Is CBT right for me?
Is CBT right for me? You might be looking to start therapy and see that many therapists use CBT. You then wonder, “Would this therapy style help me reach my goals?” Below is some information that might help you answer this question.
1. What is CBT?
According to the American Psychological Association, CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is one of the most commonly used evidenced-based treatments in psychotherapy. CBT is an evidence-based approach because studies show it produces change for clients.
CBT therapists believe that unhelpful thinking and behavioral patterns cause mental health issues. CBT therapists help clients learn better coping methods to increase their overall functioning.
2. What does CBT treatment entail?
CBT helps individuals learn skills to manage their symptoms independently. Therapists teach exercises that assist clients in changing their problematic thoughts and behaviors. These exercises are then practiced outside of the session by clients. This reinforces change to happen in your day-to-day life.
These exercises might include:
- Identifying unhelpful thinking patterns that impact mood.
- Gaining a better understanding of what triggers unwanted behaviors.
- Using problem-solving skills to cope with difficult situations.
- Learning to develop a greater sense of confidence in one’s capabilities.
3. How is CBT different from other therapy approaches?
One way that CBT is different from other approaches is that CBT emphasizes the present and the future. In this way, CBT therapists rarely explore past experiences with clients. Because of this, treatment tends to have a shorter duration compared to other therapeutic treatments. Treatment averages from 12-20 sessions.
4. How do I know if it will work for me?
Now that you have a deeper understanding of what CBT is, you can reflect on what might be helpful for you. With this in mind, here are some questions to consider during your reflection.
- Do I have a clear goal for treatment?
- Sessions are structured and goal-oriented.
- Goals are centered around increasing functioning and symptom reduction.
- The focus is on moving forward.
- How much time do I have each week to commit to my treatment?
- CBT often involves exercises to practice outside of your sessions.
- If you cannot attempt exercises outside of your therapy sessions, CBT might not be your best bet.
- Am I looking for a short-term therapeutic relationship?
- Change happens in CBT through skills development, not through insight and reflection.
- CBT can be a cost-effective way to address symptoms quickly.
- Do I want to explore my past in-depth?
- If you want to explore past experiences in greater depth, CBT might not be the best option.
- Looking into why your issues came to be is not prioritized in this approach.
- There is less emphasis on creating a sense of meaning to life’s events.
If you are considering CBT, talk to your therapist about their approach and see if it resonates with your goals. There is no one-size-fits-all therapy! You can also see our other post titled “What to Look for in a Therapist” for more tips on finding the right therapist for you.
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