Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Anxiety, PTSD, & Depression

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a treatment method originally developed by Aaron T. Beck, a psychiatrist who is regarded as the father of cognitive therapy. CBT is an evidence-based method of identifying how our thoughts influence our feelings and behaviors. It turns out that people with anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions often have a common thinking style that seems to contribute to their symptoms. When we use CBT to identify and correct the problematic thinking, people often get better quickly. In fact, we know this method of treatment can be as effective, and sometimes even more effective than taking a medication for depression or anxiety. Though CBT involves participating in therapy sessions, doing “homework” outside of sessions, and being willing to talk to a therapist about your problems, it doesn’t have the side-effects of a medication and people often learn coping skills that last a lifetime. If you are already taking prescribed medication, CBT can strengthen the benefits of medication to help you feel better more quickly and in many cases can decrease your need for medication so you can lower your dosage or successfully stop medication altogether over time.

DBT, or dialectical behavior therapy, is a special type of CBT treatment that is effective for people with more complicated symptoms such as complex PTSD, certain personality styles, anxiety related to food and body image, and chronic depression. It uses many of the same methods as CBT but adds an emphasis on balancing acceptance and change in treatment, teaching a particular set of skills that includes mindfulness practice, and coaching people to use these skills during actual situations in their life outside of therapy.

We are trained and experienced in both CBT and DBT and can help you to decide whether these methods are likely to help you and to weigh the benefits and risks associated with each method, as well as the risks of not participating in treatment.

What to expect for your therapy treatment:

1. An initial evaluation usually lasting 1-3 sessions (45-55 minutes each) resulting in a working diagnosis of your problem and a proposed plan for treatment. The plan will include the type of treatment recommended and an estimate of the duration (how many sessions) and frequency (how often sessions will be scheduled) of therapy.

2. Treatment sessions typically last 53 minutes and include an update on progress, work on the target problem, and an assignment for practice between sessions.

3. In DBT treatment, you will be asked to complete a diary card of target behaviors and skills, complete homework and skills practice outside of sessions, and develop a plan with your therapist for skills coaching and support between sessions, usually through scheduled phone consultations.

4. In both CBT and DBT, learning and practicing a variety of coping skills is part of treatment. These skills can be taught during your individual sessions or in group sessions either at Labyrinth or at another behavioral health program. Regardless of where you learn these skills, our therapists are familiar with the skills that are typically taught in CBT and DBT treatment and will work with you to reinforce and support your practice of the skills you have learned.