Treatment Methods

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a problem focused and action-oriented therapy that focuses on the relationship between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. By identifying negative or false beliefs and testing or restructuring them, I help my clients to uncover unhealthy patterns to develop constructive ways of thinking. The clarity allows for more effective responses to challenging situations and healthier behaviors.

Therefore, the goal is to identify and correct unhealthy patterns of thinking. Some of the common unhealthy ways of thinking are self-judgment, catastrophic thinking, black and white thinking, and mind reading – assuming you know what someone thinks of you – negatively. These examples of distorted thinking lead you to feel unhappy and lead to less effective coping skills (i.e., withdrawal and avoidance) that may interfere with your life. By addressing these patterns, we work together to develop more constructive ways of thinking that will lead to healthier and more flexible approaches to solving problems. You will feel less overwhelmed and more in control of your life. Further, you will develop specific tools that you can effectively use when life is stressful.

Some of the common unhealthy ways of thinking are self-judgment, catastrophic thinking, black and white thinking, and mind reading – assuming you know what someone thinks of you – negatively. These examples of distorted thinking lead you to feel unhappy and lead to less effective coping skills (i.e., withdrawal and avoidance) that may interfere with your life.

Research has proven that by identifying our distorted thoughts and beliefs, we can have better control over thoughts, thus better control over our feelings. Having distorted thoughts or beliefs doesn't mean that there is something wrong with us. We all have distorted thoughts and beliefs at different times in our lives.

Some examples of distorted thoughts:



Denial/minimization
You don’t see or remember your destructive behavior and its negative results, or you don’t admit to yourself how serious they are. Here are some examples: You think you may have missed work 3 or 4 times in the last months, when it’s really 12 times. You blame arguments with your spouse or partner on him/her, and don’t take your share of the responsibility. You don’t admit that medical, financial, or relationship problems may be linked to your drinking, drug use, gambling, or other compulsive behavior.

All-or-nothing thinking
You see things as completely good or bad, perfect or awful. Events are wonderful or disastrous; you feel like a genius or an idiot; nothing is just okay or average.

Overgeneralization
If one thing goes wrong, you feel it’s a terrible day; if you make one mistake, you feel you are a mistake; you use the words “always” or “never” often. For example, if one thing goes wrong with a project, we may think that the entire project is a failure. Or, if there is one thing that upsets us about a person, we may decide we don't care for that person at all.

Negative focus
You exaggerate the negative and overlook the good, seeing the thorns but not the roses. This feeds self-pity, which is an excuse to act out.

Predicting without facts
You leap to conclusions about the future, usually negative. You put definitive interpretations on events or actions that don’t have clear meanings, such as thinking people are mad at you when they don’t act happy, and you don’t check to see whether your interpretations are right before you believe them.

Emotional reasoning
You assume that your emotions or suspicions reflect the way things really are: “If I feel it, it must be true.” One example: “I feel hopeless, so the situation must really be hopeless.”

Should statements
You guide your actions by what you think you should or shouldn’t do, and beat yourself up with guilt and shame when you fail to meet those standards. You may do this to other people, getting angry and judgmental when they don’t do what you think they should, even if you never told them what your expectations were.

Judgment and labeling
You judge yourself and others instead of judging your actions or their actions. If you lose at something, you call yourself a loser. If others fail at something, you call them failures.

Taking things personally
You see other people’s actions as being aimed at you, and you feel responsible for things you don’t control.

Mind reading
We assume that we know what someone is thinking. We may tell ourselves that someone thinks we are "stupid" or does not like us even though there is no evidence that supports this thought. This is called mind reading.



Catastrophizing
We exaggerate how "awful" something is or imagine the worst possible outcome. Perhaps our boss wants to speak with us and we catastrophize that we are going to be fired. Or, it rains on one of the days of a vacation and we think "this is the worst thing that could have happened.