Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a focused, skills-based approach that emphasizes change rather than insight, and solutions rather than problems. You learn specific techniques and tools that can help you reduce distress and change problematic behaviors, thoughts and feelings. CBT has been used successfully to help people with anxiety, stress, panic, depression and relationship problems.
In individual therapy, if you are bothered by anxiety or stress, for example, you would learn a variety of techniques. These would include relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and visual imagery, to give you skills to calm and soothe yourself. You would also learn techniques to alter your negative and anxiety-provoking thoughts (cognitive therapy). Cognitive therapy would start with an examination of how unrealistic thoughts and perceptions of events can lead to anxious feelings, physiological reactivity, physical symptoms, or dysfunctional behaviors such as avoidance, procrastination, or diminished performance. You might also examine how your negative thoughts interfere with your self-confidence and ability to fully enjoy life. One way to view negative thinking is that people often develop a biased negative view of themselves–an expectation that they will mess up or be unable to cope well. This negative expectation can actually diminish performance and reinforce a negative self-perception, and it is the negative expectation rather than the capability that is usually the primary problem. In therapy, you learn ways to step back so you can achieve a more balanced , positive and realistic perspective that will enable you to change your thinking, reduce your anxiety , and make life changes.
In couples therapy, you would learn communication, problem-solving and conflict resolution skills to improve your connection and deepen your relationship. We would work to strike the right balance between change and acceptance–changing what is changeable and accepting what is not– by building tolerance, compassion and empathy..