How To Find A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapist Near You

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated May 22, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
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Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective types of psychological treatment 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 cognitive behavioral therapists near you by searching for "cognitive behavioral therapy 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 the treatment and research through CBT providers to find the right fit for you.

Looking for an experienced therapist who offers CBT?

What is cognitive-behavioral therapy? 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) combines theories from cognitive and behavioral therapies. This popular form of therapy aims to assist clients by identifying connections between thoughts and behaviors in their own life. For example, individuals struggling with low self-esteem or life transitions might partake in CBT to discuss how their negative self-beliefs could cause relationship problems, and limit their positive social behaviors. 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, ADHD, OCD, 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.

In CBT sessions with a trained therapist, individuals may learn a range of skills, such as the following:
  • Think reasonably and accurately
  • Mindfulness techniques to regain clarity and focus
  • 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 cognitive behavioral therapists approaches

CBT counselors have various approaches for many conditions. 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, raising the risk for panic attacks. 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 therapies 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.  

Restructuring technique

Cognitive restructuring is a technique that focuses on 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 different methods to teach new clients how to benefit from 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. 

Activity scheduling

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. 

Looking for an experienced therapist who offers CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy in your area 

If you're wondering, "Where can I find a cognitive therapist near me?", consider the following tips when seeking a professional. Finding an effective CBT therapist can help you receive the best results from your sessions. 

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, substance use disorder, major depressive disorder, addiction, trauma, 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 for mental health

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 discuss your thoughts with your therapist. 

Therapist reviews

“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.”

Takeaway

If finding local CBT is not working out how you expected, consider online therapy providers, ask your doctor for a referral, or search for a provider online. There are numerous ways to find a provider near you or from home. Take the first step by reaching out to a therapist for guidance. 
Explore mental health and healing in therapy
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