Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an umbrella term for methods that share a focus on recognizing how thoughts and behaviours that maintain problems, experimenting with new behaviours, and changing how we relate to our experiences. In CBT, we focus on the practice of techniques and strategies between sessions to consolidate insights and strategies attained during treatment sessions. As evidence-based practitioners, we collaborate with our clients to design personalized treatment plans that often integrate a number of CBT approaches. These include behavioural activation, motivational interviewing (MI), mindfulness meditation, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), exposure and response prevention (ERP), and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT).
CBT focuses directly on your problems and on enhancing your commitment to your values. Individual CBT programs are developed between therapist and client in a collaborative manner. Tools, techniques and strategies are designed to be flexible and portable so that they can be used effectively between sessions. The goal of CBT is to help clients become their own effective therapists, so practicing skills and strategies between sessions is a core component of CBT.
The spirit of our approach is active, compassionate, and genuine. Whatever challenges you are experiencing, we’ll listen closely and do our best to work with you to develop a treatment plan that works for you.
During your first appointment, your therapist will begin by asking you about the problem that has prompted you to seek help, as well as questions about your life in general that will help him/her understand your problem in context.
The second part of the appointment typically involves a structured diagnostic interview. Your therapist will ask a series of detailed questions regarding various symptoms and other difficulties. This interview typically lasts one hour to ninety minutes. It is possible that a second appointment may be required in order to complete the interview.
At the end of your first appointment and/or during the next one, your therapist will provide feedback about the results of the assessment and make recommendations for treatment or further assessment. If your therapist believes that the services we offer are appropriate to your needs, he/she will able to discuss the details of your treatment plan. If your therapist does not feel that our services are appropriate to your needs, he/she will suggest other resources for you to contact. With your written permission, we can also arrange to have your assessment report forwarded to other healthcare providers and/or organizations.
For most problems, CBT involves eight to 20 sessions of individual, couples, or group psychotherapy.
In individual CBT, you will meet with your therapist for approximately an hour a week. At the beginning of treatment, you will discuss your current problems and treatment goals. After you and your therapist have established your treatment goals, you will spend your sessions learning techniques for challenging your symptoms and changing your behaviour.
You will also be asked to do homework each week. The amount of homework varies, but it typically consists of 30 minutes to one hour each day of some combination of monitoring your symptoms and thoughts, challenging your assumptions and beliefs, and experimenting with new behaviours.
As you learn to apply CBT techniques, you will gradually require less contact with your therapist. However, at the beginning of therapy, it is usually important to meet once each week to build momentum. Then, once you have some momentum going and are becoming confident with the techniques, the time between your appointments will likely be increased to once every two weeks or once each month. The goal of CBT is to help you become your own therapist.
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