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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
The primary treatment approach utilized at CHH is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Developed in the 1960’s and created by Dr. Aaron T. Beck, CBT was the first form of psychotherapy to be empirically examined. Early examination of CBT showed efficacy for the treatment of depression. It has since developed into the most empirically-supported form of psychotherapy. While it is the gold standard treatment for depressive disorders, CBT has been adapted into effective treatment models for anxiety disorders, eating disorders, perfectionism, substance abuse, and many other psychiatric disorders and clinical issues. Models have also been adapted to adolescents and children populations.
CBT as a psychotherapy is scientific in nature, and it is problem-centered, goal-focused, and strength-based. Although it is not exclusive to the practice, CBT is typically time-limited and present-focused. CBT therapists strongly value the therapeutic relationship and strive to create a safe, supportive environment that is conducive to active collaboration between the client and clinician. This relationship is the primary vehicle for change.
The practice of CBT is grounded in the theory that our perceptions and interpretations of events largely impact our emotional experiences and behavioral responses. The basic premise of CBT is that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors function in a cyclical relationship, impacting one another interdependently. As individuals, we all have our own unique stories that shape the way we view the world, others, and ourselves.
Therefore, the primary strategy in CBT is to increase insight into our perceptions. By creating more helpful and realistic interpretations, our emotional distress can be lowered and our behavioral responses can be more adaptive and effective. Another primary strategy in CBT is behavior change and alternative ways of coping. By embarking upon experiences that create new learning, our previously held perceptions can be challenged in ways that will impact future interpretations and emotional experiences.
CBT is often used as “an umbrella” that encompasses various types of cognitive-behavioral models. Although the clinicians at CHH were formally trained in more traditional CBT, they utilize interventions from Schema-Focused Cognitive Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and exposure therapy models.