Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) refers to how thoughts effect feelings.  In this system of counseling thoughts are tools.

Most people don’t think of thoughts this way and view thoughts as uncontrollable things that fill their heads.  This is not true.  The thoughts you choose to have influence how you feel about yourself and the world.    My clients and I often work through several methods of changing thought patterns to ones that are more useful and true.  With some clients I use workbooks and charts.  Others prefer to just talk and then watch their thoughts informally and report back experiences.

I find CBT to be related to meditation and mindfulness.  At first you would not think so.  CBT is a very logical process of examining thoughts, finding their mistaken assumptions, and replacing them.  Meditation is (on the surface) about calming the mind and becoming a detached observer.  Meditation often deals with counting breaths or guided imagery.  However, the similarity I see is that both meditation and CBT are about BECOMING AWARE of what is running through your head.  Both are about realizing you have a choice and can stop or divert styles of thought.

I also find that CBT works really well for some clients and others hate it.  This is the style of therapy that insurance companies and research scientists and medical doctors adore.  I adore it too — when its working.  My approach is to almost always introduce and try CBT — but to also try other approaches.  I like mixing CBT with finding life meaning, meditation, coaching-like interventions, and genuine caring human contact then seeing what works.