What Is CBT?
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a very structured intervention that examines the relationship between our emotions (feelings), thoughts (our perception about what is happening) and our corresponding behaviors (how we act). In CBT one first learns how to identify each of these components in everyday situations in life. Next, the individual works on understanding how the relationship between our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors is related to problematic thinking styles and patterns of behavior that create specific feelings such as being very anxious or depressed. Coping strategies are then developed and may include relaxation techniques and challenging disruptive thought patterns, by learning how to shift these into more helpful thought patterns. This is not simply making negative thoughts into positive ones but is achieved by changing negative or unrealistic thinking patterns into realistic thoughts.
CBT is a problem-solving therapeutic approach that is typically attended weekly. There is a psychoeducational component, where one learns about emotions, thoughts, and behaviors and how each is related. Next, there is a practice of each component and finally, homework. The purpose of homework is that the individual has the opportunity to practice learned concepts and put them into action. Each week, homework is reviewed and new concepts/strategies are introduced. This is a highly structured type of therapy, with excellent treatment outcomes when used to treat anxiety and mood disorders.
What Is Exposure Response Prevention Therapy (ERP)?
Exposure Response Prevention Therapy or ERP is often used in conjunction with CBT and is a critical part of certain interventions with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Phobias.
ERP is that part of therapy where you have to face your fear. The most important part of getting over a fear is to go through the fear. Avoidance actually leads to an increase in fears. However, while an initial exposure to a fear will increase one’s anxiety, staying with the fear allows a person to become accustomed to that fear and the anxiety eventually goes away.
There are a variety of ways to develop exposure tasks, depending upon the problem being addressed. It is usual to begin with a hierarchy and then move through different stages of things that a person is fearful of until they tackle all of their fears. This type of therapy is very effective, especially when combined with CBT.
We at Reframe Psychology Clinic have extensive experience in CBT and ERP. Our clinicians have clinical, research, and supervisory backgrounds in these intervention techniques. We are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding these treatment modalities.
What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an evidence-based treatment that is continuously being shown to be effective in treating anxiety disorders, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other stress disorders. ACT is founded on the understanding that limited functioning and psychological pain arises when people try to avoid experiences that are uncomfortable. Rather than accepting what they experience and living their lives based on their values, people live to avoid these uncomfortable internal experiences. This leads to rumination, anxiety, depression, avoidance, and other unhealthy coping actions. In ACT, people learn to change their relationship to uncomfortable internal experiences such as bodily sensations, feelings, thoughts, and memories. By using CBT techniques as well as ACT specific techniques, such as diffusion, acceptance, mindfulness, commitment reinforcement, and value-driven actions, people reduce their distress and improve their overall functioning.