A few weeks ago, I had the honor of being interviewed by my colleague Annabelle Bugatti, LMFT, who is starting a YouTube Channel where she will interview experts in several psychotherapy approaches. When she asked me to talk about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I, of course, quickly replied ‘Yes’! I love talking about Cognitive Behavorial Therapy and the work I do with clients, because I get to see how it makes real, positive and lasting changes in my clients’ lives on a daily basis.
I am going to show the video here, and this post will review and give more detail on this powerful therapeutic approach. The interview was just ten minutes long, and there was so much more I wanted to say! I am following the format of the interview so it will be a great companion as you listen to the video.[embedyt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIPlgpIRPe4&width=500&height=350[/embedyt]
- What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?
It is one of the few forms of psychotherapy that has been scientifically tested and proven through research that it is very effective in treating many different mental health problems.
In essence, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT helps people identify their distressing thought and evaluate how realistic they are. Then they learn to change their distorted thinking. When they think more realistically, they feel better.
The one thing I tell my clients in the beginning is that they truly will become their own therapists. Because they learn to catch their negative thoughts so well, they learn how to make themselves feel better! So, they become their own therapist!
- What do sessions with this model look like?
My clients come to therapy with their own notebook. In their notebook, they keep a thought journal of the thoughts we evaluated in session as well as the ones they did for homework on their own. So, they have a diary of coping statements with them at all times, and when their negative thoughts return, they can quickly reread it or do a new thought journal about it to help themselves.
At the beginning of the session, I ask them about how their sadness and anxiety was for the week on average, based on 0-10. 0 is the lowest and 10 is the highest. Then we review the homework they did or did not do, and what got in the way of them doing their homework. This takes about 10-15 minutes.
After we review the homework, I ask them what they would like to focus on for the session. We usually have time for 2-3 problems. We use the CBT tools that I taught them to do their thought journal and coping statements, as well as what action they will take during the week. When we are done, I have the client summarize what we reviewed during the session and then restate what they will work on for the week. It is a very structured model, and focused on problem solving and behavioral changes.
- How would this type of therapy be more useful than another type of therapy?
This therapy is very effective in treating many different mental health problems. The big advantage of this model is that many times clients can get better without having to go on medication.
If my client is already on medication, that is great. Research does show that clients have better outcomes in therapy when they are on medication and in therapy. If they aren’t on medication, I monitor my clients closely and tell them that if they get better in 4-6 weeks, then they probably wouldn’t need medicine but if they don’t I will refer them to a psychiatrist.
- What type of problems is this type of therapy good for?
Cognitive Therapy is great for many mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, OCD, ADHD, Bipolar and many more.
- How can someone find a therapist in their area who uses this type of approach?
They can go to directories like Psychology Today to find Cognitive Therapists or they can also go to The Beck Institute to find a list of Certified Cognitive Therapists nationally and internationally.
- How can someone find you if they’d like to work with you?
They can find me on my website at www.jessicamarchena.com or they can call me at 561-542-2466. I would be happy to hear from them and see if I can help them. I also speak Spanish and can provide Cognitive Therapy in Spanish as well. Thank you.