In contrast to what you often see on TV, CBT is a very active and collaborative dialogue between you and your therapist. In the past few decades, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has evolved to include a wide range of evidence-backed treatments. At their core, these therapies focus on the relationship between thoughts, emotions and action, and how these interact with the world we live in. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) are two such approaches that form the backbone of our interventions. Research has shown that the tenets of CBT help decrease suffering and lead to a richer and more meaningful life.
ACT asks you to examine your core values and gain insight into whether your actions reflect these values. We’ll strengthen your ability to stay focused on the present moment and become more accepting of your thoughts and emotions. These skills will help you increase your “towards moves,” actions that help you overcome obstacles and achieve short- and long-term goals.
DBT also has mindful awareness at its core, and it teaches you common “dialectics” that are part of the human experience. Some dialectics that we often see are “Life is painful. Life is magical.” “I need to accept myself and I need to try harder.” Or a bit less heady: “I love my partner, I hate my partner!” This dialectical mindset is coupled with essential life skills in navigating relationships, managing strong emotions, finding a “middle path” during times of conflict, and pacing your actions when you’re under intense stress.
Throughout all of this, we will help you toggle between making helpful changes in your life (learning new skills, practicing new behaviors) while also validating and accepting where you are in your life right now.
Ok, but what does that actually look like? Here are some things you might be doing in sessions with us:
- Learning and practicing a mindfulness exercise with your therapist
- Investigating, step-by-step, the thoughts, feelings and actions that landed you in a “hot spot”
- Doing a values assessment through conversation or written exercises
- Identifying common narratives that get you stuck, and learning how to “unhook” from those narratives
- Trying new behaviors in session with your therapist’s support
- Creating concrete ways to commit to new behaviors and skills practice between sessions