What is real Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT)?

At our center, we practice Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, otherwise known as “CBT.”

CBT is an evidence-based treatment employed for the treatment of anxiety, depressive, and obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders. It involves examining and challenging how our thought processes can contribute to and maintain feelings of anxiety and depression, how feelings of isolation and inactive interests can increase feelings of depression, and it focuses on how we can gradually confront the places, situations, or people that we fear so our fear reduces in the present and future.

Currently, only a small percentage (some studies estimate around 15%) of clinical psychologists are trained in exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is the most evidence-based treatment for anxiety. Exposure therapy comes in two iterations: gradual and flooding. It involves either a graduated, systematic approach to confronting one’s fears or facing the main fear directly. Most patients opt for the gradual approach, but both approaches are effective.

For example, a gradual approach with a specific phobia such as a snake phobia would start by looking at pictures of snakes, then movies of snakes, being in the vicinity of a snake, and finally touching and interacting with a snake. Exposure to these places, situations, people, etc. are accompanied with specific coping skills and allow for habituation (getting used to the anxiety at each stage) to be achieved.

Exposure therapy has effectiveness rates between 60 and 90%. CBT therapists also work to give the skills in their own repertoire to patients with the hope of empowering them the rest of their lives.

For more information, take a look at an article I co-authored on Exposure Therapy:

www.psychiatrictimes.com/anxiety/exposure-therapy-anxiety-disorders

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