Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that treats problems and boosts happiness by modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. Unlike traditional Freudianpsychoanalysis, which probes childhood wounds to get at the root causes of conflict, CBT focuses on solutions, encouraging patients to challenge distorted cognitions and change destructive patterns of behavior.
CBT rests on the idea that thoughts and perceptions influence behavior. Feeling distressed, in some cases, may distort one’s perception of reality. CBT aims to identify harmful thoughts, assess whether they are an accurate depiction of reality, and if they are not, employ strategies to challenge and overcome them.
CBT is appropriate for people of all ages, including children, adolescents, and adults. Evidence has mounted that CBT can benefit numerous conditions, such as major depressive disorder, anxietydisorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and many others. Research also indicates that CBT can be delivered effectively online, in addition to face-to-face therapy sessions.
Dialectical Behavior therapy (DBT)
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) provides clients with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships. DBT specifically focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four key areas. First, mindfulness focuses on improving an individual's ability to accept and be present in the current moment. Second, distress tolerance is geared toward increasing a person’s tolerance of negative emotion, rather than trying to escape from it. Third, emotion regulation covers strategies to manage and change intense emotions that are causing problems in a person’s life. Fourth, interpersonal effectiveness consists of techniques that allow a person to communicate with others in a way that is assertive, maintains self-respect, and strengthens relationships.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
EMDR is a unique, nontraditional form of psychotherapy designed to diminish negative feelings associated with memories of traumatic events. Unlike most forms of talk therapy, EMDR focuses less on the traumatic event itself and more on the disturbing emotions and symptoms that result from the event. Treatment includes a hand motion technique used by the therapist to guide the client’s eye movements from side to side, similar to watching a pendulum swing. EMDR is a controversial intervention, because it is unclear exactly how it works, with some psychologists claiming it does not work. Some studies have shown, however, that EMDR is effective for treating certain mental-health conditions.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Therapy (MBSR)
Mindfulness is Buddhist practice adapted to mental health purposes. The essence of mindfulness practice is focusing on one thing in the moment–each breath you take, each step as you walk, the sights or sounds around you.
Elisha Goldstein, PhD writes about and teaches mindfulness, particularly an approach called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), captured in his recently published A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, co-authored with Bob Stahl. He talked to me via email about what Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is and how it helps:
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a formal eight-week program with a daylong intensive that was created by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979 and has now been adapted to a workbook format to support people in doing this work. This program is in over 250 hospitals around the country and many more around the world supporting people with stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, alleviating stress related to medical conditions and much more.