Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a relatively short-term approach to psychotherapy that focuses on changing your thoughts (cognitions) and behaviors (how you act) to relieve depression, anxiety and other distressing emotions, (anger, for instance).

Simply put, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy says that you are depressed because you have depressive thoughts. Or you are anxious because you have anxious thoughts. While there may be some truth to your beliefs, – – [“My boyfriend broke up with me. I’m nothing without him.” Or, “I might get fired and nobody else will hire me.”] – – people who become depressed or anxious exaggerate or distort their thinking beyond the reality of the situation. Although your boyfriend broke up with you, that doesn’t make you a worthless person. Even if you do get fired, you are probably overlooking skills you have that would make you marketable elsewhere.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy will teach you to recognize the errors in your thinking and correct them to be more objective. This leads to improvements in your mood and behavior. Note the distinction between “objective” and “positive.” the aim here is to increase objective, realistic thinking.

In my central Phoenix office therapy sessions are structured to maximize efficiency and results. One way this is achieved is by setting an agenda at the start of each session. Together we pinpoint the priorities to focus on, so the most important problems are addressed. Another key aspect of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is homework between sessions. The quickest way to feel better is by applying what you learn in therapy to situations in your daily life.

Since Cognitive Behavioral Therapy became popular in the 1980s, hundreds of clinical trials have been conducted evaluating its efficacy for depression, anxiety, panic attacks and many other mental health problems. Some research has shown that CBT is as effective as medication in treating depression. Other studies have found that CBT sometimes works better than drugs for improving certain types of anxiety, like Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Still other research has found that combining Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with medication yields the best results for treating depression.