When you think about your life right now, what is one challenge or hardship you would like to overcome? Maybe you want a new job or a big promotion. Maybe you want a healthier relationship with your child. Maybe you want to feel less anxious. Now, think for a moment about what is holding you back from making the changes necessary to achieve that goal? Most of us, when we are truly honest with ourselves, have to admit that we are holding ourselves back to some degree or another. Negative thoughts like, “nothing ever changes” or “I could never do that” can undermine our best efforts. We may have little to no control over other people and certain circumstances, but we have significant control over our own thoughts and perspectives. Many people are learning how to change these negative thoughts into true, positive thinking, and in the process, they are changing their lives. They are looking to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to teach them how.
“A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.” —Wade Boggs
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a therapeutic method that focuses upon what people are thinking. Clinical research shows that people who go through CBT are often able to sustain significant life changes because they have first changed themselves. Even clients struggling with severe mental health challenges like anxiety and depression experienced substantial symptom relief. Further, CBT often equips people with emotional and cognitive skills they can use for many years after therapy ends.
Thriveworks Virginia Beach provides cognitive behavioral therapy because we have seen the positive change that it can bring to clients. Often, the hardest part of change is looking inward, and our therapists and counselors are ready to offer the support many people need as they seek to change their lives by changing themselves.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
In a typical CBT session, therapists and clients work together, processing a specific relational, emotional, psychological, and/or social challenge the client may be facing. Clients often present a wide array of challenges. Therapists have utilized CBT as a treatment for…
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Child and adolescent issues
- Self-destructive habits
- Relationship issues
- Anger management
- Mood swings
- General health issues
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Drug and/or alcohol addiction
CBT’s main focus is upon the client’s response to the particular situation they present, not the challenge itself. For example, consider Patrick. He is struggling to connect with his parents who live in a different city. They asked Patrick to visit over Labor Day weekend, but Patrick said no. He preferred to stay home with his girlfriend. Now, Patrick is dealing with intense guilt. He feels like a terrible son. At his weekly session, he and his therapist begin to process this event and his thoughts about it. Patrick begins to see that this one decision does not define him. Patrick plans to visit his parents at Thanksgiving, and he keeps up with his parents in other ways. Seeing this situation from a different angle has allowed Patrick to let go of his negative thoughts and feelings.
In some way, everyone experiences the negative thoughts that Patrick faced. These are called cognitive distortions, and they often fuel unhelpful or even destructive actions within an individual’s life. People can change these negative thoughts into positive ones. That process often begins by recognizing them. Examples of common cognitive distortions follow:
- “Black and white” or polarized thinking occurs when people put everything into one of two distinct categories: good-or-evil, awful-or-awesome, amazing-or-terrible. There is no in-between, shade, or grey.
- Filtering occurs when people minimize or deny positive, beneficial, and good realities. The only data that they acknowledge is the negative, bad, and/or adverse.
- Catastrophizing occurs when people expect the worst. Every setback is a sign of impending doom, even when the reality points to a favorable outcome.
- Overgeneralization occurs when people take one experience and extrapolate a lesson from it that they apply universally to unconnected circumstances.
- Personalization occurs when people take another’s actions as a direct reflection of themselves. For example, when a friend does not immediately answer a text message, it does not mean that she is ignoring you. It may mean that she is busy with something else.
- Blaming occurs when people constantly look to find fault. However, at times, no one is to blame. At other times, blame does not help.
- Emotional reasoning occurs when people equate their own emotions with an external reality. When people feel guilty, they may assume that they have done something wrong. Maybe they have, but maybe they have not. The feeling and the situation are two distinct realities.
Setting Up an Appointment for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at Thriveworks Virginia Beach
Think back to that change you would like to make in your life. Are you ready to go for it? Would you like help in the process? Thriveworks Virginia Beach has appointments for CBT, and our therapists are ready to help.
When you call Thriveworks Virginia Beach to schedule an appointment, a scheduling specialist will answer your call and schedule your session. New clients frequently have that first appointment within 24 hours of their call. Weekend and evening appointments are available. We do not keep a waitlist, but most insurance plans are accepted.
If you are ready to make a change, we are ready to help. Contact Thriveworks Virginia Beach today.