What is CBT?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was developed decades ago through the integration of Behavior therapy founded by B.F. Skinner and Cognitive Therapy, founded by Aaron Beck. Behavior Therapy focuses on how concrete behaviors either reinforce or extinguish negative emotional states and explains how we learn complex emotional and behavioral patterns. Cognitive Therapy centers on our thought patterns and specifically concerns itself with identifying and modifying dysfunctional thinking.
CBT differs from traditional talk therapies in several ways:
- Focus on current and future rather than the past
- Engages the patient through homework between sessions
- Specific tools and skills are taught and learned
- Structured, therapist directed sessions
- Activities during sessions
- Evidence-based techniques
- Specific, measurable goals are set and met
- Education about symptoms is conveyed to empower participant
CBT is evidence based. This means that it is based on scientific research that has tested which therapeutic approaches are likely to be most effective. Evidence based also means that progress for a given participant can be measured and tracked during the course of therapy.
CBT is straightforward and easily applied by individuals of all ages and backgrounds.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is focused on the here and now, and is very different from traditional talk therapy models. CBT treatment directly addresses the current cognitions, thoughts and behaviors that are connected to the patient’s symptoms. Clearly defined action plans to change the thoughts and behaviors that are causing and maintaining the problem are devised.
CBT is goal oriented and teaches individuals to utilize proven tools and strategies that evoke rapid change. Because CBT is collaborative, a CBT therapist is like a coach. Dr. Walker and Dr. Starsiak work with the patient to plan treatment delineate goals; determine the length of treatment, and to identify which problems to target.