Psychologist Questions Psychiatrist

What happens in CBT sessions?

I am a 37 year old female. I want to know what happens in CBT therapy sessions?

5 Answers

Sit and talking
Hi there,

CBT sessions can be collaborative, structured, and directive. Typically, a therapist will work with you to set an agenda of what you would like to focus on for that session at the start. Mood check-ins are also common at the beginning. Psychoeducation on different CBT techniques is provided in sessions to help patients gain awareness and practice tools to support them with restructuring unhealthy ways of thinking, feeling and acting. Homework in the form of practicing a technique is common and homework review is often at the beginning of sessions as well. This kind of structure is a great way to measure progress towards goals for both you and the therapist.

Cinthia Taylor, LMFT
I think there are two aspects to consider in answering your question. To my mind, the less important aspect is the method of CBT which is to examine your thought patterns and determine which of them is causing you more pain so that they can be identified and changed. The more important aspect, to me, is the actual person of the therapist who is helping you. If that person forms a good relationship with you and you feel safe and heard with that person, it is likely that the therapy will be helpful to you. That relationship is critical.
In CBT therapy sessions, the client and clinician are collaboratively working together to find solutions and modify ineffective behaviors with more adaptive ones. When we focus on identifying and replacing specific negative thinking, we are able to change the way we feel and thus be more energized to make effective behavioral changes. As a result, we are able to shift and release hormones such as endorphins to increase pleasure and satisfaction. Also the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin are created to promote feelings of happiness and emotional well being.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be very helpful to many different mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, substance use disorders, eating disorders, etc.
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