Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy focuses on individuals becoming self-aware of their troubles, negative thoughts, and beliefs, and then it encourages taking active roles in changing how they think and feel. It is often a highly effective way to treat many mental illnesses and stressful life situations including grief, anger, abuse, chronic illness, insomnia, problems at work, depression, anxiety disorders, stress-related disorders, eating disorders, chemical abuse, phobias, personality disorders, and psychotic disorders.
During therapy, the first step is to identify troubling situations or conditions and set goals for what will be focused on. Then individuals can share experiences and how they view different things in their lives, which is a process of exploring and becoming self-aware about negative thoughts and emotions. Continuing through therapy sessions, a person will continue to explore and challenge those negative ways of thinking. Working to change thinking patterns, behavior, and beliefs can be tough, but the benefits are well worth the effort.
Some goals of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy
- develop a better understanding of self and situation
- see where ways of thinking and acting can affect quality of life
- re-examine relationships, experiences, and their effects
- learn techniques to help cope
- be able to more affectively problem-solve
- set attainable goals
- feel better
Sessions may be individual or in a group setting depending on the circumstances. Oftentimes a therapist will assign “homework” outside of regular therapy sessions such as reading or ways to practice what has been learned.
How long it takes depends on the person, situation, severity of symptoms and support available to them from friends or loved ones, but it is a process and a journey that takes time. In some circumstances, cognitive-behavioral therapy may be most effective when combined with other types of treatment.
To learn more, call Marsha Schechtman, LCSW at 770.753.4911 or Howard Drutman, Ph.D. at 678.867.7020 at the Atlanta Behavioral Consultants.