If you have come to this page, more than likely you are seeking solutions to address an emotional difficulty, stressful life situation and/or distressing symptoms (mental health condition) you may not understand. It’s reassuring to know that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or better known as CBT can help you find your way to feel better soon. Proven as one of the most effective psychotherapies, CBT comes with a long history of extensively researched and documented success in treating mood and anxiety disorders, and has been adapted and is valuable in addressing numerous other mental health problems.
Broadly speaking, clients meet with a licensed, professional therapist who uses collaborative conversations to guide and assist in identifying challenging situations as well as problematic or negative thinking that may be triggering symptoms and getting in the way of living more fully. As the name implies, attention to “cognition” is explored in depth so that clients are able to identify and address problematic thought processes and core beliefs that trigger painful emotions, reactions and behaviors. Once clients gain awareness and better understanding of how their thoughts impact how they feel and act, they participate in a joint process to determine how they may notice, honor and thus transform their feelings and “behavioral” responses and improve their lives.
More specifically, CBT at Choices is built upon the idea that how we sense and perceive the world and actual events of our lives (both past and present) influences how we understand and think, and thus creates meaning in our lives. Recognizing that the unpredictable givens of everyday life include continual and unexpected change, pain, suffering, betrayal, and even death, it is normal for a person to arrive at periods in which they may feel discouraged, overwhelmed or simply unable to cope with what life throws their way. While experiencing such difficulties most people feel negative emotions such as sadness, anger, fear and even embarrassment for feeling depressed and/or anxious. At points, painful emotions can become unbearable and even paralyzing, negatively impacting the capacity to cope, tend to daily activities and move forward. Often confusing behaviors reflect the nature of one’s distressing misery, adversely impacting work, sleep, appetite and the capacity to relate effectively with other people at work, home or simply out and about.
Recognizing this as part of being human, Choices therapists are trained to empathically listen to and guide people though such challenges, applying CBT insights with clients to help them first identify the events and stresses that brought them to therapy. Within a calming environment, therapists often begin by modeling and guiding clients toward helpful, soothing behaviors and practices that enhance the client’s innate coping, resilience and distress tolerance capacity. Therapists listen carefully and guide clients toward increased awareness and identification of the triggering stressful situations as well as how they are perceived and what meaning they hold personally for the client.
Therapists then offer and encourage a nonjudgmental perspective in helping clients notice their automatic and often negative thoughts and beliefs, guiding them toward recognition and rewriting of those ideas which are unhelpful or detrimental. Further careful and respectful exploration may uncover deeper core beliefs and understandings that may not be serving the client well. Upon recognition that painful and detrimental thoughts and underlying fears trigger negative emotions and behaviors, therapists work alongside clients to help them restructure or rewrite problematic thoughts and the ideas that feed painful emotions and behavioral reactions. Emphasis is placed upon reducing shame and blame for the past, while increasing self-compassion and self-care. Clients are encouraged to take responsible ownership of their thoughts, beliefs and opinions; to notice and honor their feelings; and to identify and choose constructive behaviors and actions that bring them growth and freedom. This often includes promoting and teaching communication and interpersonal skills to foster respectful and healthy relational connections while diminishing relational behaviors that are detrimental. Overall, CBT works to promote effective and responsible choices to enhance increased awareness, coping and relating.
Finally, Choices CBT therapist do not advise nor tell clients how to think, feel, or behave, but rather invite clients to consider their own personal choices and alternatives that will work for them and will lead them to personal and social growth. Occasionally a CBT therapist will suggest that a client may benefit from meeting with one of Choices psychiatrists or their own primary care physician for medical assessment if the symptoms are more intense or a client is feeling as if they are not making progress. Our compassionate therapists and doctors work collaboratively for the best interest of the client, so clients may feel empowered and take charge of their healing process, so they may access the best possible care and move toward emotional and physical wellness as quickly as possible.
If you or someone you love is struggling with painful emotions and coping with the challenges of life, a CBT licensed therapist at Choices can help you get to a better place of thriving and wellness. We welcome your call and would be happy to tell you more about our services and many ways that we can help you. We can be reached at 952-544-6806 Monday through Thursday 8-5 and on /Friday 8-4 or you may reach us through our “Contact Us” form to request a phone call to talk about our services.