How does it work?
If this is your first experience of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), it can be useful to know a little bit more about what to expect. CBT is a form of psychotherapy that helps to treat a wide variety of mental disorders and can help to change harmful patterns in your behavior and make better decisions in the future.
Characteristic of behavioral therapy is its structured process. In my therapy work, I particularly follow the self-management approach of Frederick Kanfer, Hans Reinecker and Dieter Schmelzer, which provides a framework for the treatment process. In this approach the focus lies in motivating and empowering the patient to solve certain problems as actively and independently as possible.
However, the therapy is definitely not rigid or restricted to one specific structure. The therapy you will receive is designed by me according to your individual needs and circumstances. In fact, psychotherapy research has shown that CBT has a very high degree of individualization compared to other therapies.
Most people who come to therapy have their lives under control in many ways. I want to help them to make new decisions and try to find different ways to deal with the issues that are currently bothering them. CBT is about helping people help themselves!
A psychotherapeutic dialogue differs from an everyday conversation. In my role as a therapist I ask you questions, help you solve problems, make suggestions, and direct our conversation to the relevant content.
Below is a step-by-step breakdown of the general therapy procedure I follow:
- In the initial phase of the therapy I ask you to tell about yourself, about your social context and your problems – without neglecting experiences in childhood and adolescence. One of my concerns in this initial phase is the fostering of a trusting client-therapist relationship. This is an important factor in the success of psychotherapy.
- In the next phase, we will jointly select your most urgent problems (problem screening), with the aim of analyzing and overcoming them in the course of the therapy.
- Following that, in the behavioral analysis stage, we analyze the current, concrete situations that trigger the problems in you and the factors that sustain them. The focus in this phase is in the here and now.
- Subsequently, we clarify and agree on realistic therapeutic goals for the therapy and we select the treatment methods and carry them out as the therapy progresses.
- In the final phase, we evaluate the progress of the therapy and promote the transfer of it into everyday life.
Important characteristics of psychotherapy
The therapy room is a safe space. Any information shared is confidential and it is not my task to suggest you follow a specific lifestyle. Our modern society is composed of many different political and religious opinions that I respect.
CBT has a well-defined purpose which is to reduce mental suffering and in the best case to completely overcome such suffering and to increase a person’s well-being and quality of life.
The therapy is suitable for people of all ages.
You should be aware that therapy can be an exhausting, emotional process which requires courage on the part of the patient. However, the courage to reach for better self-knowledge ultimately brings much joy to the clients (and for me as a therapist).
How long does it take?
The therapy sessions last 50 minutes.
At the beginning, therapy usually takes place once a week. In the course of treatment, therapy sessions can be planned with longer intervals in between.
The total duration of the therapy depends on the problem and the individual course of therapy. The average treatment course is less than 6 months. Sometimes it takes a little longer, but problems can be treated very well even in an hour.