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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Near Me

Your Resource for Locating Licensed Therapists

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective types of psychological therapy for the treatment of a variety of mental health and behavioral disorders.  This short-term treatment modality is useful in treating a variety of mental health disorders, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance use disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Specific phobias
  • ADHD
  • Eating disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sexual disorders
  • Panic disorder
  • General stress
  • Schizophrenia

CBT is also very effective in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, grief and loss, substance use disorders, eating disorders, gambling disorder, and other disordered behaviors such as sex addiction and video gaming addiction.  CBT can also be adapted for treating individuals struggling with general stress or life challenges related to relationships or finances.  CBT is a short-term action oriented treatment modality that is concluded in 12-16 sessions.  This is in contrast to psychodynamic therapy, or talk therapy, that can go on for years by delving deeply into childhood experiences. In essence, CBT focuses on the here and now, and on making fundamental changes in thought-behavior patterns that have become self-destructive to psychological wellness.

The reason why this evidence-based therapy is so popular among psychotherapists is its successful track record in changing maladaptive, disordered thought-behavioral patterns.  So much of the destructive behavior patterns people adopt are the result of disordered thoughts and feelings, and the responses assigned to them.  Brain pathways become etched between the thought and the resultant behavior, reinforcing these negative, often self-destructive behaviors.  By teaching the individual new healthy thought-behavior patterns, CBT can replace the disordered brain pathways with new healthy ones.

CBT for Substance Use Disorders

In recent years, CBT has become a cornerstone treatment element in addiction recovery programming. It takes a concentrated, committed effort for someone to overcome the positive reward they have become accustomed to with their substance of abuse. Therapists in the behavioral health industry understand that this is a formidable challenge when treating clients to change the way they respond to deeply etched thought and behavior patterns.

CBT offer the tools for pushing past the old reflexive responses—I feel stressed/worried/upset/anxious/sad…so I will reach for the benzos/alcohol/opioids to soothe these uncomfortable emotions. Most substances of abuse are both psychologically and physically addicting.

The CBT therapist identifies the client’s specific motivation behind the drug or alcohol abuse. A study of CBT for use in addiction recovery by Beck, Wright, Newman, and Liese in 1993 identified the following areas that set up the substance seeking behaviors:

  • Rituals linked to using the substance
  • External or internal situations that stoke the desire for the substance
  • Cravings and urges for the substance
  • Thoughts that increase the desire and intention to use the substance
  • Beliefs that justify the substance misuse

CBT provides recovery tools that will serve them well into recovery. The goal is to teach the client new attitudes and skills which can be accessed as needed. Early recovery, especially, is a vulnerable phase where relapse is common. The CBT work helps equip the client for the inevitable challenges that he or she will encounter.

The Beck Institute offers suggestions of these attitudes, including:

  • To recognize dysfunctional thoughts that may give permission for the client to take a little break from sobriety, and to immediately replace that temptation with an affirmation of the importance of continued sobriety
  • Addressing thought distortions regarding valuing substance abuse versus sobriety
  • Developing the practice of self-respect and using self-affirming self-talk that helps guide healthy behaviors
  • To identify individuals who are not supportive of sobriety and make a conscious effort to avoid them in favor of engaging in a recovery community and relationships with those who are supportive of recovery efforts
  • Learning strategies to delay the response to cravings, distracting oneself by choosing to engage in an activity, go to a meeting, call a sponsor
  • Choosing to face problems head on instead of using a substance to hide from difficult or uncomfortable emotions
  • To develop an arsenal of phrases to access when offered drugs or alcohol

The History of CBT

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Near Me

Psychiatrist Dr. Aaron Beck developed cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in the 1960s while studying depression through various experiments he was conducting.  His own theories were debunked by the results, as he discovered patients with depression exhibited spontaneous negative thoughts, or cognitions, regarding their views of themselves, the world, or the future.  As he began working with the patients to identify these knee-jerk negative thoughts or assumptions and then reformulate their response to them, he found they would eventually change their thoughts and beliefs about themselves, other people, and the world.  They began to feel more positive and behave in a more functional manner as a result of making these shifts. Over the course of treatment the patients found improvements in overall mood and depression symptoms subsiding to a significant degree.

How CBT Works

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Near Me

CBT focuses on improving the quality of the cognitive (thoughts) and behavioral connections we make in our daily lives. When we process negative or distorted thoughts related to a stimuli—something that provokes the thought or emotional response—and then act upon it, we set up a neural pathway in our brains connecting the two. The brain becomes hardwired to respond that way each time the stimulus is encountered. When the pattern is repeated over and over, it can create entrenched dysfunction, culminating in destructive patterns of behavior.

An example of this is how the automatic thought assumptions made such as “I will never get to sleep,” or “I will never complete this project,” or “I am worthless” can have a profound impact on the actions or behaviors that follow them.  The distorted perceptions then drive self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse or other behavioral disorders as well as reinforce mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and more.

Other examples of negative self-messaging and self-defeating habits include:

  • Automatically dismissing the positive experiences, stating that these are meaningless
  • Exaggerating the situation or event, making it more significant than it really is
  • Knee-jerk negative responses become habit
  • Black-or-white thinking, seeing everything in stark absolute terms
  • Taking everything personally, assuming one is under intense scrutiny or criticism, or the cause of negative outcomes
  • Overgeneralizing that leads to painting everything with a broad brush
  • Dwelling on negative details to the point that everything become colored with negativity

CBT teaches the individual to reframe the thoughts or emotions into positive and constructive messaging, which in turn changes the behavioral response. The CBT therapist works with the client to help them recognize how self blame, negative messaging, irrational thinking, exaggerated negativity, and so on can lead to the problems they are experiencing in their lives.

The CBT therapist will guide the individual toward incorporating the following attributes:

  • How to practice positive and affirming self-talk
  • How to self-evaluate, in order to respond to stimuli appropriately
  • How to change thought distortions and reactions
  • How to accurately read a situation and respond appropriately

By coaching the client to shift these distortions toward positive and affirming messaging, healthier behaviors will follow. Modifying these old negative habits takes time, but with practice and helpful guidance by a CBT therapist it is possible to make significant positive changes in your life.

At the core, CBT operates on three primary principles:

  • Psychological problems can be caused by faulty or unhealthy thoughts
  • Psychological problems can be caused by learned patterns of dysfunctional behavior
  • Using CBT techniques, individuals suffering from psychological problems can make positive changes in their lives by learning better coping skills

CBT IS NOT A ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL THERAPY

Psychotherapists who utilize CBT will make adaptations to the techniques used in treating each specific mental or behavioral health condition.  A unique formulation of CBT is designed as a result of the initial psychological evaluation that is conducted and the diagnosis that follows.  During that initial assessment, the clinician will create treatment goals and plan the CBT treatment strategy accordingly.  The CBT that might be effective for helping someone with anxiety disorder may look quite differently from a CBT plan for treating someone with alcohol addiction.

Regardless of the therapeutic variations of CBT, the core principles of guiding individuals to change distorted thought and behavior patterns remain consistent.  Helping the individual to identify immediately when they are entertaining an irrational thought and quickly modify it towards a positive or constructive message and behavioral response is the same no matter what the specific diagnosis happens to be.  CBT can be used in individual therapy sessions or in group therapy formats.

CBT IS AN EVIDENCE-BASED APPROACH

CBT is considered an evidence-based therapy because its results have been clinically studied and quantified scientifically.  A large body of research supports CBT as an effective tool in treating a wide swath of mental and behavioral health conditions.

A meta-analysis on CBT research and data was published in the October 2012 publication of Cognitive Therapy and Research, providing a comprehensive survey examining its efficacy.  The authors gathered 106 CBT published studies that sought to quantify the benefits of CBT for such problems as depression, eating disorders, substance use disorder, personality disorders, anxiety, insomnia, criminal behaviors, and more.  The conclusion of this review was that the evidence-base of CBT is very strong.

Brain scans have revealed that CBT can actually cause subtle changes in the brain.  In a study published in the National Review of Neuroscience it was found that functional MRI and PET imaging studies of patients with depression showed changes in brain activity before and after receiving 12 sessions of CBT treatment for major depressive disorder, PTSD, OCD, and panic disorder.  The changes were in the brain’s subgenual cingulate cortex, or the mood center of the brain.  The authors of the study considered the effect of CBT on the executive functions, as CBT helps individuals achieve more controlled emotional processing as one of the reasons for the changes in brain circuitry.

CHANGE YOUR LIFE WITH CBT

Because CBT is empirically based, with substantial clinical evidence and statistical data supporting its efficacy in treating individuals for a wide range of issues, it is a popular treatment modality. It has been embraced in the psychiatric and addiction recovery fields because of its effectiveness in making real life changes in a relatively short period of time. Where psychoanalysis constitutes a long-term treatment journey dissecting the individual’s childhood and past history, CBT, while considering the origins of the maladaptive thought-behavior patterns, focuses on the matter at hand and teaches a clear road map toward achieving a better quality of life.

While it takes some time to incorporate the new thought and behavior processes into daily life, with practice these become healthy new habits that can positively impact a person’s quality of life.  The Treatment Specialist provides free assistance in locating cognitive behavioral therapy near me and treatment programs (near you) that feature CBT.  Reach out to The Treatment Specialist and begin to make positive changes in your life with CBT. Call (866) 644-7911 to learn more about cognitive behavioral therapy program.

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For individuals looking for treatment options for mental health and addiction conditions, TheTreatmentSpecialist.com offers a confidential helpline that provides assistance. Treatment Specialists are standing by to answer your questions and provide treatment recommendations based on your unique needs.

Calls to The Treatment Specialist website will be answered by a paid sponsor.

If you are looking for a specific treatment provider, you can search our treatment directory and see if they are listed. You can also contact our helpline at 866-644-7911 for any questions, or visit SAMHSA.

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