Overcome Challenges Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT for substance abuse focuses on client's learning to identify the thoughts and beliefs (often negative thoughts about themselves and their lives) that lead them to turn to drugs or alcohol. Treatment helps the client unlearn old patterns of behavior and to learn new ways of coping with situations and thoughts that may have led them to use substances in the past. Attention is also focused on the underlying issues that often co-occur with substance use, such as depression and anxiety.
Medication management and social supports are primary treatment elements for Schizophrenia to help minimize the impact of the symptoms and achieve a higher level of stability. Research has shown that CBT, as an additional treatment component, can help a patient cope with symptoms and increase compliance with medication. Therapy also helps support clients learn more adaptive and realistic interpretations of events and are also taught various coping techniques for dealing with "voices" or other hallucinations. Through therapy, clients learn how to identify what events may increase episodes of psychosis, which can help reduce the impact of such episodes on their life. CBT for Schizophrenia also stresses skill-oriented therapies, where clients learn skills to cope with life's challenges, elements of daily functioning, and problem-solving skills.
Couple’s Therapy can be an important aspect to the long-term health and success of relationships, both as a preventative measure to conflict and stress, but also as a way to directly address areas of need within the relationship. Couple’s therapy can be used for:
- New relationships (sometimes called premarital counseling) with partners who want to address important areas of relationships to feel more committed, confident, and secure.
- Address and enhance challenges with sexual intimacy, including building trust and comfort in sexual relationships. Navigate issues of differences in frequency of sexual desire, feelings of rejection and hurt, and help support the development of emotionally safe sexual relationships after a partner has experienced or has a history of sexual trauma
- Enhance communication within the relationship
- Partners who are navigating betrayal or infidelity and want to repair or compassionately end their relationship.
- Discussing variables and factors that inevitably impact relationships – such as expectations, parenthood and children, family planning, finances, etc.
- Biological families, blended families, and families-of-choice who are trying to create more stability and deepen intimacy bonds.
Multiple studies have shown that CBT is a particularly effective treatment for depression. Some people with depression may be successfully treated with CBT alone, while more severe symptoms can benefit from a combination of both CBT and medication. Depression includes a variety of symptoms, including negative thoughts about oneself, life experiences, and the future, as well as feelings of sadness, irritability, and guilt. People feeling depressed often also exhibit behaviors such as withdrawing from other people, feeling minimal motivation, and having difficulty doing activities – while also physically feeling tired, having poor sleep habits, and lacking energy. CBT teaches people how to examine the relationship between thoughts, behaviors, and feelings in order to modify patterns that are negatively impacting your life, as well as providing tools to improve coping strategies.
CBT for anxiety disorders works by identifying and addressing how a person's thoughts and behaviors interact to create a feeling of anxiety. CBT therapists work with clients to recognize how our beliefs and negative thoughts about worst case scenarios of what could happen influence a person's reactions to situations. Part of the CBT approach to treatment is to normalize the emotion of anxiety and work with clients challenge their catastrophic thinking to have a more balanced view of their circumstances, putting fears more into perspective. Relaxation and calming strategies are also paramount in reducing our body’s reactions to anxiety and fear, allowing us the ability to think more clearly about a situation. Ultimately, the less we avoid the things we fear we are able to learn about our own strengths and change our relationship with anxiety itself.
Treatment for Panic Disorder focuses on helping clients learn how to retrain their body to respond to anxiety. Panic attacks are actually a series of anxiety symptoms (i.e., rapid heart rate, shallow breathing, upset stomach, choking sensation, etc.) that a person misinterprets as an catastrophic or dangerous. Panic attack treatment focuses on using CBT techniques to decrease the frequency of the attacks and to learn how to manage the anxiety before it gets to the level of a panic attack.
CBT treatment focuses on helping the client learn how their own thoughts, usually about the unbearable nature of experiencing anxiety, actually leads to the panic attacks themselves. Specific therapeutic approaches, such as exposure therapy and interceptive therapy are used to help retrain a client's ability to interpret anxiety and situations that trigger anxiety more accurately. Techniques are then learned to take control and manage those sensations effectively, thereby reducing or eliminating the occurrence of panic attacks.
People with Bipolar Disorder usually need to take medication, such as a mood stabilizer. But CBT is often used as an added treatment. CBT can help a person cope with bipolar symptoms and learn to recognize when a mood shift is about to occur. CBT also helps a person with bipolar disorder stick with a treatment plan to reduce the chances of relapse (e.g., when symptoms return).
One of the most effective treatments for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is called Exposure and Response Prevention, where your CBT therapist conducts a series of controlled exposure sessions designed to decrease the fear response associated with situations that trigger obsessions and compulsions. During these sessions, the therapist gradually exposes the person to the situations that trigger his or her obsessions and compulsions and provides tools to modify their beliefs about the triggers themselves. Over time, the person learns to respond differently to these triggers, leading to a decrease in the frequency of compulsions and the intensity of obsessions.