Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological treatment that can be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, trauma, alcohol and drug use problems, marital difficulties, social anxiety, panic attacks, and eating disorders. In several studies, CBT has shown to be as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications.

Cognitive behavior therapy is centered around the cognitive model of psychopathology. This model illustrates how perceptions about situations influence emotional and behavioral reactions. Thus, psychological problems are based, in part, on unhelpful ways of thinking. An individual’s perceptions or thoughts can be distorted, contributing to distress and the development of certain psychological problems. Through CBT, an individual learns to identify, accurately evaluate, and correct thoughts so they more accurately resemble reality.  This realistic way of thinking reduces distress, distortions in thinking, reduces symptoms, promotes more helpful ways of thinking, and can improve self-esteem.

CBT treatment incorporates strategies to change dysfunctional ways of thinking.  The psychologist and patient collaborate to understand the problem and create and adopt a treatment strategy. Among these strategies are:

  • Understanding and learning to recognize distortions in thinking that are contributing to psychological problems
  • Evaluate, challenge, and modify dysfunctional ways of thinking so that they are more realistic
  • Adopting a better understanding of other people’s behaviors and motivations
  • Applying problem-solving skills to cope with difficult situations
  • Developing a sense of confidence in abilities.

CBT treatment also involves efforts to change behavioral patterns. These strategies may include:

  • Confronting fears instead of avoiding them
  • Role-playing to prepare for potentially problematic interactions with others
  • Relaxation techniques.

SageForth Psychological Services is here to help.  Contact us at 703-999-8636 for a consultation.