Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

1 – Based on the Cognitive Model of Emotional Response

It is what we are thinking that cause our feelings and behaviors, not necessarily external catalysts like people and events outside of ourselves.  Therefore, when we change our perceptions and beliefs, we begin to change our feelings and our behaviors become more adaptable.  Actually, we can change ourselves by changing our thinking.  Very empowering!

2 – Therapy is Briefer

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is considered more rapid with clearer results.  It is more instructive and didactic in nature, utilizing homework assignments and practice outside of the office.  I will not tell you ‘what to do’, but teach you ways to think and behave to assist you in obtaining what you want to create in your life.  We end therapy when we both feel you have met your clearly stated goals and objectives.

3 – Collaborative Effort between Therapist and Client

We develop a treatment plan that identifies your goals and methods to achieve your objectives.  I listen with an ear toward identifying “faulty thinking” and help reframe your perceptions and establish realistic expectations of self and others.

4 – Utilizes the Socratic Method and Inductive Method

Through questioning, we can better understand our patterns of thinking. Together we begin to uncover the “cognitive distortions” and “self-limiting beliefs” that tend to impair our insight and judgment in many areas of our lives. Together we look at your thoughts as being hypotheses or guess that can be questioned and tested.  Once we identify these assumptions and tendencies, we can begin the process of creating alternatives perceptions based on more rational thinking.  As we then confront previously undesirable and stressful situations and relationships, we begin to change our reactions, thus creating a calm, healthy detachment with improved emotional and cognitive resources to help resolve any conflicts and problems.

5 – Based on an Educational Model

CBT is based on the scientifically supported assumption that most emotional and behavioral reactions are learned by life experiences, role modeling of significant people in your life and early childhood conditioning.  The goal of therapy is to assist clients in unlearning their unwanted emotional and behavioral reactions and incorporate new and more effective responses.  This modality is based on learning, taking action – not just ‘talking about it’.

6 – Homework

No, not like school and you won’t be graded!  Therapy is in the office, and practice is in your daily life.  I will encourage taking your learning into all your environments and we ‘fine-tune’ as you feel more an more competent to meet life’s challenges with more confidence, calm and joyfulness!

~I have actively utilized Cognitive Behavioral techniques in my practice since 1989.  I weave these concepts into all of my therapeutic interventions.

Barbara Van Felix, LCSW