Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) rests on the idea that our deeply ingrained – or sometimes unconscious – perceptions and beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world influences our thoughts (cognitions), feelings (emotions), and behaviors. A CBT therapist will help you evaluate and modify inaccurate or negative thoughts so that you can respond to challenging situations more effectively.

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CBT has been demonstrated to effectively treat a wide array of mental health disorders, including:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Stress, depression, or anxiety
  • Professional or relational stressors
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

What happens during cognitive behavioral therapy?

A CBT session will likely include the following elements:

  1. Identify a difficult situation that you experienced.

This can include challenging interactions, difficult emotions, or unhelpful behavioral patterns that you would like to change.

  1. Increasing your awareness of your thoughts, emotions, and behavioral responses. 

A CBT therapist will have you share what thoughts, emotions, and behaviors you experienced during the situation. You may find it helpful to keep a thought journal throughout your week to keep track of your responses. These responses often include your interpretations of events, assumptions that you make about the intentions of others or beliefs about yourself.

  1. Identifying and evaluating negative or inaccurate thoughts. Replacing or modifying negative or inaccurate thoughts with thoughts that are rational, realistic, and helpful.

Your therapists will help you evaluate whether your thoughts reflect an accurate depiction of reality and will teach you strategies to challenge negative or inaccurate thoughts.