Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy is one of the most widespread psychotherapies for the therapy of various psychopathological disorders, in particular anxiety and mood disorders.
HOW THE PATIENT EVALUATION TAKES PLACE: When starting a cognitive-behavioral therapy, the therapist asks to fill in some questionnaires that are used to evaluate the range of symptoms and problems. These tools assess depression, anxiety, anger, fears, physical ailments, personality and relationship style. The purpose of this evaluation is to acquire as much information as possible on how the patient is, so as to quickly understand what problems he or she does not have and how serious they are.
TREATMENT PLANNING: Patient and therapist work together to develop a therapeutic program. This includes the frequency of the meetings, the relevance of taking drugs or not: the diagnosis; the objectives; the acquisition of targeted skills; the changes that are required to change the way the patient thinks, behaves and communicates and other factors …
HOW A SESSION IS STRUCTURED: Some other types of therapy have an unstructured course of the session, while cognitive-behavioral therapy requires that at the beginning of each meeting the patient and therapist decide an agenda that contains what to do. This “agenda” may include reviewing what was said in previous sessions, homework, one or two contingent problems, a final review of what was learned in the current session, and homework for the next week. The aim is to solve problems and not just complain about them.
SELF-HELP TASKS: Exactly as required by a personal trainer at the gym, cognitive-behavioral therapy requires you to exercise even without a therapist. What is learned in therapy is what needs to be owned and become right outside of therapy.
Research has shown that patients who do homework given in sessions achieve results faster and keep them longer than those who don’t. Self-help tasks may include monitoring the progress of one’s mood, thoughts and behavior; the list of activities carried out; the collection of information; changing the way you communicate with others and other tasks.
OTHER POSSIBLE QUESTIONS…
DO MY PROBLEMS COME FROM MY CHILDHOOD?
Some of the problems one feels they have may be due to their parents, siblings and peers with whom they interacted but the solution to the problems lies in what you are thinking and doing today.
However, with many of the problems it may seem useful at some point to review their root cause so as to understand how to change the way people currently think about them.
ARE MY PROBLEMS DUE TO BIOCHEMICAL FACTORS?
Some of the problems that one feels may be due to bio-chemical factors but many other factors, such as the way one thinks, behaves, other things related to these elements, as well as past and current events, are important. . The use of cognitive behavioral therapy does not exclude the use of drugs. For many psychiatric disorders there is considerable evidence that this type of therapy is as effective as drug therapy. For very serious levels of depression and anxiety, it is however considered appropriate to associate psychotherapy with drug therapy. An advantage of the cognitive-behavioral approach lies in the fact that the patient learns to solve his own problems on his own.
HOW DO I UNDERSTAND THAT I AM IMPROVING?
Patient and therapist together identify specific goals at the start of therapy, and these goals can be changed along the way. Thus, the patient can assess whether he is feeling less depressed, less anxious, less angry. The patient can feel free to give feedback to the therapist regarding his or her progress. Such feedback is useful for conceptualizing what is working and what is not.
This article is from:
“Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders” by Robert L.Leahy and Stephen J. Holland. Copyright 2000 by Robert L. Leahy and Stephen J. Holland. Trad. It. Gaia Vicenzi