Perhaps you’ve considered searching for “cognitive behavioral therapy near me,” or working with a therapist on this evidence-based psychotherapy treatment method. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you change negative responses to uncomfortable situations; no matter what challenge, condition, phobia, disorder, or addiction you’re dealing with CBT can help. CBT is a popular treatment method because of its short-term treatment length and empirically supported effectiveness. However, before you search for “cognitive behavioral therapy near me,” and locate your most convenient provider, consider the information below on its key uses, benefits and where to find treatment.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
During cognitive behavioral therapy, an individual works with a licensed professional therapist in a highly structured way to help manage challenging life situations. The focus is placed on treating a person’s problems and enhancing their happiness by managing dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thought patterns. It is solution-oriented, with many therapists encouraging their patients to challenge distorted cognition and change their destructive behaviors.
CBT can be experienced on its own or in combination with other types of therapy; it is effective in treating a broad spectrum of mental health issues. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the emotional challenges cognitive behavioral therapy can help address include:
- Managing symptoms of mental illness
- Preventing a relapse of mental illness symptoms
- Treating a mental illness when medications are not a preferred option
- Learning techniques for coping with stressful life situations
- Identifying ways to manage uncomfortable emotions
- Resolving relationship conflicts and improving communication skills
- Coping with grief or loss
- Overcoming emotional trauma related to abuse or violence
- Coping with a physical illness
- Managing chronic pain or other medical symptoms
Additionally, CBT can benefit certain types of mental health disorders, including:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sleep disorders
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Substance abuse
- Bipolar disorders
- Sexual disorders
What Happens in a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Session?
Whether you’ve already searched for “cognitive behavioral therapy near me” and scheduled an appointment, or are still trying to decide if it’s the right option for you, you’re probably wondering what actually happens during CBT. Treatment via cognitive behavioral therapy spans a number of therapy sessions where the goal is for a patient to become more aware of inaccurate or negative thinking patterns. Since it is a form of psychotherapy, early sessions may mirror a typical initial therapy meeting — the therapist will likely ask about your goals for treatment, your medical history, and review the problems for which you aim to get support. Each session will be about 45 minutes to an hour. Your therapist may also have “homework” for you some weeks, when they ask you to try out new skills or strategies during the course of your daily life.
The length and frequency of CBT sessions vary depending on your specific needs. There are key questions you can ask your therapist to help better understand the duration and frequency of your treatment, according to the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. These questions include:
- How many times a week will the therapist want to see you?
- How long does the therapist expect treatment to last? (Some therapists only do time-limited therapy, whereas others set no such limits.)
- How long will each session last?
It may take a few sessions to become fully comfortable with your therapist and the therapeutic process, especially if you’re new to therapy, but make certain that you and your therapist click personally. The process can be a bit like dating and it’s important to find the right fit.
Common Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques
Therapists who specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy use a technique called cognitive restructuring. This entails challenging negative or rigid thoughts by understanding current thinking patterns and developing new, more constructive and flexible ones. Some examples of CBT techniques used to accomplish this include scheduling, mindfulness, and skills training.
Although it may sound simple, scheduling activities can help you establish good habits and provide opportunities to put what you have learned into practice. It is a technique your therapist may leverage during CBT to help increase positive behaviors by scheduling them into your life. A therapist will work with you to first identify positive behaviors to focus on and then fit those into a schedule of activities.
Mindfulness involves practicing centering your thoughts to the here and now. It works to combat a person’s fears of the future and what may, or may not, happen. When dwelling on fears for the future, many experience depression, anxiety, and stress. Focusing on the present, however, can help change this pattern and lead you to better manage your depression or anxiety symptoms. The key to mindfulness is directing your thoughts and intentions to the present moment — often done by honing in on one’s five senses — rather than fixating on negative feelings about the future.
Some cognitive behavioral therapists use skills training to help address a person’s anxiety symptoms. This CBT technique entails helping a person make up for a skills deficit while providing them with greater confidence via the development of that new skill. Therapists work with their clients to develop better and more effective social and communication skills, for example, easing worries and addressing their anxieties over those skills.
How Do I Find Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Near Me?
Finding a skilled and licensed cognitive behavioral therapist is the first step in getting the help you need. CBT is among the most common types of therapy that people experience, and there are thousands of therapists who practice it. If you don’t already have a particular therapist referral, here are some suggestions for locating a licensed professional:
- Contact an online therapy provider, such as Talkspace.
- Use the directory of certified therapists through the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists.
- Visit the American Board of Professional Psychology website and navigate to the Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology section.
- View Psychology Today’s detailed listings of CBT therapists broken down by state.
In addition to locating a certified CBT therapist, it is important to understand the cost of this treatment. Generally speaking, a person can expect online therapy costs to be significantly lower than traditional, in-office sessions. Depending on the online provider you choose, and the level of service you require, at Talkspace, prices range from $49 to $79 a week for Talkspace, in comparison to in-office therapy, which averages $100 to $200 a session.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a proven treatment choice for a broad set of psychological issues. No matter the challenge, condition, phobia, disorder, or addiction, CBT can help. As you search for “cognitive behavioral therapy near me,” consider the type of support you are looking for — including whether you would like your CBT sessions to be in-person or online — and reach out to consult with a therapist to discuss your goals for treatment.