What is CBT therapy?

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treating mental health issues. Therapists have found it effective in treating a variety of conditions, including OCD, depression, anxiety and a variety of emotional and behavioural difficulties. CBT for teens has been found to be as effective as CBT for adults.

Are you looking for CBT therapy in Ontario? At FTPS, CBT therapy is frequently used by therapists. This is because CBT is a highly effective approach for mental health conditions and has been around for decades. It has years and years of research to support its effectiveness for psychological illnesses. 

CBT for teens, similar to adults, involves the therapist helping them to develop better coping strategies and techniques. When learning CBT therapy, the individual is learning skills to eventually become their own therapist. This means that they are able to challenge their thoughts and modify their behaviours in helpful ways.

Strategies that are part of CBT for teens and adults include:

  • Provide psychoeducation about the nature of anxiety and/or depression or trauma
  • Help individuals to learn to catch their automatic thoughts
  • Allow individuals to identify unhelpful thinking styles and how they impact their thoughts and feelings
  • Understand connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviours
  • Challenge anxious or negative automatic thoughts and learn to gather evidence for and against these thoughts 
  • Develop perspective from negative thinking styles
  • Understand core beliefs and how to shift them 
  • Decrease avoidance behaviours and learn to face our fears

Cognitive processing therapy is a particular type of CBT. It is offered by FTPS therapists for individuals experiencing symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma can alter how an individual views themselves, others and the world around them. Individuals might believe they are to blame for the traumatic event that occurred to them. They might also believe that the world is a dangerous place following trauma. These types of stuck points can prevent someone from fully processing the trauma and living a meaningful life. 

Cognitive processing therapy involves individuals learning to challenge their stuck points associated with their trauma. In doing so, one learns to view these stuck points from a different perspective. As in other types of CBT, you learn to gather evidence for and against the stuck points you have. In doing so, you are able to loosen the rigidity of these stuck points. As one’s thoughts about the trauma become less “sticky”, they are able to recognize different perspectives and enhance emotional processing of the trauma. 

Looking for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy near me? Look no further than FTPS! We provide CBT in Ontario and this can be accessed through our virtual services. We provide CBT for teens, psychotherapy for depression, treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder, psychotherapy for panic disorder, cognitive processing therapy for PTSD, treatment for skin picking and so much more!

What Symptoms are Important for Starting Therapy?

Individuals might experience a range of symptoms before they reach out for therapy. It can be helpful to know what symptoms are actually problematic and would require you to think about starting CBT therapy. As a general rule, we often consider symptoms to be worrisome when they begin to interfere in your ability to spend time with loved ones and friends, impact work/education and your day to day functioning. We also consider it to be a problem when your symptoms are clinically interfering. This means that you are not living the life that you want to live. Therapy can help in these situations. 

When people are experiencing an anxiety disorder they might experience any of a number of symptoms. It will also vary according to the type of anxiety disorder that someone is experiencing. For example, if someone was wanting treatment for social anxiety disorder they might be experiencing some of the following symptoms:

  • Excessive fear or anxiety regarding one or more types of social situations in which the individual could be judged by others. Examples would include social interactions (i.e.., speaking with new people, speaking with people in authority), being watched by others (i.e., eating or drinking) as well as performing in front of other people (i.e., giving speeches, public performances) 
  • Social situations always cause intense fear
  • Avoiding social situations or enduring them with excessive fear
  • Fear experienced would be considered out of proportion to what others would experience in the same situation
  • Above symptoms being experienced for at least 6 months or longer
  • Symptoms are clinically interfering and cause significant disruption in different areas of one’s life

If you are considering starting CBT therapy in Ontario for OCD, then you might be experiencing a whole different set of symptoms. Your symptoms might include:

  • Presence of obsessions and compulsions
  • Obsessions are persistent and recurrent thoughts, urges or impulses that are experienced as unwanted and intrusive. People often experience distress or anxiety when experiencing these thoughts
  • In response to these obsessions, you will engage in a compulsive behaviour to neutralize the thoughts and attempt to gain anxiety relief
  • Compulsions are repetitive behaviours, such as handwashing, checking, ordering as well as mental (i.e., internal) acts such as mental review, praying, counting or repeating words internally. Individuals will often feel compelled to perform these in response to their obsessions
  • Obsessions and compulsions are time-consuming, often taking up more than 1 hour per day 
  • Symptoms are clinically interfering and cause significant disruption in different areas of one’s life

Experiencing symptoms that are distressing is a good clue that you might want to start CBT therapy in Ontario. Looking for CBT near me? Look no further than FTPS. Read more to learn about how you can find a therapist that is the perfect match for what you are experiencing!

How Do I Prevent Negative Thinking?

People often want to know how they can stop their intrusive thoughts or prevent negative thoughts from entering their mind. The truth is, you really can’t! However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t feel better even when you might experience a negative thought.

When undergoing CBT for teens and adults, you will learn numerous strategies that can help you to challenge negative thinking patterns. We know that negative thoughts can often cause a shift in our mood. It can cause our mood to become lower, or we might experience more anxiety as a result of our thoughts. Therefore, we want to learn to gain perspective from our thoughts and shift negative thinking into more balanced thinking styles. 

Strategies during CBT for teens and adults that can help with negative thinking patterns are as follows:

  • Teaching individuals to identify unhelpful thinking styles and how they impact their thoughts and feelings
  • Learning the different types of unhelpful thinking styles that people often have
  • Understand connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviours
  • Challenge anxious or negative automatic thoughts and learn to gather evidence for and against these thoughts 
  • Learn the tool of the thought record which can help to challenge negative thinking styles
  • Develop perspective and space from negative thinking styles
  • Understand negative core beliefs and how to shift them 

All of these tools and strategies can help an individual to balance their negative thinking patterns. In doing so, one can then shift their mood and anxiety, change their behaviours and enhance their quality of life. 

How Do I Find a Therapist?

Are you looking for CBT therapy near me? If so, you want to make sure you find the best fit therapist! In order to do that, you might want to consider asking them about their training and approach. This would be true if you are searching for CBT for teens or for CBT therapy for adults. Some questions that you might want to consider asking when you meet your therapist:

  • Can you tell me about the training you have had with CBT for teens and adults?
  • What would your approach be to the problems I spoke to you about today?
  • Would we be setting goals in therapy?
  • Would I be learning skills that I can practice in between sessions?
  • How long might I expect therapy to last?

These are great questions. If you are seeking CBT therapy in Ontario, you should be asking these types of questions. You might be wondering what answers you should expect! You should ensure that your therapist has several years of training in CBT. This would be through education and supervised practice experience. They should be able to describe to you the basics of CBT skills and how they would apply that to the issues you are experiencing. Goal setting is very common in CBT. So you should ensure they are able to talk to you about their goals and how you can set them collaboratively in therapy. 

CBT often requires practice in between sessions. Why? Because it is impossible to learn everything when you meet with your therapist once per week or on a bi weekly basis. Therefore, practicing skills in between sessions will help you to become your own therapist! And this will help you to feel more confident when approaching difficulties that you are experiencing. 

The duration of therapy can be variable. You might want to explore things in greater detail and opt for more sessions to do this. You might only want 12-16 sessions in which you can learn and practice the skills and then cope on your own. You also might want to spread sessions out so you can practice more in between sessions. These are all possibilities and are best discussed in a collaborative way with your therapist.

How Do I Get Started?

Wanting Cognitive Behaviour Therapy near me? At FTPS, we offer CBT for teens and adults. Our services are provided by clinicians who have training and experience in this approach. Our adolescent services are delivered by our clinicians on our team who provide specialized adolescent therapy, given their training and background. 

If you are interested in learning more about our CBT services, please reach out to us at info@ftpsych.ca 

Contact us today! We would love to hear from you and help you move forward on the path to wellness.