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What is CBT?

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

Often people say to me that their past therapy experiences were good, but they didn't really get anything to DO to help them feel better outside of session. The therapist listened and was empathic (incredibly important), but didn't teach them how to manage and reduce their symptoms. That's why I decided to get credentialed in cognitive behavior therapy, or CBT; it provides tools for clients to use outside of session to reduce symptoms and feel better.

CBT was created by Aaron Beck and now the institute is run by his daughter, Judith Beck. It's based on the theory that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors all influence each other. Following that theory, if we change our thoughts that then will change how we're feeling and what we do. Sometimes though we work on changing actions first, specially for depression, so it's not a rule that we only work only on thoughts (a common misconception) . Feelings are also a focus of therapy.

CBT doesn't put a big emphasis on past experiences like a therapist who is psychodynamic would in therapy. CBT focuses on the present and present examples of issues we are having. We examine these examples in session so we can practice the skills that will be used outside of session. Then we report back to the therapy on how it goes and we adjust as needed. There is no such thing as failure in CBT, everything can be used in CBT as information to build better coping strategies moving forward. Some buzzwords in CBT are core beliefs (an overall belief the client holds about themselves, such as "I'm unloveable"), automatic thoughts (these are the negative thoughts the client frequently thinks that supports the core belief of "I'm unloveable"), cognitive reframing (working to change the thoughts), and cognitive restructuring (working to change the overall belief system). It's well researched and collaborative. The ultimate goal is for you to learn all the skills and be able to be their own therapist, or be able to do the skills independent of your therapist. And of course to return for sessions in the future as needed/wanted!

If you're interested in learning more about CBT, or to set up an initial session, please feel free to reach out to me directly at (323) 863-3890 or I'm a Beck Certified CBT Clinician credentialed by the Beck Institute. I use CBT to treat a variety of issues, including anxiety, OCD, depression, eating issues, and life challenges.

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