Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy consists of a group of treatments that scientific research has shown best helps children, adolescents, and adults learn how to overcome their problems. It uses scientific research to develop the most effective methods of decreasing unhelpful thought patterns and unhelpful behavior patterns. Cognitive behavioral therapists assume that we all learn in the same basic manner, such as trying to avoid unpleasant or painful situations or trying to do things that are immediately pleasant or reinforcing. Research indicates that those who suffer from anxiety or other disorders are experiencing symptoms that have resulted from a complex set of genetic risk factors, learning experiences and critical events that have led to their disorder.

Cognitive behavioral therapists serve as a coach or teacher whose ultimate goal is to make you an expert at managing and overcoming your anxiety. They help you to identify the thought patterns, mistaken beliefs and unhelpful behavior patterns that maintain your disorder. They look to research about your disorder to guide their treatment of your key symptoms. They know that practice of important thinking skills and behavior skills is key to successful therapy outcomes. This means that clients have home assignments in between sessions so they can practice training their mind and body to respond differently to fear and anxiety cues. Cognitive behavioral therapists also know that it takes time and practice to become skilled at managing fear. This means that you will inevitably make mistakes. This, too, is part of the necessary learning process.