist may expose the client to their source of fear to desensitize them and increase their confidence in their ability to face what scares them. The therapist can help the client practice their behavior in stressful situations. For instance, if the client is afraid of talking to other people, the therapist can set up many role-playing activities to help them practice their social skills. The therapist could teach them meditation, which they can use for anxiety management. The therapist also checks on the client's progress in overcoming their condition.   Is the client still feeling depressed, and if so, how often? What triggered their anxiety? What caused them stress between the last session and now? Are they practicing their coping mechanisms?   These are some of the questions a therapist might ask and probe in a CBT session. The therapist will also often check the client's compliance with their homework assignments.   Cognitive behavioral therapy is a demonstrably effective way of addressing depression, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, and many more conditions.   It is based on a robust framework that says what you feel and how you behave depend on how you think and perceive things. Therefore, changing the way you think and perceive things can significantly improve your psychological symptoms.   If you or someone you love needs help dealing with anxiety, depression, stress, or other psychological problems, try cognitive behavioral therapy.   Contact us to schedule a consultation.
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