Healthy Living

Can I Prepare for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Can I Prepare for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Trying out cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a decision one can make for himself, but you can get recommendations from someone or from your doctor.


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Getting started

  • Finding a therapist – Your friend, doctor, employee assistant program, health insurance, or the Internet can all get you referrals. Most employers have counseling services. You may also get a therapist in a state psychological association.   
  •  Look into the costs – If you are covered, get information on what coverage they offer. Certain health plans go as far as several sessions in a year. Inquire from your therapist on fees and payment alternatives.
  • Review your concerns - Outline the issues you want to improve on before starting. Your therapist can also assist you.


Check qualifications

Psychotherapists include trained professional counselors, psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists, trained social workers, psychologists, trained marriage and family therapists, and trained professionals who have mental health licenses.

Before seeing your psychotherapist:

  • Background and Training - Qualified psychotherapists may have several diverse job titles, depending on the training and role. Medical doctors that specialize in mental health may prescribe drugs and also provide psychotherapy.
  • Accreditation and Licensing - Make sure the therapist meets state accreditation and licensing necessities in their particular discipline.
  • Area of expertise - Inquire if the therapist is an expert and has experience in treating the symptoms or the field of concern i.e. PSTD or eating disorders.


The first session

During the first therapy session, therapists gather your information and the issue you want to improve on. To better understand your situation, your therapist might ask about your present and past emotional and physical health. The therapist will discuss if you can benefit from various treatment, too, i.e. medication. 

This first therapy session can also be a good opportunity to interview the therapist and see whether or not he/she matches your requirements and listens attentively.

Your therapist's approach:

  • What form of therapy is right for you?
  • What are your treatment goals?
  • The duration of every session.
  • Number of therapy sessions required.

Your therapist will fully comprehend your concerns and situation after a few seasons for determining the necessary action.


During CBT

The therapist shall hearten you to share your feelings and thoughts and what is troubling you. You will be assisted with opening up, as well as gaining confidence and relaxing in case you have difficulties.

CBT normally focuses on particular issues by applying goal-oriented approaches. As you continue with your therapy process, the therapist might request you to carry out some "homework," i.e. reading and practicing, which build on your lessons at your regular sessions. Applying what you have learned to your daily activities will also be encouraged by the therapist.

The therapist’s approach shall be influenced by your specific condition and preferences. CBT might be combined with various therapeutic approaches, i.e. interpersonal therapies that concentrate on your interactions with various people.    


Steps in CBT

CBT usually includes these stages:

-          Identify troubling conditions in one’s life - i.e. divorce, anger, medical ailment, mental illness symptoms, or grief. Both of you might spend time determining which issues and goals to concentrate on.      

-          Develop awareness to your belief, emotions, and thoughts about these issues - You will be encouraged to talk about them by your therapist. This can include witnessing what you share with yourself on an experience, your clarification on a meaning of a circumstance and briefs on yourself, and other events and people. A journal will be recommended to track thoughts and feelings.  

-          Recognize inaccurate or negative thinking - This aids you in identifying patterns of behavior and thinking which might contribute to your issue. Your therapist might request that you watch your behavioral, emotional, and physical responses to various situations. 

-          Reshape inaccurate or negative thinking - The therapist can likely encourage you to ask yourself if your perception of a circumstance is based through facts or through inaccurate views of what is going on. This stage might be difficult. You can experience long-standing methods of thinking of yourself and your life. Through behavior patterns, helpful thinking and practice shall become a custom, and it will not require much effort.    


Duration of therapy

CBT is normally a deliberated short-term therapy of almost 10 - 20 sessions. Factors to deliberate include:

  • Form of condition or disorder
  • The severity of the symptoms
  • The duration of the symptoms
  • How fast you attain progress
  • How much strain you are undergoing
  • The amount of support received from your family members or friends
  • Confidentiality

Except in particular circumstances, discussions with one’s therapist are highly confidential, except when safety risk arises or if the state or federal law report concerns. These situations encompass:

  • Threatening to instantaneously injure or commit suicide
  • Threatening to injure or take someone’s life anytime
  • Abusing a kid or a person aged 18 and over that is hospitalized or has a disability
  • Not being able to safely take care of yourself


Preventing negative thinking cycles

We all have helpful or unhelpful methods of responding to a circumstance, often determined on how we think about it, i.e. when your marriage ends in a divorce, you may think you are a failure and that you cannot get in any meaningful relationship.

This can result in one feeling lonely, hopeless, tired, and depressed, stopping you from going out to make new friends, becoming trapped within a negative cycle, sitting alone at home, and feeling bad about your life.  

Instead of allowing this form of thinking, you can accept that not all marriages work. Learn through your mistakes and carry on. Be positive about your future.

Being positive can make you socially active. One can start evening lessons and make new friends.

This simplified example shows how some actions, physical sensations, feelings, and thoughts may trap someone in negative cycles, creating new circumstances that make one feel worse about themselves.

CBT aims to stop negative cycles like these by breaking off things which make you scared and anxious or make you have bad feelings.

CBT may assist in reaching a point where one can attain this on their own and handle issues without involving a therapist.


Exposure therapy

This type of CBT is specifically useful to persons having obsessive compulsive disorder or phobias.

In such situations, conversing about the case is not helpful. You need training to face the fears in a structured and methodical way using exposure therapy.

It involves beginning with things and circumstances that lead to anxiety that you can handle. By staying in these circumstances for 1-2 hours, your anxiety will reduce over time by half. 

By repeating your exposure exercise 3 times in a day, you will notice your anxiety doesn’t go very high and lasts for a lesser amount of time. 

You shall now be prepared to tackle a more challenging situation until you are through with every item and situation you desire to conquer.

Exposure therapy might involve spending 6 – 15 hours on therapy or may be done through self-help computer programs or books. You will require practice in this exercise often to overcome your issues.



Little risk is involved. Because it may explore experience, emotions, feelings, and pain, you can get emotionally uncomfortable sometimes. You can feel angry, get upset, or cry in a challenging session, or one can become physically drained.

Through working with an experienced therapist, risks are reduced. All coping skills learned may assist in controlling and overcoming negative fears and feelings.