Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at Amherst, MA—Therapist and Counselors Teaching CBT Techniques

You have been looking forward to meeting with a friend that you have not seen for some time. The night before you planned to meet, your friend contacts you and says something unavoidable happened and he won’t be able to make the meeting. Your first thought is that you hope everyone is alright. But soon your thoughts change, and you wonder if your friend ever intended to meet with you. You perseverate on this idea wondering if something you said in the past has made him angry. You experience mixed feelings of guilt and anger that persist no matter what you try to do.

Another time, you are trying to write an important essay for school. You have prepared by researching your topic weeks in advance. However, the day before your paper is due you simply stare at a blank sheet of paper. For some reason you have a mental block. As time passes you experience growing anxiety. The more you try to concentrate, the more anxious you become. You realize that if you don’t finish the paper that you will lose sleep and you experience more anxiety. You may even become a bit depressed. You wonder if there is some way of controlling these feelings that just seem to be bringing you down.

If you experience these or similar harmful thought patterns or cognitive distortions, the cognitive behavioral therapists and counselors at Thriveworks Amherst can help you. You can schedule an appointment by calling (413) 634-4805.

What is Cognitive Dissonance?

We would like our thoughts and beliefs to always be in harmony. However, sometimes how we think and how we feel can be in opposition to each other. When our cognitions and emotions are not based on evidence, the resulting distortions can cause what is called “cognitive dissonance.”This dissonance can also result in conflicts between our beliefs and our behavior. We may not even realize these contradictions in our beliefs, emotions or behavior resulting in “blind spots” in our actions and speech that can be detrimental to our productivity and relationships. Other possible results from cognitive dissonance include:

  • Emotional reasoning:A negative perspective on reality based on one’s emotions rather than evidence;
  • Polarized thinking:Having a world view based on rigid dichotomies, for example, things are either black or white, yes or no;
  • Control fallacy:A tendency to micro-manage in response to one’s own insecurities;
  • Blame Shifting:Impulsively assigning to blame for every situation, usually to someone other than ourselves;
  • Overgeneralization:Applying one’s own personal experiences as a norm or universal rule for all experiences;
  • Catastrophizing:Evaluating circumstances as a worse-case scenario usually with a sense of eminent sense of doom;
  • Fallacy of fairness:Applying a sense of fairness that is not based on evidence and that usually favoring the one doing the evaluating;
  • Filtering:Strictly focusing on the negative aspects of any situation and disregarding the positive aspects.

Cognitive Behavior Therapists at Thriveworks Amherst are skilled in recognizing all these tendencies and are experienced in using the proper therapeutic techniques to treat them.

Effects of Negative Cognitive Patterns

Most of us tend to react based on our immediate emotions without taking the time to apply an evidence-based approach. These responses can also be the outcome of past experiences that influence our present behavior patterns. Faulty patterns of both thoughts and behaviors can result in several unfavorable conditions such as:

  • Self-Medication with Alcohol or Illicit Drugs
  • Overeating or Under Eating
  • Insomnia
  • Other General Health Issues
  • Generalized Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Tendencies
  • Explosive Verbal Outbursts
  • Mood Swings
  • Depression
  • Sense of Helplessness
  • Poor Self-Worth
  • Decreased Motivation
  • Disruptions in Personal Relationships
  • Anger management
  • Drug and/or alcohol abuse
  • Conduct Disorder

Disruption in our relationships can be particularly hurtful in that they result in experiences in a sense of disconnect, loneliness and hopelessness.However, there is hope. The skilled cognitive behavior therapists at Thriveworks Amherst have training and experience in helping people manage their thoughts and behavior. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a widely used evidence-based approach to psychotherapy that focuses on identifying environmental triggers to certain thought patterns and developing healthier, more productive responses called coping skills. Research has shown it to be particularly effective in the treatment of depression, anxiety, phobias, PTSD, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and even attention deficit disorder (i.e., ADD, ADHD).

The CBT Process

The trained counselor or therapist at Thriveworks Amherst, utilizing Cognitive Behavior Therapy, will help the client conflicts and distortions. An important first step in this process is for the Cognitive Behavior Therapist to develop a relationship with the person seeking help that is based on mutual trust and unconditional acceptance. The cognitive behavior therapist will also help teach the client to:

  • Identify these harmful thoughts
  • Identify setting events that trigger destructive patterns
  • Trainthe client in an evidence-based approach to evaluate situations
  • Teach alternative ways of addressing these thoughts and feelings
  • Shape the person’s ability to recognize positive consequences for these alternate responses.

There are clinicians, therapists and counselors at Thriveworks Amherst trained in the use of with Cognitive Behavior Therapy that have many years of experience treating a range of mental health conditions using CBT techniques. These include:

  • Cognitive Restructuring
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy
  • Exposure Therapy
  • Stress Inoculation
  • Relaxation Training
  • Guided Imagery
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

The cognitive behavior therapists at Thriveworks Amherst will work with you to select a method or combination of methods that will be right for that individual.

Get Help Today

Cognitive behavioral therapists like those at Thriveworks Amherst have helped scores of individuals to overcome emotional and behavior burdens to live fruitful and happier lives. It can help you too so contact us at (413) 634-4805. We accept most insurance plans. So, call Thriveworks Amherst today.

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