Making Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Work For New Practitioners
CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is an evidence-based type of therapy that can help you create healthier thoughts and behaviors. Usually, CBT entails a limited number of sessions where we explore your thoughts, beliefs and feelings together.
A therapist can assist you in recognizing negative thought patterns and irrational emotions, as well as providing insight into how these have affected your life and how to alter them.
Your therapist may employ various techniques to make this process simpler and more effective. These may include guided discovery, behavioral experiments, and role-playing.
Guided discovery is a technique in which the therapist asks you questions to assess your thinking and ensure it’s based on fact. It helps identify irrational thoughts and their consequences, so that you can reinterpret them and alter the way you think.
Behavioral experiments are another effective tool for uncovering irrational thoughts and their consequences. They are intended to test your fears or phobias, which may be uncomfortable but ultimately help you conquer them.
Role-playing is an effective cognitive behavioral therapy technique that involves replicating difficult situations to help build confidence and enhance social interactions.
Problem-solving is an integral component of therapy, as it helps you deal with stressful situations that could cause anxiety or depression. This technique may involve practicing strategies to address stressors you already know how to handle, such as relaxation or breathing exercises.
Self-monitoring is another effective tool in treating anxiety and depression. It allows you to keep track of your symptoms, behaviors, and thoughts so that you can monitor changes over time.
Your therapist, with or without assistance from another trusted individual, can assist in setting goals and working toward them structuredly so that success becomes achievable. With their guidance, it will become easier to stay motivated throughout the process.
Your therapist will also instruct you on how to utilize CBT tools between sessions, so that you get the most from your treatment. These may include journaling, self-esteem activities and goal setting.
Utilizing these tools between sessions can expedite the change process and minimize therapy sessions. Plus, you have the added bonus of working on these tasks from home!
A successful therapy requires care, warmth, empathy and competence from the therapist in order to foster an intimate therapeutic bond with the patient. This bond is key in creating a successful treatment program.
Your therapist should have an understanding of cognitive-behavioral therapy, developed in the 1960s by psychiatrist Aaron Beck. He believed that automatic negative thoughts can be at the core of most emotional problems and that altering them can foster a more optimistic outlook on life.
Judith Beck, following in her father’s footsteps, made a major impact on cognitive behavioral therapy practice. She developed ten principles which are still used today in clinical settings and has authored multiple books such as Making Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Work, Third Edition and Improving Outcomes and Preventing Relapse in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.