Over the years, I’ve found that there are some questions that I’ve asked time and again about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and how it works. Thought I’d share them with you- please comment if there are others you’d like me to address in future blogs!
WHAT IS COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT)?
The theory behind cognitive behavioral therapy is that the relationship between thoughts, behaviors, and feelings dictates how we function. By identifying unhelpful thoughts or habits and replacing them with more helpful messages, positive changes are created.
Other modalities under the CBT umbrella are Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Trauma-Focused CBT (TF-CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Therapy (CT), Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Integrative Couples Behavior Therapy (ICBT).
IS CBT A GOOD FIT FOR MY NEEDS?
Research has established that cognitive therapy is useful for a large array of issues such as depression and anxiety , phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, insomnia and pain management. Trauma-focused CBT has been proven effective for PTSD and is used in many counseling programs.
WHAT IS THE RESEARCH REGARDING CBT’S EFFECTIVENESS?
Ongoing and substantial work continues to reflect efficacy for a multitude of mental health issues. Funded by the National Institute of Health, a review of the research on identified therapeutic approaches asserts cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective interventions for short and long-term benefits.
The Efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Review of Meta-analyses (2012)
HOW DOES CBT HELP ME IN THE LONG TERM?
The reason that cognitive therapy fares so well in long-term studies is that it provides tools that the client can generalize to future challenges. Most people report finding that using the techniques in other aspects of their life becomes quite natural after practice.
HOW LONG UNTIL I SEE RESULTS?
When you see a cognitive behavioral therapist, you and the clinician work as a team to help you change your presenting problems. The more you work outside of the sessions by doing your homework, the faster you will make improvements. Many clients report a shift within the first week.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COGNITIVE THERAPY AND HYPNOSIS?
Aaron Beck, the father of cognitive behavioral therapy, has endorsed the use of hypnotherapy along with CBT. Integrating the two can ‘amplify’ the healthy thoughts and behaviors that the client and psychotherapist have identified as target goals.
In today’s society, we all face many challenges in our daily lives. With demanding schedules, the increase in technology and increased external expectations, a greater number of people are reaching out for therapeutic assistance to help them cope with their day to day lives and move towards greater productivity and happiness. When it comes to treatment for many mental health concerns, one method that has shown particular effectiveness in clinical studies is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
In the beginnings of my clinical work, I practiced what therapists call the ‘eclectic approach’, which is essentially using different techniques from various theorists depending on the client. Over the past 15 years, my practice and experience grew and I found that cognitive therapy consistently resulted in more effective and long lasting results.
Only after several years of specialized training under the Cognitive Therapy and Training Center, which is certified by Academy of Cognitive Therapy, I considered myself to be a true cognitive behavioral therapist. While reviewing research and consulting in the field, I became aware that clinical hypnosis is often used alongside CBT to ‘amplify’ the desired shifts in thought and behavior. Although qualified cognitive behavioral therapists and hypnotherapists were accessible in San Diego, there were few clinicians who specialize in both. I moved ahead and completed Michael Yapko’s intensive training in clinical hypnosis for mental health specialists. The results have been remarkable, and I am so pleased that I am able to offer such an exceptional mode of treatment.