We decided to give you a more in-depth look at how some of our therapists use cognitive behavioral therapy online. We think it may be of interest to you.
First Things First: What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
As you may or may not know, cognitive behavioral therapy, otherwise known as CBT, is one of the more popular approaches to treating stress, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, substance abuse, relationship problems, and many other issues. Compared to traditional therapy, it focuses on what is happening in your present life, rather than delving deep into your past. So, chances are a few of you sighed with relief reading this just now.
In a nutshell, CBT works to change your perceptions and behaviors by focusing on your thoughts, values, attitudes, and beliefs. The idea behind it is simple; if thoughts guide how we view and subsequently react to the events in our lives, then by changing how we see our problems, we can change how we feel and deal with them. In this sense, you can think of it as psychotherapy and behavioral therapy fused into one.
Now, CBT sessions usually have a specific structure that differs from many other types of psychotherapies. That’s because CBT is goal specific; instead of talking freely about whatever comes to mind, your therapist will ask you to describe your problems as well as set the concrete goals you would like realize. You will then proceed to work together, tackling each of your problems respectively. Your therapist may also provide you with additional reading material and exercises that you can practice on your own: learning how to identify your trigger points, practicing breathing exercises, etc.
How is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Conducted Online You Ask?
So, when you first sign up for Talkspace, you will be speaking to a consultation therapist that will gather information about your therapy goals, before pairing you with a therapist they believe is best qualified to meet your needs. You will be corresponding mostly through writing – unless you prefer face-to-face sessions, in which case you and the therapist would have to coordinate those.
The problems you’re facing and the goals you want to realize will become the “content” you and your therapist will work with/on. Your responsibility is to provide as much information about your problem as possible, so as to paint the clearest picture about your circumstances. This means you can write as much or as little as you like. You can even use your private chat room as an interactive diary.
Your therapist will review your notes and provide feedback on points they believe best represent the problem you are trying to solve. Each mental health professional is trained to pick up on certain cues in the words you use to express yourself. So, they may not write a novel in response to yours, but they will highlight and comment on the information that is most relevant and important to your progress.
Unlike with traditional face-to-face therapy, you have a lot more scheduling flexibility with Talkspace. For example: when you see a therapist in person, you may only be able to hold one session per week. With Talkspace, depending on what you and your therapist initially agree on, in terms of how often you will be touching base, he or she may write back within the hour, once a day, or a few times a week – whatever suits you both.
Because CBT fosters a collaborate and equal relationship between you and your mental health care provider, you will be asked for consistent feedback about your feelings pertaining to the therapeutic process. If there is anything you are not conformable with, that is confusing to you, or you would like to change, you are encouraged to voice your thoughts. After all, it’s your therapy, you should be able to get the most out of it.
Think of it like this: cognitive behavioral therapy, whether in person or online, teaches you to think differently about your circumstances, so that you can change your approach to dealing with them.
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