What to Expect in Cognitive Behavior Therapy

therapist talking with her patient

Mental illness is prevalent in America; according to the National Alliance on mental illness, about 20 percent of American adults have mental illness in a given year, and 1 in 25 cases of those cases are so serious that they affect the person’s ability to do their daily life activities. Closer to home in Connecticut, 13 percent of high school students interviewed in a 2017 survey reported having at least one major depression in the 12 months preceding the survey. One of the effective strategies of dealing with mental illness is CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This article discusses what you can expect in your CBT sessions in Westport.

How CBT works

Mental illnesses range from simple sleeping disorders to severe cases such as schizophrenia. CBT is centered around the principle that unhelpful behaviors and ways of thinking partly cause mental problems. It, therefore, aims to help a person with psychological disorders gain control of their thinking and actions; this way, the symptoms of the psychological disorders are relieved, and the patient is able to live a normal life. For conditions such as personality disorders and stress management CBT is more effective than other physiological treatment, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

CBT therapy sessions

CBT follows a structure, which may differ from one therapist to another. The first few sessions are typically question-and-answer sessions as the therapist tries to establish the cause of your mental problems. This helps the therapist decide the best treatment approach. The initial meetings are also bonding sessions, which the therapist will use to create a rapport with you. The therapist will also introduce the strategies and goals of the therapy.

After understanding your problem, the therapist decides on the content of the treatment plan and the estimated duration of the therapy. Typically, in a therapy session, the therapist will introduce the goals of the meeting and then cover the planned content in an interactive session. After the session, the therapist may give you some work to do on your own. In the initial meetings, the therapist decides the content to be covered, but as you become acquainted with the treatment plan, you will have a say in determining the structure and content of the therapy sessions.

How many people are involved?

group therapy session

Nothing is fixed cognitive behavioral therapy. The therapy sessions can be one-on-one sessions with the therapist or group sessions with your family members, friends, or other people with similar problems. Though many people prefer one-on-one therapy sessions due to confidentiality, group sessions have advantages too; for example, your group members may form part of your support group.

How long do the sessions take?

The time taken depends on factors such as the severity of the mental illness and how quickly you will make progress. Generally, cognitive behavioral therapy is a short-term treatment plan. You can expect to have 5-20 weekly sessions, with each session taking 30-60 minutes.

Increasing the efficacy of CBT

The effectiveness of the CBT treatment will partly depend on your input. To get the most out of CBT, be as open as possible to your therapist; they will not understand your problem well unless you open up. Further, participate in the therapy sessions and follow the treatment plan to the end

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