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What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

What is Mindfulness?

What is “third wave” Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

What is Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)?

How long does therapy last?

 

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy combines two very effective types of psychotherapy – cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. When combined into CBT, they provide clients with very powerful tools for decreasing their symptoms and getting their life on a more satisfying track. The therapist and client work together as a team to identify and solve problems. In contrast to other forms of psychotherapy, cognitive therapy is usually focused on the present, time-limited, and is problem-solving oriented. Time Magazine (01/20/03) has stated that Cognitive Therapy is "… quick, practical, goal oriented." It involves three primary activities: a) Education, b) Skill Building, and c) Problem Solving. During treatment, the client actively applies learned strategies to the problems that brought them to therapy in the first place. In addition, clients learn specific skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. These skills involve identifying distorted thinking, relating to others in different ways, and changing behaviors. CBT is one of the few forms of psychotherapy that has been scientifically tested and found to be effective for many different disorders. The American Psychological Association has endorsed cognitive and behavior therapies as "well-established treatments" supported by research for depression, anxiety, stress, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), agoraphobia and other phobias; health problems such as headaches, bulimia, rheumatic pain and smoking cessation.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness has been described as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” Mindfulness practices aim to cultivate an intentionally non-reactive, non-judgmental, moment-to-moment awareness. In mindfulness practice, you learn to pay attention to the full range of whatever is present in your unfolding experience, no matter where you find yourself in any given moment. For this reason, it is very practical and compelling for people with busy, engaged lives. Mindfulness helps one face and embrace all aspects of life with increasing degrees of equanimity, wisdom, and self-compassion. It is much more than a technique. Mindfulness is best thought of as a way of life, a way of being and seeing, a slight but fundamental shift from being caught up in and carried away by the automaticity of our thoughts and feelings, to being aware of them, and being more grounded in awareness itself. The essence of mindfulness is universal, having to do simply with cultivation and refinement of our ability to be present and awake in our lives. However, from the historical and cultural perspective, it received it’s most articulate and developed expressions within the Buddhist tradition.

What is “third wave” Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Some of the most exciting recent developments in cognitive-behavioral therapy are adapted from some very old techniques for cultivating wellness, like mindfulness practices. Commonly referred to as “third-wave cognitive behavioral treatments,” these therapies are drawn from a combination of Eastern meditation and Western psychology.
Mindfulness-based cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques are used to help patients learn to tolerate difficult emotions and overcome distressing thoughts. These methods are simple, relatively easy to learn, and are available to almost anyone. By using relaxation, an awareness of the breath, and a gentle focus of attention, patients involved in mindfulness and acceptance based cognitive-behavioral therapy learn to observe their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations in a special and non-judgmental way. In clinical research, these methods have been shown to assist in recovery from depression, anxiety disorders, addictions, and stress-related problems.

What is Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)?

ACT is a new, scientifically-based psychotherapy that is part of what is being called the “third wave” in behavioral and cognitive therapy. Like most “third wave” approaches, ACT is a contextualistic approach that embraces elements of both traditional behavior therapy and traditional CBT, but adds new elements that carry this tradition in a new direction.
Developed within a coherent theoretical and philosophical framework, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a unique, empirically-based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behavior change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. “Psychological flexibility” means contacting the present moment fully as a conscious human being, and based on what the situation affords, changing or persisting in behavior in the service of chosen values.
ACT takes the view that trying to change difficult thoughts and feelings as a means of coping can be counterproductive. However, new and powerful alternatives are available, including acceptance, mindfulness, cognitive defusion, values, and committed action.
Research seems to be showing that these methods are beneficial for a broad range of clients. ACT teaches clients and therapists alike how to alter the way difficult private experiences are processed mentally rather than having to eliminate them from occurring at all. This empowering message has been shown to help clients cope with a wide variety of clinical problems, including anxiety, depression, stress, substance abuse, and even psychotic symptoms.

How long does therapy last?

Unless there are practical constraints, the decision about length of treatment is made cooperatively between therapist and patient. Often the therapist will have a rough idea after a session or two of how long it might take for you to reach the goals that you set at the first session. Some patients remain in therapy for just a brief time, six to eight sessions. Other patients who have had long-standing problems may choose to stay in therapy for many months. Initially, patients are seen once a week, unless they are in crisis. As soon as they are feeling better and seem ready to start tapering therapy, patient and therapist could agree to try therapy once every two weeks, then once every three weeks. This more gradual tapering of sessions allows you to practice the skills you've learned while still in therapy. Booster sessions are recommended three, six and twelve months after therapy has ended.