Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a psychological treatment based on a scientific method, wherein strategies supported by research studies are used. These are generally brief therapies, which are focused on specific issues that the patient brings to the consultation. Though the past is taken into account, the focus of the treatment is on the present. A highly trained Cognitive Behavioral Therapy therapist in techniques for stress and anxiety plays a very active role, unlike what happens in traditional therapies.
As for the tools, the diagnosis is made as in the field of medicine, i.e., the patient’s problem is classified and given a name. In addition, the relevant data and the family history are investigated, i.e., the personal resources that the patient has, the social environment in which he moves, and the level of impact of the problem on his or her quality of life.
During the first sessions, questionnaires and measurement scales are administered, and certain useful parameters are measured to add data or confirm the diagnosis. The questionnaire is very practical to evaluate how each patient arrives at treatment and to measure their progress. The expert can evaluate the degree of stress at the beginning, the stress to which the patient has been exposed in a certain period, current anxiety levels, worries, overall behaviors, anger, depression, among others.
From this set of data, a suitable Cognitive Behavioral Therapy treatment plan is devised, and the objectives to be achieved are established. If the reason for the consultation is fatigue, insomnia, and reluctance, the objectives will be related to the recovery of energy, motivation, rest, and pleasure.
During the treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy experts work with behavioral and cognitive techniques related to the thoughts and beliefs that the patient has. The patient is trained in the identification, confrontation, and modification of thoughts and identification of emotions and their influence on the interpretations that each one makes of events, conflicts, or bodily sensations, and time.
Another important section of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is psychoeducation. In this section, complete information is provided on the nature of anxiety and its manifestations. Anxiety control tools are practiced, such as breathing and relaxation techniques. In addition, various resources are employed to strengthen the therapeutic relationship, like trust, commitment, and motivation.
Sessions vary with respect to the treatment in question and the need of the patient at the time. The style of the interviews can range from a fixed and structured format to a totally spontaneous and improvised one in case the problem to be addressed demand it.
In addition to communication, written records of the patient, readings of related material, analysis of videos, books, and other resources take place.
Once the proposed objectives have been achieved, and the patient already knows and satisfactorily handles the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy strategies to resolve their conflicts, the last stage is passed, which is called a follow-up.
In the follow-up, the management of everyday stressors and the prevention of relapses are worked on. Moreover, in the face of new conflicts that arise, the incorporated resources are evaluated and perfected. In this phase, sessions are usually spaced. The frequency stops being weekly to be fortnightly and then monthly as needed.