If I walked into a room full of therapists today and told them that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be I’m sure I’d get some dirty looks. Yet, it is true. CBT isn’t always effective. I think as a consumer it is important that you understand the good and bad sides of therapy. So today I want to share with you what can make CBT ineffective. Before I do that though I want to make it clear that CBT does help many people. In fact, the reason it is so widely used is because, unlike so many other of forms of therapy, it has been studied and validated over several years. My concern is that because it has garnered such a golden reputation that perhaps some folks aren’t as critical as they should be when considering a course of CBT.
So, let’s review what CBT is. In short, it is a brief form of therapy that focuses on identifying and altering distorted thoughts and behaviors. The therapist acts as a teacher slash coach and walks their client through a series of exercises that are designed to clearly define the problem, develop alternatives to the problem, and encourages the client to develop new skills by completing homework outside of therapy sessions. To learn more about CBT explore this article.
I actually like CBT quite a bit. I think it is a fantastic starting point. I very much like the idea of addressing specific problems within a certain time limit. That said, CBT can be a little shallow. There are also other problems including:
- The effects of CBT often do not last more than two years
- Many therapists are not properly trained to do CBT
- The traditional course of CBT is often too short
- One size fits all solutions don’t fit everyone
- Clients often struggle with completing homework
- CBT does not emphasize the therapeutic alliance
- CBT addresses problems but not the whole person
I’m sure there are other problems associated with this kind of therapy but these were a few of the more important issues. I’m highlighting these points because I’d like for consumers of therapy to go in with their eyes wide open. I want them to know the limitations of CBT and how to counter some of these issues.
So, listen now.
In this episode of The Anxiety Guru Show you’ll hear about:
- Why CBT isn’t always effective
- What you can do to get the most out of any therapy
- Details about my efforts to build a private practice
- Answers to listener emails
- The free anxiety app: Anxiety by Hypnomedia
To listen, you can click the play button below or visit the AG iTunes page.