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What is cognitive behavioral therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is common type of talk therapy undertaken with a view to identify negative thought patterns and behaviors and convert them into effective ways of dealing with situations. During a CBT session, a patient works closely with a mental health therapist in heavily structured sessions to talk about their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It can be used to manage not only mental illnesses and addiction disorders but can also be used to teach patients how to manage stressful life situations and implement better behavior patterns. 

A short-term based treatment modality, CBT can be administered in either one-on-one sessions or in group therapy sessions. It focuses on the problem at hand and requires active participation by the patient for effective outcomes, and has a shorter duration compared to other therapeutic modalities. 

How can CBT help teens?

A teenager’s outlook of the world influences their actions and reactions. It also impacts their daily activities, which might be constructive or negative. By understanding what leads to negative thoughts and behaviors, they can learn to modify their outlook and make their lives easier. CBT helps in the process of identifying and understanding a negative thought pattern and changing it effectively. The ability to learn how to control one’s thoughts and give them a direction amazes an adolescent profoundly, liberating them and motivating them to change. 

CBT is beneficial for teens suffering from addictions, mental health issues, and co-occurring disorders. It is often included as a part of a holistic and comprehensive treatment program for major disorders offered at Adeona Healthcare. CBT helps in the treatment of the following: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Phobias 
  • Aggression 
  • Depression 
  • Schizophrenia 
  • Sleep disorders 
  • Eating disorders 
  • Mood disorders 
  • Low self esteem 
  • Substance abuse 
  • Alcohol addiction 
  • Psychotic disorders  
  • Self-harm tendencies 
  • Obsessivecompulsive disorders (OCD) 

Some of the benefits of CBT include: 

  • Lowered anxiety levels 
  • Better control over fears 
  • Enhanced communication skills 
  • Enriched relationships with peers 
  • Improved symptoms of depression 
  • Boosted self-confidence and self-esteem 
  • Recovery assistance in addiction and substance abuse 
  • Identification and overcoming of negative thoughts and behaviors 

CBT can also be used to overcome emotional challenges which may help a patient in the following ways: 

  • Manage chronic pain 
  • Deal with grief and loss 
  • Alleviate the symptoms of a mental illness 
  • Manage the cravings experienced in an addiction 
  • Prevent a relapse of the mental disorder or addiction 
  • Overcome abuse and violence-related emotional trauma 
  • Teach the patient stress management skills and coping mechanisms 
  • Help the patient think about the need to communicate and conflict resolution 
  • Act as complimentary therapy option to make the medication plan more effective 

CBT is a broad term used to indicate a wide range of therapeutic interventions. Some of these interventions include cognitive therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, rational emotive behavior therapy, rational living therapy, and rational behavior therapy. However, the suitability of a therapy for a teen is decided by the therapist after a meticulous examination of the adolescent’s treatment requirements and medical history. A therapist may also suggest other therapeutic interventions to complement the CBT sessions. 

Characteristics of CBT

CBT differs according to the need to the patients and the type of therapy being offered. However, a few common characteristics prevail in all the different types of CBTs. These include: 

  • Focusing on rational thinking 
  • Working towards problem solving 
  • Providing clear direction to the patient 
  • Recognizing reality as opposed to emotions 
  • Building a strong patient-therapist relationship 
  • Focusing on utilization of structured therapy sessions 
  • Involving the patient by assigning tasks as homework between sessions 
  • Placing a time-based temporary intervention on the treatment from the beginning of therapy 
  • Accepting the principle that rational and emotional behaviors can be learned and unlearned 
  • Employing the stoic philosophy which emphasizes on the development of self-control to combat destructive emotions 
  • Using the Cognitive Model of Emotional Response which states that personal thoughts and beliefs lead to behaviors and feelings 
  • Using Socratic Method which aims at understanding patient requirements with the help of questioning and encouraging the patient to ask themselves relevant questions 

Who can benefit from CBT?

CBT is beneficial to all teenagers, however teens with certain characteristics gain more from the CBT sessions than others. Some of the characteristics of an ideal candidate are: 

  • The yearning to get better 
  • The capability to set longterm goals 
  • The ability to accept, digest, and implement changes in their life 
  • The skill to accept life’s problems and work towards solving them 
  • Patients with a healthy, stable, and supportive family background 
  • The willingness to participate in therapy and work towards recovery 
  • The ability to identify and analyze thoughts and the ability to discuss them 

While most teens do not exhibit these qualities when they enter a treatment program, they gradually develop them during treatment, making the program effective in helping the teen achieve lasting recovery. 

Steps in CBT

It is understandable that many teens might feel scared at the beginning of the rehabilitation process. Therefore, the first CBT session is important to break the ice and make the patient feel comfortable. During the first session, a therapist generally gathers information about the patient including their concerns, their past and present emotional health, and which areas they should focus on. This allows the therapist to understand the patient and their concerns and accordingly provide a direction to the sessions. 

CBT is basically divided into the following steps: 

  • Identification: This step is intended towards identifying and recognizing of the reasons that led to the development of the mental disorder or addiction. The reasons could include divorce of parents, death in the family, chronic illness, anger issues, etcThis step will help identify the triggers and decide the problem areas to focus on. 
  • Acceptance: After the identification of the problem area, the next step involves being aware of the problems, thoughts, and emotions attached with it. The therapist will observe what the patient shares about the experience, their perception of such incidents, thought patterns, etc., and then the patient might be encouraged to maintain a thought journal. 
  • Classification of negative thoughts and emotions: In this step, the patient is motivated to keep a close watch on their physical, behavioral, and emotional responses in various situations. This will help them recognize their behavioral and thought patterns. 
  • Conversion of negative into positive: During this step, the patients are encouraged to look at their current situation and reflect if it’s a result of wrong perception of the situation or is it due to facts. With help and practice, patients are gradually taught to change their thinking patterns which results in positive thinking. 

CBT sessions may prove to be difficult and emotional as it is draining for adolescents because the sessions are designed in such a way that a patient confronts their problem and wok towards a resolution. This may get emotionally unsettling, resulting in temporary anxiety and stress. However, an experienced therapist can easily and skillfully guide the patient, teaching them coping skillsand helping them face and overcome their fears and negative thoughts. 

How to gain maximum benefit from CBT

A CBT treatment program may include about five to twenty sessions. The length of the CBT sessions depends upon the mental disorder, its severity, the duration from when the symptoms manifested, support from family and friends, and the rate of progress. 

In order to achieve the maximum benefits from CBT, one can follow the steps mentioned below: 

  • Be honest about one’s problems. The success of a CBT program depends upon the patient’s willingness to discuss, confront, and deal with their thoughts, emotions, and feelings. 
  • Active participation is equally important. Tackling problems and situations together with the therapist helps in making CBT effective and setting goals and monitoring progress. 
  • Sticking to the original treatment plan is essential for recovery. One should strive to attend all the sessions even if they do not feel motivated to do so. Skipping a session hampers the progress and prolongs the treatment cycle. 
  • Results take time, and one needs to be patient. It is common to feel scared and lost initially, especially when you don’t see results. However, one will be able to see improvements after couple of sessions. 
  • In case the therapy is not working, one needs to inform their therapist immediately so they can modify the program to suit the patient’s requirements. 

Why chose Adeona Healthcare?

Being a teen requires compassion and care from loved ones. This is the reason why the experienced and certified staff at Adeona Healthcare ensures that each of our patients receive individualized care tailored to address their problems.  

Adeona Healthcare, the leading mental health and addiction treatment provider for teens aged 12-17, understands that each teen is special and unique in their own way. That is why, we offer a comprehensive treatment policy that includes not only peer group therapy but also amalgamates individual therapy, one-on-one therapy, family therapy, and other alternative therapies like yoga, exercise, and art therapy. Different combinations of therapies can help a teen gain control over their impulses, vent their feelings, and share their emotions and thoughts, thus allowing them to let go and accept themselves gradually. 

We use a teen-centric approach to provide comprehensive treatment programs for mental disorders, teen alcohol or drug addiction, behavioral issues, and dual diagnosis. In addition to therapeutic modalities like CBT, solution-focused therapy (SFT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), we also offer medication management and alternative therapies like yoga, exercising, art, and nutrition. 

For more information about how Adeona Healthcare can help your teen achieve lasting recovery and lead the happy and fulfilling life they deserve, call our 24/7 teen mental health and addiction treatment helpline 888-379-9360 and speak to a member from our admissions team. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance. 

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