Counseling with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Sterling, VA (Loudoun County)
When life is challenging, it is normal to feel overwhelmed. As wonderful as it would be to fast forward through life’s difficulties, that is not an option. Struggle. Challenge. Setbacks. These are all normal human experiences. When you have faced a dicey situation, have you ever told yourself something like… “this stuff always happens to me. It’s not fair.” Or what about… “Of course this happened. My plans are always ruined.” Most people have. These thoughts are called cognitive distortions, and they can exacerbate an already troublesome situation. In some cases, cognitive distortions can create a problem when there was none. No one can fast forward through a challenge, but everyone can change how they think about that challenge. Many people are learning that changing their own thinking is the key to positive change in their lives, and they are reaching out for support—working with a counselor and going through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can
change his future by merely changing his attitude.” —Oprah Winfrey
When people want to make adjustments in their lives but are unsure about next steps, CBT may be able to help. Counselors can utilize the techniques of CBT for an array for mental, physical, social, relational, and psychological problems people may face. In clinical studies, cognitive behavioral therapy helped clients sustain change in their lives, and it brought measurable relief to a number of serious mental health challenges, including anxiety and depression. Within this therapeutic method, clients are empowered with cognitive and emotional skills that they can utilize for the rest of their lives.
The staff at Thriveworks Loudoun County offers cognitive behavior therapy because we understand the power of changing a life. Our therapists and counselors have worked with clients, helping them adjust their thinking and allowing them to experience substantial change in their everyday life as well.
What is CBT?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is both practical and proactive in its therapeutic strategy. Clients will present a specific problem within their lives, but CBT does not focus upon the problem—it focuses upon how the client is thinking about that problem. Change comes through adjusted thinking, not adjusting the challenge. Examples of problems clients may present at CBT include, but are not limited to…
- Mood swings
- Self-destructive habits
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Anger management
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Drug and/or alcohol addiction
- General health issues
- Child and adolescent issues
- Relationship issues
What does it look like to adjust someone’s thinking about anxiety? Consider Colin’s situation. He wrestles with chronic anxiety. The situation he presents to his counselor is relational—his friend said he would text about possibly going skiing sometime this month. Colin’s friend has not texted, and three days have passed. Colin feels his anxiety rising and is telling himself that his friend does not really want to spend time with him—that he must have done something to offend his friends—that he is a bad friend. These are cognitive distortions, and Colin’s therapist will help him recognize that these are not true and negative as well as help him replace these thoughts with true, positive thoughts.
Cognitive behavioral therapy zeroes in upon a specific situation and an individual’s response. It teaches clients emotional skills through processing real-life situations. Often, clients work with a counselor for anywhere from a few months to a year or two.
Cognitive Distortions: Getting to the Root of the Problem
When people inaccurately interpret their circumstances, they may be engaging in a cognitive distortion. Often, these cognitive distortions give an overly negative view of reality. Examples of common cognitive distortions include…
- Polarized or “black and white” thinking—when people see the world as all-or-nothing. Either their event was perfect or a failure. There is no in-between or grey.
- Blaming—involves looking for fault, even when there may be no fault to find or when placing blame does not help a situation.
- Catastrophizing—when people expect failure, devastation, and calamity. These expectations can become self-fulfilling prophesies.
- Control fallacies—can pop up in two different ways. First, people may see themselves as victims of fate, luck, or the universe. Thus, they give up control that is naturally theirs. In the second version, people accept control that does not belong to them. They may blame themselves for another person’s decision, such as when a child feels responsible for their parents’ divorce.
- Filtering—when people minimize or negate any good news or positive realities so that they only see the challenges and difficulties. They filter out the good.
- Overgeneralization—occurs when people have one experience, but they make that event into a universal principle.
- Emotional reasoning—when people cannot distinguish between their feelings (an internal reality) with the external reality. For example, there are many competent people who feel incompetent at times. There are also many people who feel guilty, but they are not.
CBT Counseling at Thriveworks Loudoun County
When you think about what is going on in your life at this moment, what is your response to these events? Do you recognize any cognitive distortions or negative thoughts? Making changes within yourself takes a lot of courage, but many people have learned that change starts with their own outlook. And no one has to do it alone. Thriveworks Sterling is here to help. We have appointments available for cognitive behavior therapy.
When you contact our office, know that weekend and evening appointments are available. We accept most forms of insurance, and new clients often have their first appointment within 24 hours of their first call to us.
Let’s work together for positive change. Contact Thriveworks Sterling today.