At New Transitions Counseling Center, we use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat a variety of mental health conditions. CBT is a goal-oriented form of psychotherapy that focuses on practical approaches to solving life’s problems. The mission is the change negative thoughts and behavior that contribute to life’s challenges, influencing how they react and feel. CBT can be implemented to help with a wide variety of mental health concerns, including sleep issues, substance abuse, relationship problems, anxiety, and depression. The idea is that by changing one’s attitude and behavior, one can change their thoughts and emotions.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can be thought of as a marriage between cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. While cognitive therapy focuses on thinking patterns that impact our lives, behavioral therapy focuses on the relationship between our behavior and our thoughts.

What are the advantages of cognitive behavioral therapy?

CBT is one of the most widely used types of psychotherapy. Time and time again, research has shown it to be incredibly effective for treating a range of mental health issues. One of the biggest advantages it offers is that it tends to be short term. For most people, CBT lasts somewhere between five and 10 months with weekly 50-minute sessions. During CBT, the therapist and client work together to develop tools and a set of principles that can be applied for the rest of their life, so not only is CBT short-term, it is also effective long-term.

What happens during cognitive behavioral therapy?

What exactly occurs in a CBT session will be dependent on the individual receiving therapy as well as the specific therapist. However, CBT is different from other forms of therapy because there is structure to sessions. As opposed to speaking freely about whatever comes up, the therapist will ask the client to delve specifically into certain issues, as well as set goals for these issues. These problems could be centered around symptoms of a mental health condition, or it could be life problems, such as an unhappy marriage or a need for a new career path. Whatever the specific problem and goal are will influence what goes on during sessions.

Typically, the client and therapist will begin the session by deciding together which issues they want to work on this week. They will likely look at any conclusions they came to during the previous session, and go over any homework the therapist assigned last week. At the end of the session, they will likely plan additional homework for the next week.

Who benefits from cognitive behavioral therapy?

Due to the proven efficacy of this type of therapy, there are many different people who can benefit from it. It is best for people who have specific goals for their life or mental health, as opposed to someone who feels unfulfilled in some way, but doesn’t know exactly why and just wants some insight. Due to its goal-oriented nature and structure, it is most helpful to people who are looking for a practical solution rather than those who want to just gain general insight into their mental state.

Some conditions treated by CBT include:

  • Anger management
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Mood swings
  • Sexual/relationship problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Substance abuse problems

For long-standing and severely debilitating mental health conditions, the short-term nature of CBT may prevent it from being fully effective. However, CBT can teach life skills that help for years to come, so it may be worth trying. Regardless of whether you are interested in CBT or another type of psychotherapy, we can help! Contact New Transitions Counseling Center in Palatine for an appointment with one of our compassionate counselors.