There are many ways of addressing mental health issues. In graduate school we learn about Sigmund Fraud, Carl Rogers, Alfred Adler, Carl Yung, just to name a few. Each of these psychologists created a psychological theory of why people act the way they do and using their theory explain how to affect change. For example, I could approach depressive issues from any of these perspectives and then begin treatment. I personally utilize Cognitive-Behavioral Theory. Why? Because CBT makes sense to me and is very effective. Let me assure you that other theories are also effective, so if your therapist does not utilize CBT-don’t worry. Research has supported the efficacy of all these approaches to mental health issues.
Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
Cognitive-Behavioral Theory is the idea that our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are interlinked. We can change any of the three factors and the other two will also change. A simple example of CBT:
Behavior-You have been sitting on the couch all day watching endless amounts of mindless television.
Thought- “I am such a slob.”
Feeling- Tired, disappointed, maybe even disgusted.
Change the Behavior-Get up and mow the lawn.
Thought- “I got something done today,” or “The yard looks good.”
Feeling- satisfied, maybe even proud
Naturally, issues people bring to a counseling session are more complex than our friend on the couch, but the theory is the same.
You will find counseling sessions utilizing Cognitive-Behavioral Theory to be practical. You will talk about what you are doing now. You may need to talk about the past at some time, but in Cognitive-Behavioral Theory the past is addressed in the “here and now.” That means you will look at how the past is effecting you today.
Typically, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is shorter in length than other therapeutic interventions. In my own practice I find 12-16 sessions to be more than adequate to address a specific issue. We often meet weekly for 3-4 sessions and then drop to every other week and later monthly.
In general, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is very positive. The goal is to assist the client in stepping out of their rut and moving on with their life.