Chances are that if you’ve found this article, then you’ve been looking into starting therapy. As someone looking into starting therapy, you’re probably seeing a whole lot of mentions of CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy. While much of its popularity is due to it being favored by insurance companies, the preference of insurance companies is not without reason. So let’s have a look at what the fuss is all about. We can even learn a little bit about how the clinicians at Citron Hennessey in Manhattan practice CBT.
EXPLAINING WHAT CBT IS
Every therapist, whatever their style, wants to help you understand how your past and present are leading you to create or interpret the world around you in the ways that lead to your symptoms. The strategy of therapists focused on CBT is to teach you quickly and clearly how your thoughts and behaviors combine to make symptoms such as anger, anxiety, and sadness worse. During counseling, your CBT therapist will share methods that teach you to replace unhelpful or unhealthy thoughts and behaviors with ones that will create an improvement in your mental health.
If you are thinking that this is a pretty broad umbrella, you’re not wrong. Lots of therapies, including rational emotive behavior therapy and Adlerian therapy could fit in the above description. And the truth is even therapists who might be described as more feeling-focused or empathy-focused, such as Rogerian or psychodynamic therapists, also often work with CBT-like themes.
THE BENEFITS OF CBT
Really, it isn’t revolutionary to start therapy from the idea that your thoughts impact how you act, and that how you act influences how you see things. However, CBT’s practical, short term, present-focused methods lend themselves to testing in experiments. As a result, CBT practitioners can point to reams of research that show how useful it is, particularly in the short- and mid-term time frames. Hundreds of studies do show how it is quickly effective for a host of mental health issues.
Once a CBT-trained therapist understands what brings you to therapy, they are able to create a relatively fast-paced and problem-solving treatment plan. In sessions, the therapist will teach you about the problems you’re facing, and how your thoughts and behaviors are leading to your symptoms. There won’t be as many discussions focused on telling your therapist about your feelings. In addition, CBT pretty much always involves homework assignments between sessions. These assignments include goal-setting and achievement-oriented worksheets, as well as journaling, relaxation techniques, and real-world tasks.
These methods work because they teach you to connect how you’re acting to the emotional state you are in when you act in ways you don’t like, such as drinking too much, being “lazy”, or self-sabotaging choices due to fear or anxiety. So as you get started, your CBT therapist is going to want you to help them identify specific behaviors you wish to change or improve (or start!). Then, they will help you commit to acting in new ways while teaching yourself to react differently to the stressors in your life.
As you go forward in your treatment, you’ll become more and more aware of how you reactively think in response to the things that happen to you, and you’ll get better at catching unhelpful responses, stopping them from being like reflexes, and ultimately replacing them with healthier thoughts. As you get better at this, you’ll take on more assignments focused on inspiring specific, healthier behaviors.
COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY AT CITRON HENNESSEY
Here at Citron Hennessey, all our clinicians are trained in CBT. They are also trained in the closely related school of therapy I mentioned above, namely rational emotive behavior therapy. Rational emotive behavior therapy takes the role of emotions as well as the themes of personal responsibility and choice into more explicit account. If you’d like to learn more and schedule an appointment, then please contact us!