Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (aka CBT) happens to be the leading psychotherapy practice among psychologist and therapist. CBT is empirically based, meaning its methods have been tested repeatedly over the years. Not only has this practice been tested, but results are immediate and effective in numerous controlled settings. It has also been found to be a more superior treatment method over medication in reducing depressive and anxiety symptoms. Often times, when medication is used in conjunction with CBT for more severe disorders, the results are astonishing. The research is overwhelmingly in favor of CBT.

When first meeting with an individual, I explore what brings them into therapy.  This usually involves a difficult situation and/or the emotional pain a person is repeatedly experiencing. People are often surprised when I explore their past and childhood backgrounds. A common misconception when working with a Cognitive Therapist is that we will only be working on changing maladaptive thoughts.  However, the way one views the world, self and others is impacted by life defining moments. For example, with some individuals this involves discussing a trauma or challenging life experiences. Our perception is also greatly shaped by the culture we are exposed to.

These life defining moments lead to “Core Beliefs.”  Some common ones are:

  • “I’m not good enough”
  • “I am unworthy”
  • “I am not safe”
  • “I am unlovable”

These core beliefs lead to maladaptive assumptions, such as “they won’t hire me,” “I am fat,” “I did the wrong thing,” or “he/she doesn’t like me” and the negative thoughts continue to stream through one’s mind, all stemming from core beliefs.  Negative thoughts lead to a negative emotional state and, unfortunately, often times to maladaptive coping skills. Thoughts, whether positive or negative, determine our emotional state. Our emotional state leads to the choices we make, ultimately the life we end up creating for ourselves. A “Thought Record” with examples is being provided and one without examples for your own personal use.

CBT lends itself well to various spiritual practices and religious beliefs, too. Every religion touches on the importance of being aware and guarding our thoughts and, furthermore, choosing a positive perspective.

After rigorously learning, writing and experimenting with various psychotherapy practices while attending Santa Clara University, the one I repeatedly favored is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. In my experience, it has been the technique that works well overall with children, teens and adults. The psychologist in me loves numbers, colored scales and graphs. I want to be able to see results and track progress in the clients I am entrusted in working with. More importantly, my clients want to see improvements in their lives. Together, we work to make positive changes.