That question comes up a lot for many therapists. The short answer may be “yes,” but the more accurate answer may be “it depends.” Sometimes I ask if the prospective client knows what CBT is? Do they know that it stands for Cognitive Behavior Therapy? Most have just heard of it or have been told by a friend or healthcare provider to find a CBT counselor.
Many counselors perform CBT differently. Some focus on an activating event, what behaviors followed, the resulting consequences, and how to change those behaviors for the better (A-B-C method). Some focus more on changing automatic thoughts and others on changing behaviors. Some are purists, and some use adaptations of CBT.
Does my practice use CBT? Sometimes. In fact, most of the time. Our brand of CBT usually focuses on changing unhelpful and unrealistic automatic thoughts into more realistic thinking patterns. But it’s often integrated with other techniques or applied in part as mindfulness-based CBT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), or Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).
The answer is more complicated than a simple “yes.” Some may find it helpful to take the parts of CBT that work best for the client. More advanced practitioners may also integrate other techniques and approaches. There is a lot of evidence to support the effectiveness of CBT. There is also evidence that it is most effective when there is a healthy therapeutic client-counselor relationship.
CBT may also not be suitable for everybody. Not every client is wired for recognizing their thought patterns. CBT cannot always be used alone. A clinician should research whether the client’s cultural background makes them a good fit for CBT or something else has been shown to work better. If your client isn’t catching on, perhaps it is time to try something different. Caution should be provided to avoid applying CBT blindly. It can be part of a comprehensive and collaborative treatment plan that can change over time.
Does my practice use CBT? I can answer yes, but the honest answer is that “it depends.”
Aaron Engel is a professional counselor in Columbus, OH. He works primarily with couples and individuals wanting help with depression, anxiety, and career concerns. As a private practice owner, Aaron strives to provide excellent care with every aspect of the counseling experience. Learn more about him and the services he provides at https://cardinalpointcounseling.com