What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Are you having trouble sleeping, eating or enjoying everyday activities? Do you have unexplained feelings of dread, anxiety or fear? Do you suffer from a phobia of a commonplace item or situation that is causing you to become isolated and taking over your life? If you have a problem that you are unable to solve and it is affecting your overall quality of life, you may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a form of psychotherapy that works to solve short-term problems and help patients reach specific goals by changing patterns of behavior or thinking that are causing difficulty in their lives. Cognitive behavioral therapy has proven to be an effective method for some patients to finally rid themselves of the negative thought and behavior patterns that are behind the areas of their lives they wish to improve. CBT has been used to treat a wide range of problems, including sleeping and eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, anxiety and depression. Some patients have even found success with cognitive behavioral therapy helping them to quit smoking! CBT may be helpful for just about any psychological issue that seems unsolvable.

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?

One of the many advantages of CBT is that treatment tends to be short-term. In other words, you aren’t going to spend the next three years in your therapist’s office trying to get over a fear of heights. Cognitive behavioral therapy takes approximately five to ten months to complete, depending on the depth and complexity of the problem you are having. Your therapist will see you once per week, for approximately an hour-long session. During this session, you and your therapist will focus only on the problem at hand, working to change the thought patterns and attitudes, otherwise known as your cognitive processes, that cause you to experience the problem. Together you will work to reveal the underlying relationships between the difficulties you are experiencing and the connections or meanings you give to them within your cognitive process. In this way, you and your therapist can essentially re-train your brain by developing strategies for coping with the negative connotations that are causing the behaviors you wish to change.

Is CBT Right for Me?

Cognitive behavioral therapy has proven to be effective with a number of patients since its development in the 1960s by psychiatrist Aaron Beck. In order to find out whether CBT may be right for you, it is important to schedule an initial consultation with a therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy. If you feel you may be among the millions of patients who have benefited from CBT, you may continue on with your treatment.

Jan Rakoff is a licensed San Diego-area therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy, and can help you get your life back on track. Call Jan at 858-481-0425 today to schedule an initial assessment to see whether CBT may be right for you.