Is CBT Therapy Effective?

Is CBT Therapy Effective?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an evidenced-based treatment for a variety of mental disorders. CBT has two underlying tenets: our thoughts have an impact on our emotions and behaviors, and our behaviors can impact our thoughts and emotions. Due to the interconnectedness of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, CBT therapy helps people recognize and change maladaptive automatic thoughts or behaviors. This change occurs through disrupting automatic thoughts, challenging cognitive errors, breaking behavioral patterns like avoidance, and building coping skills. CBT therapy has been shown to be effective in the treatment of:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Bipolar Disorder

  • Insomnia

  • Chronic Pain

  • Grief

Anxiety is an issue commonly treated by CBT therapy due to the fact that thoughts are often associated with emotional reactions. For example, imagine getting invited to a party and the thought pops up, “I won’t have anyone to talk to at this party.” This thought can stimulate an emotional response (anxiety, tension, maybe even nausea), and then the behavioral response of declining the invitation can arise. This is a classic example of social anxiety and the avoidant response outlined here is detrimental for multiple reasons. In addition to avoiding the social event altogether, the person also reinforced avoidance in the future (meaning it is likely to be used again). Over time, this can lead to isolation and other mental health difficulties. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy would target each core process involved in this situation-thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. For example, the therapist could focus on the identification of anxiety thoughts and teach relaxation exercises to reduce anxious emotions or institute behavioral plans to get past the avoidance. By intervening with thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, CBT therapy helps people live the life they want to live. 

CBT therapy is a problem-oriented therapy that is often a shorter duration than traditional therapy. Sessions typically last 50-55 minutes and occur weekly for anywhere between 5 and 20 sessions. Depending on the severity of the issue, treatment length can be longer and is agreed upon by both therapist and client. Because CBT is problem-focused, there may be uncomfortable moments while challenging engrained thought patterns or behavioral routines. Your therapist will be there to help guide you through such moments. CBT therapy utilizes various interventions that are practiced in session and also outside of session. CBT utilizes homework sent home each week to further refine skills in utilizing the interventions. For example, a common CBT homework assignment is a Thought Record. Thought Records help identify and clarify patterns in our thinking that may be leading to unhealthy emotional responses or behaviors. 

To become a new client at Heritage and begin working with one of our CBT therapists, please call us at 214-363-2345. An intake specialist will gather information about your presenting problem and preferences for a therapist. Our intake team will then pair you with the best fit for you and an initial appointment will be scheduled. Before the initial appointment, standard paperwork will be sent to you for completion, and at your initial appointment, you will have an hour and a half to discuss your reasons for seeking therapy and develop a treatment plan with your therapist. From there, weekly sessions will focus on helping you improve your cognitions, emotions, and behaviors. 

The benefits of CBT therapy are many. Due to its shorter duration, CBT is ideal for individuals that want a shorter therapeutic relationship while still making significant progress. Additionally, because CBT therapy does not last years, the cost of therapy is reduced versus someone in a long-term therapeutic relationship. The benefits of CBT have also been shown to extend beyond the graduation session of a therapeutic relationship. Because you learn skills to manage thoughts, and emotions better, and modify behaviors, you can implement those skills even after therapy ends should something else arise. CBT is also a beneficial intervention for those suffering from multiple issues due to the fact that it has been shown to be effective with multiple mental disorders. Additionally, CBT has been shown to be an effective intervention both in person or through a telehealth medium and has been shown to give long-term results. 

CBT is an excellent option if you are struggling with anxiety, depression, insomnia, trauma, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or ADHD. CBT therapy is an excellent fit for those that want a shorter therapeutic relationship and are motivated to be problem-focused in therapy. CBT can help you learn how to better manage those intrusive thoughts that lead to unhealthy emotional or behavioral responses. If you think CBT therapy would be the right fit for you, or if you have questions about CBT or Heritage in general, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at 214-363-2345.