Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective types of psychological therapy available. Often considered the "gold standard of therapy," it is one of the many scientifically-backed therapies approved to effectively treat many mental health issues and symptoms.
Finding cognitive-behavioral therapy near you can be hard, but this article will help you get started to find the right therapist for you.
CBT treatment is often used either alone or in conjunction with psychiatric medications to treat symptoms of anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, chronic pain, phobias, and personality concerns. However, you do not have to be diagnosed with a mental illness or suspect one to benefit from this type of therapy. CBT emphasizes thoughts, habits, and beliefs and how they might impact behaviors. Therapists focus on solving problems and positive psychology.
Finding a therapist near you who practices CBT, such as searching for "CBT near me," can be straightforward, as many mental health professionals offer this type of talk therapy. However, before you begin your therapy journey, consider learning more about CBT and the therapy search process to find the right fit for you.
What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) combines theories from cognitive and behavioral therapies. This type of therapy aims to assist clients by identifying connections between thoughts and behaviors in their daily life. For example, individuals struggling with low self-esteem or life transitions might partake in CBT to discuss how their negative self-beliefs could limit their positive social behaviors or interactions. CBT sessions can help people with a range of problems, including if they have any disorders or mental health conditions. Examples of disorders that CBT therapists could assist with include eating disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder, among many others.
Many CBT therapists including a Licensed Professional Counselor or Licensed Clinical Social Worker-Certified (LCSW-C) utilize strategies such as worksheets and activities like roleplay to help clients immerse themselves in treatment and develop effective coping skills. These techniques can be used for various concerns, and they primarily focus on managing clients’ thoughts and feelings to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
- Think reasonably and accurately
- Engage in behaviors that are positive and not self-defeating
- Express emotions appropriately
- Take control of their moods and beliefs
- Develop effective coping skills for challenges like social anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder
A potential premise of CBT is removing blame put on others, yourself, or society for your unwanted symptoms. Instead, by working with a licensed professional counselor in individual therapy or couples counseling, you can learn to challenge beliefs and feel in control of your reality.
This person-centered therapy helps clients develop effective strategies and fosters well-being as they navigate various life situations.
Examples Of CBT Approaches
CBT counselors use various approaches. When looking for a provider, knowing what you can expect from your appointments can be beneficial. Below are a couple of examples using fictional characters.
Cognitive rehearsal is one of the standard CBT techniques used. Take the example of Kaylee.
Kaylee has agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder involving fear of public situations, leaving home, or crowds. She searched online for CBT therapists and considered making an appointment with one of the mental health counselors nearby. However, her fear of leaving home made it difficult for her to commit to sessions.
Instead, Kaylee decided to try online CBT. Her mental health provider recommended cognitive rehearsal to help Kaylee work through the specifics of her unwanted thinking patterns and behaviors. They first identified that Kaylee was experiencing certain beliefs about herself, causing fear in public.
She and her mental health provider developed specific coping mechanisms she could use to prepare to leave her home. Together they rehearsed what it would be like when Kaylee had to go to the grocery store or a doctor's appointment, allowing her to practice through roleplaying. Over time, Kaylee felt more comfortable taking chances with her phobia and practicing desensitization to certain stimuli.
Cognitive rehearsal allows clients to rehearse their fears, concerns, conversations, or new skills in a safe environment with a professional to guide them.
The Guided Discovery Approach
At times, individuals may feel overwhelmed at work. They might worry that they can't handle the day's challenges when they get to the office. Feeling overwhelmed could cause them to feel tense and angry. In this case, seeking CBT may be beneficial.
Like Kaylee, Dave also wondered where to find CBT and found the solution through an online counselor. In this case, the therapist for cognitive behavioral therapy used a guided discovery method. The therapist asked various questions about Dave's feelings, thoughts, and behaviors on a typical day. Then, they assisted him in connecting the feelings and ideas at the start of the workday to his angry responses.
It helped Dave realize that addressing his thoughts and dread would benefit him in solving his anger and hostility. Because the CBT therapist understood various techniques that could help alleviate anxiety, including guided discovery, they were able to help Dave.
Guided discovery is a technique that involves the provider helping a client come to their own conclusions (discoveries) through guided techniques and support.
What Are Some Different CBT Techniques?
Cognitive therapy techniques are available in various forms, providing a broad range to fit your symptoms. Your therapist can combine different techniques depending on what you intend to achieve and what works best for you. Below are a few of the most common options.
Cognitive restructuring is a technique that targets the thinking patterns that might cause ineffective behavior and negative moods. After identifying the thinking patterns, clients are asked to challenge these thoughts, change them to positive thoughts, or identify factual information. There are many methods used during this process. One common form of cognitive restructuring is using a worksheet to track thoughts and actively change them.
Graded Exposure Assignments
Exposure, also called desensitization, is a technique used in CBT for treating anxiety that assists individuals in approaching their fears systematically. Often, fear may cause clients to avoid certain stimuli. However, escaping what individuals fear most may increase fear instead of reducing it. By exposing clients to feared situations and asking graded exposure questions, professionals can help clients reduce their reactions to certain stimuli. Often, worksheets are used, and clients may rate their fear on a scale of one to 100 at different points throughout the exercise until it starts to go down.
This form of CBT seeks to assist individuals in scheduling activities that positively impact their mood. Identifying and scheduling useful habits like taking a walk or meditating could increase the possibility of going through with it. In some cases, professionals might recommend sticker charts or rewards to incentivize the individual to complete the activity.
How To Find An Effective CBT Provider
Where can I find a cognitive therapist near me? Finding an effective CBT therapist can help you receive the best results from your sessions. Consider the following tips when seeking a professional.
Know What Type Of Professional You Want
Knowing you want to work with a CBT therapist can be the first step. However, you might also benefit from knowing what special interest or specialty you'd want your provider to have. Specialties might include specific mental health diagnoses, symptoms, or situations, such as family therapy or counseling for generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, or physical pain. Some CBT specialists work with couples or families. A therapist's bio may include information on the issues they address, helping you develop a well-rounded approach to your well being. You can also call any clinical practice and ask.
Search For An Affordable Alternative
The high cost of therapy may be a barrier for some clients, particularly in metro areas like New York City or Washington DC. While the Affordable Care Act and other administrative developments seek to improve the availability of mental health treatment and the ability to find a therapist for cognitive-behavioral therapy, many clients struggle to pay for frequent appointments.
For some, insurance can provide an affordable solution. In addition, many therapy providers offer sliding scale fees and discounts for those struggling to afford mental health services. Internet-based therapy can often be cheaper than in-person solutions as well.
Consider A Therapy Finder
Finding assistance for a mental or emotional health concern can be overwhelming and time-consuming. A reliable therapist finder website may help you find a provider, including CBT or even an art therapist if desired. You can search by zip code, insurance plan, or symptoms through these platforms. Browse through therapist options, review their session offerings, and contact the therapists you want to speak to.
Think About Online Therapy
Some clients seek traditional psychotherapy that may involve meeting the service provider once weekly. However, others might not be comfortable talking to the therapist face-to-face or are unsure if they need in-person services. Online CBT has emerged as an option for those wanting to reach a mental health professional while alleviating these concerns.
Research shows that online therapy platforms can provide valuable resources to those experiencing various symptoms. In one broad-based report published in World Psychiatry, researchers examined the benefits of online CBT in managing symptoms of mental illnesses. The review mentions the various ways participants can receive therapy from a mental health professional, including text, audio, video files, and interactive exercises. Researchers noted that these innovations successfully transferred CBT techniques to online platforms. The review concludes that online CBT is a cost-efficient, valuable mode of treatment that is as effective as face-to-face CBT.
With online therapy through a platform like BetterHelp, you can receive the ability to connect with a licensed professional via videoconference, messaging, voice call, or live chat. In addition, you can get educational resources and a journaling feature, which you can use to reinforce concepts learned in therapy and share your thoughts with your therapist.
“Kerline is so warm and kind, and a wonderful listener! She created a safe and open space where I could talk freely and without fear of judgment. Her weekly calls and exercises have provided the tools I need to cope with stress, anxiety, relationship issues, and anger. The entire CBT process was very healing and I'm so grateful she led me through it. Her insights, knowledge, and caring nature were so valuable, and I'd recommend her to anyone.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below are several frequently asked questions about CBT and CBT therapists.
What Disorders Are Best Treated With Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?
Because one of the core techniques of cognitive-behavioral therapy is to identify the thinking patterns that might lead to unhealthy behavioral patterns, CBT can have broad uses in treating various mental health conditions.
For example, CBT providers can use this type of psychological treatment to address the following common mental illnesses:
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy may still benefit you if you believe you have a mental health condition that's not on this list. Reach out to a provider to discuss your symptoms.
What Does A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapist Do?
Cognitive-behavioral therapists work with clients to help them identify unhelpful thinking and behavioral patterns that may be contributing to their mental health and well-being. Clients may begin to make significant life changes by becoming aware of their patterns.
What Are The Three Types Of Cognitive Therapies?
The types of cognitive therapy techniques used to treat mental health issues include but are not limited to the following:
Exposure response prevention therapy (ERP)
How Much Does A CBT Therapist Cost?
The price of a CBT therapist can vary for each mental health practitioner. Forbes states that the average cost of a therapist in the US is around $100 to $200 per session. If you are looking to find a cognitive behavioral therapist at an affordable cost, online therapy may be the most cost-effective.
Who Is CBT Not Suitable For?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be used to treat various mental health conditions. However, there are specific instances when it might not be as suitable. One of these examples is schizophrenia, which is often accompanied by delusions, hallucinations, and other psychosis symptoms.
In many cases where cognitive behavioral therapy is effective, the negative thinking and behavior patterns cause the symptoms of common mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and OCD. However, with schizophrenia, the thought patterns are often caused by the condition itself and may be difficult to restructure or challenge with CBT.
In addition, some conditions may benefit more from other types of therapy. For example, one meta-analysis found that in seven out of ten studies on EMDR for PTSD, EMDR was more effective than cognitive-behavioral therapy in reducing symptom severity.
Can You Do CBT On Your Own?
It can be common for a CBT therapist to assign their clients homework to learn how to practice mindfulness and other coping and relaxation techniques at home. They might work through a workbook as well. However, practicing CBT independently without a therapist can be challenging if you have not received guidance on these techniques.
You can take a self-sufficient approach to CBT, though. The goal of CBT is often to allow clients to feel they can manage their own life and feel a sense of self-accomplishment and confidence. Often, CBT is a short-term treatment. Clients can use the skills they learn in sessions after the sessions end.
What Are The Four Steps Of Cognitive Restructuring?
In cognitive restructuring, a CBT therapist may teach four steps to help clients change their thoughts. These steps can include the following:
Identifying and becoming aware of a thought
Evaluating the thought
Rationalizing the thought
Deciding if you want to take action toward the thought
By taking these steps, you can have a plan for each thought you feel unsure about.
What Are The Disadvantages Of CBT?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy might seem like the perfect technique to many clients because it's logical, effective, and easy to find. It is one of the most popular treatment methods and can treat many conditions. For this reason, it may be a preferred technique by many mental health professionals worldwide. However, there may be downsides to cognitive-behavioral therapy.
For example, CBT often focuses on the issues of the present and how to deal with them. CBT therapists might not focus as much on the past or genetics, which could contribute to an individual's thinking and behavioral patterns. In addition, CBT may not heal the underlying issue for those who have experienced an adverse childhood event, but it might help them manage their thoughts. For this reason, this type of therapy might not be the most supportive option for those looking for validation, emotional support, and discussions of the past.
Mental health professionals who practice CBT emphasize changing an individual's thoughts and behaviors but might not provide solutions to the situations that are causing the problems in the individual's life, such as family conflict or unhealthy relationships.
Is CBT The Same As Cognitive Therapy?
In a technical sense, cognitive therapy and CBT are different. CBT is a combination of cognitive therapy, which focuses on identifying problematic thoughts, and behavioral therapy, centered around changing unwanted behaviors. However, these therapies involve many of the same cognitive tactics.
How long does it take for cognitive therapy to work?
What methods do cognitive therapists use?
How do cognitive therapists approach clients?
How effective is cognitive therapy?
Why cognitive therapy is the best?
What is the main strength of cognitive therapy?
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