Spotlight

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a short-term, problem-focused form of behavioral treatment that helps people see the relationship between beliefs, thoughts, and feelings, and subsequent behavior, patterns and actions. Through CBT, people learn that their perceptions directly influence their responses to specific situations. In other words, a person’s thought process informs his or her behaviors and actions.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works

Cognitive behavioral therapy is grounded in the belief that it is a person’s perception of events—rather than the events themselves—that determines how he or she will feel and act. For example, if a person with anxiety strongly believes that “everyone is judging me,” then these negative thoughts may influence him or her to focus only on the perceived negative things that may happen while blocking out or completely avoiding thoughts or actions that may disprove that negative belief system. Afterward, when nothing appears to go right in the day, the person may feel even more anxious than before, the negative belief system may be strengthened, and the person is at risk of being trapped in a vicious, continuous cycle of negativity and anxiety.

By adjusting our thoughts, we can directly influence our emotions and behavior. This adjustment process is referred to as cognitive restructuring. it is widely believed that that a person’s thinking pattern may become established in childhood and that certain cognitive errors could lead to dysfunctional assumptions.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is an empirically validated psychotherapy approach. It is a unique, nontraditional form of psychotherapy designed to diminish negative feelings associated with memories of traumatic events. Unlike most forms of talk therapy, EMDR focuses less on the traumatic event itself and more on the disturbing emotions and symptoms that result from the event. Treatment includes a hand motion technique used by the therapist to guide the client’s eye movements from side to side, similar to watching a pendulum swing. In some cases, other forms of bilateral stimulation, such as sounds, or tapping, can be used.


Clinical applications of EMDR include a wide variety of psychological problems affecting patients and family members, as well as stress-induced physical disorders and medically unexplained symptoms.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based treatment that addresses ambivalence to change. MI is a conversational approach designed to help people with the following:
  • Discover their own interest in considering and/or making a change in their life (e.g., diet, exercise, managing symptoms of physical or mental illness, reducing and eliminating the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs)
  • Express in their own words their desire for change (i.e., "change-talk")
  • Examine their ambivalence about the change
  • Plan for and begin the process of change
  • Elicit and strengthen change-talk
  • Enhance their confidence in taking action and noticing that even small, incremental changes are important
  • Strengthen their commitment to change


Motivational Interviewing's core principles include expressing empathy for the client, developing and supporting discrepancy between desired goals and behaviors, managing resistance, supporting self-efficacy and demonstrating autonomy. throughout treatment, clients learn to understand that the power for them to change comes from within. Clients are ultimately responsible for changing their behavior.

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