CBT+ at Tribeca Therapy: More than tools
At Tribeca Therapy, we frequently use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques. All of our therapists are required to have a fluency with cognitive behavioral techniques and some have very advanced training. In our practice, we see CBT as a tool–a good one. It’s an excellent tool for providing acute relief for panic attacks, for example.
A mechanical understanding of therapy might see it, broadly speaking, as the use of a set of tools, just as one might observe the work of a master carpenter and understand the value as being in the tools. After all, great carpenters must also have great tools. As experienced therapists, we’ve accumulated many tools over the years, including, but not limited to, CBT. The art, though, is knowing how to use these tools.
What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
CBT is a fairly broad descriptive, ultimately encompassing a collection of more specific terms. The term cognitive behavioral therapy references a combination of two previously established forms of treatment–cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. CBT has become a catchall term for nearly all treatments considered to be cognitive interventions, behavioral interventions or both.
If treatments encompassing cognition (thoughts) and behaviors seem broad, that’s because they are. To demystify these interventions a bit, an example of a cognitive intervention might be coming up with healthier thoughts that you might make a habit of thinking after recognizing that you berate yourself when your boss assigns a project to your colleague rather than you. Behavioral interventions include introducing habits of self-care to help a heavily depressed person begin to get unstuck, recommending a couple only discuss a hot-button issue in a given room or at a certain time of the week to reduce the frequency of escalating fights, or using an incentive chart to reward a child’s use of calming techniques. And finally, helping a teen recognize conditions that can trigger feelings of self-doubt that have led to cutting and identifying a list of coping behaviors that can be used as alternatives is an instance of cognitive behavioral pairing.
Great Artisans (And Great CBT Therapists) Make Their Own Tools
CBT is essentially a set of principles. These have been laid out in countless books–books about CBT and parenting a stubborn child, books about managing panic attacks in the workplace with CBT, books on CBT for better sleep habits or quitting smoking, etc. At some point, it becomes easy to recognize the set of core principles in these interventions.
As therapists who use CBT techniques, as well as other tools–a combination we like to call CBT+, we recognize that we are going to have a better shot at helping an individual patient if we can piece together tools that are predicated on our history and relationship with that patient. In relational therapy–therapy where a patient’s history is made room for, for example, there is more of an understanding of the patient in this process. This way, we are better able to make tools to custom-fit each individual.
Not Only Do We Custom-Make Tools, We Help You Make Your Own With CBT+
In our practice, we go a step further than just custom-making tools for you. In CBT+, once we’ve applied the basics and fashioned a set of tools that are designed for you, we help you make your own tools in partnership with us in the therapy room. We know our patients are bright people and can master CBT techniques, at least at a basic level of fluency, fairly easily. We often teach patients CBT strategies, as well as help them understand the underlying methodology so they can apply them on their own.
We invest in patients as tool-makers themselves, developing the skills to apply CBT, as well as other tool-based methodologies, to any element of their lives. We’ve seen patients apply these tools when an unexpected emotional challenge has come up when traveling or at work. We’ve seen them adapt CBT+ strategies to their teams at work, share them with family members and make use of them to develop a framework for how they want to raise children. We’ve also helped patients be more resilient in the face of unexpected trauma or loss. Patients can take the tools of CBT with them, as well as the skills of building new emotional tools, anywhere and everywhere for the rest of their lives.