Evidence-Based Treatments and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Most likely, you are seeking therapy because you or someone in your family is suffering. It is important that you understand the range of mental health services available and make an informed decision about what is in your best interest. Here are some things you should know:
1) Like all professions, there is a wide range of quality in mental health treatment. Many approaches to therapy are scientifically questionable or simply ineffective. Evidence-based treatments have been shown through scientific studies to help with specific mental health issues. The best evidence comes from randomized controlled trials, in which a treatment is compared to control conditions or alternative treatments. Therapy costs money and time. At Annville Psychological Services, we believe all clients deserve mental health treatment that has a proven track record. Excellent resources to learn about evidence-based treatments for specific problems can be found here for adults and here for children.
2) Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has the largest overall body of research evidence supporting its use for depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, autism spectrum disorders, and many other emotional and behavioral issues. CBT works by identifying and changing unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaving. We work with clients to break the cycle of negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
3) CBT is a short-term, present-focused treatment. Typically, clients attend 5-15 sessions, and experience significant improvement. It is not designed as "just someone to talk to" therapy, but instead focuses on active construction of new skills.
4) CBT is not simply a set of tools that can be tossed in with an "eclectic" approach. Rather, CBT is a comprehensive treatment model that includes an initial treatment plan, specific structure to sessions, a "personal scientist" model of thinking, and planned between-session practice.
5) CBT is not a passive process. It requires your commitment to change and your active participation in practicing skills between sessions.
6) CBT can be used in conjunction with medication prescribed by your physician. CBT has been shown to be about equal in symptom relief to medications for some disorders (with fewer side effects, of course!), and better than medications for other disorders. In addition, CBT decreases the chance of relapse of symptoms over time, and may allow people to rely less on medication to treat their symptoms. However, please let both your therapist and your physician coordinate your care so we can be sure to work together toward optimal treatment.