My Approach & Theoretical Orientation
There are certainly no shortage of mental health professionals from which a potential client might choose to seek help. Research suggests that there are a number of factors that appear to consistently impact the degree to which therapy can be successful. Of these factors, a significant commonality that seems to cut through most individual characteristics of either the client or therapist is what is known as the therapeutic relationship. That is, when all is said and done, the client's reported perception and experience of the quality of the client-therapist relationship is one of the most significant predictors of overall client outcome. Therefore, when choosing a therapist to deliver counseling and psychotherapy, it is critical that you seek someone with whom you feel you can build a respectful and trusting relationship.
When choosing a counselor or psychotherapist, remember that you are choosing someone with whom you are entrusting your mental health and overall well-being. Therefore, it is also important that you seek a mental health professional who is able and willing to dedicate their practice to providing therapeutic treatments that have been established by strong foundations in psychological theory and established and proven through scientific research. Therapy treatments that fit these criteria, and have been developed for a specific issue using a specific treatment, are known as "empirically supported treatments". This is exactly what you will receive at Prisma. While an eclectic approach is adhered to at Prisma, a heavy focus on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is employed when designing individualized treatment plans.
WHAT IS COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT)?
Cognitive behavior therapy is one of the few forms of psychotherapy that has been scientifically tested and found to be effective in hundreds of clinical trials for many different disorders. In contrast to other forms of psychotherapy, cognitive therapy is usually more focused on the present, more limited in duration, and more problem-solving oriented. In addition, patients learn specific skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. These skills involve identifying distorted thinking, modifying beliefs, relating to others in different ways, and changing behaviors.
WHAT IS THE THEORY BEHIND COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT)?
Cognitive behavior therapy is based on the cognitive model: the way we perceive, interpret, process, and/or feel we understand and experience situations (i.e., our thoughts); influences how we feel emotionally. How we feel emotionally (i.e., moods) subsequently influences our behaviors. For example, one person reading this website might think, “Wow! This sounds good, it’s just what I’ve always been looking for!” and feels happy and comforted. Another person reading this information might think, “Well, this sounds good but I don’t think I can do it.” This person feels sad and discouraged. This simplistic example shows us that a given situation itself does NOT actually determine how we feel emotionally in response to the situation/event. Rather, our thoughts in and about that situation affect our resulting emotions/moods. When people are in distress, their perspective is often inaccurate (i.e., distorted) when tested by evidence in reality, and their resulting thoughts may therefore be based on inaccurate cognitive processing or otherwise unrealistic. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps people identify their distressing thoughts and evaluate how realistic the thoughts are. Then they learn to change their distorted thinking. When they think more realistically, they feel better. The emphasis is also consistently on solving problems and initiating behavioral changes.
WHAT ARE ESSENTIALS COMPONENTS OF COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT)?
Cognitive behavioral therapists use a different formulation for each disorder or mental health related issue. This issue-based, adaptable formulation conceptualizes the individual patient, whom is an essential component to developing a strong therapeutic relationship, setting goals, planning treatment, and selecting interventions. Building trust and rapport with patients from the moment of initial contact, demonstrating accurate empathy, sharing the conceptualization with the client (and making sure it “rings true” for the client), and collaborating are also essential. Another important part of every therapy session is helping clients identify and respond to inaccurate or unhelpful ideas. The basic question to ask when a client is reporting a distressing situation, emotion, or dysfunctional behavior is: “What is going through your mind right now? and, What was the situation, and what thoughts were going through your mind right when the distressing emotion(s)/mood(s) were felt? ” Once we help clients identify their dysfunctional thinking, we can help them gain more adaptive and accurate perspectives, especially by helping them examine the validity and usefulness of their thoughts based on actual evidence rather than cognitive distortions. We also help them design behavioral experiments to test the accuracy of their predictions via in vivo exercises.
HOW DOES COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT) HELP IN THE LONG RUN WHEN COMPARED TO OTHER TREATMENTS?
At each therapy session, we work together to specify the problems you have encountered during the week or that you expect to encounter in the current week. Then real-life data is collected from you to identify the ideas and behaviors that have interfered with your ability to solve distressing problems/issues on your own. This process gets clients engaged in deciding where to start working. Together, we develop an “action plan” or homework for clients (to do during the week) to implement solutions to problems or to make changes in their thinking (cognitions) and actions (behaviors). Through this process, clients can begin to recognize that the way to get better is to make small changes in how they think and what they do every day. When treatment ends, clients are able to use the very same skills and tools they have learned in therapy as they realize that the skills can be adapted and translated to their day-to-day lives. CBT Explanations Adadpted from the Beck Institute
Jeremy A. Montemarano, M.A., LPC
Meet The Man Behind Prisma
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