Menu Close

Journey to a Healthy Future

What to Expect in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

a group discusses cognitive behavioral therapy expectations

When starting a new therapy program, it’s good to have a clear set of expectations. The expectations brought to therapy can do a great deal to help guide each session, bringing clients closer to the results they hope to see. But sometimes, the expectations brought to therapy can be a little out of touch with what can realistically be accomplished during treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the medical field’s most popular forms of therapy treatment, known for the speed through which clients see results and its unique therapeutic approach. So, how does one balance cognitive-behavioral therapy expectations? New Horizons Recovery provides support in Chester County, Pennsylvania cognitive-behavioral therapy programs. Call 267.435.3134 for more information.

What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

CBT is a treatment that delves into the interactions between a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior. CBT theorizes that these three cerebral characteristics are in a constant state of interaction. It’s not hard to imagine how a person’s emotions may affect their behavior. Still, CBT goes deeper than that by analyzing behavioral and thought patterns, which may cause undue stress for the client. Harmful thoughts and irrational beliefs can cause significant damage to a person’s self-image, which is likely to lower self-esteem.

The therapy finds its origins in the early 20th century and combines the therapeutic approaches of cognitive and behavioral therapy. Cognitive therapy works to help clients develop a clear idea of their thoughts, expectations, and feelings and tries to eliminate harmful thought patterns that cause clients to draw negative conclusions or catastrophize a situation. Behavioral therapy works differently and believes all human behaviors are learned and can be unlearned. The goal of behavioral therapy is to identify behavioral patterns that can be harmful and then work to change and replace those behavioral habits with healthier ones.

What to Expect from Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Whereas other forms of therapy emphasize analyzing past events or discussing someone’s personal history, CBT focuses on the here and now by asking clients to examine their emotions in real time. While CBT therapists may use activities and exercises during treatment, most clients spend time talking with their therapists. Depending on the client’s needs, CBT therapists may choose a more cognitive than behavioral approach or vice versa. Someone who demonstrates healthy behaviors but exhibits negative thought patterns is likely to receive a more cognitive-heavy treatment. In contrast, someone who shows negative behaviors but displays healthy thought patterns will require treatment that focuses on changing those negative behaviors. Many mental health disorders can be helped by CBT, some of which include:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Substance use disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Sleep disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

While CBT has been shown to positively affect the mental health issues listed above, it can also be a great way to deal with the stress or trauma that comes with everyday life. Whether someone is enduring the death of a loved one or is experiencing heartbreak, CBT can help anyone who wants to understand better how their thoughts and feelings affect their behavior.

How to Balance CBT Expectations

Before entering any treatment, it’s good practice to outline expectations. If someone is starting CBT treatment, they’re likely doing so to change negative thought and behavioral-based patterns. Setting cognitive-behavioral therapy expectations can help identify which behaviors an individual wants to change and how they want them to change. Developing expectations allows clients and therapists to establish clear, reachable goals that the two can work towards as a team. While much of this work will be done in the session, identifying the expectations one wants out of therapy is a great way to monitor progress and stay motivated throughout treatment.

Quality CBT in Chester County, Pennsylvania at New Horizons Recovery

Setting cognitive-behavioral therapy expectations can be challenging for someone who doesn’t know what CBT is. While the internet offers a multitude of sources on the subject, talking to a specialist before entering treatment can do a great deal of good.

At New Horizons Recovery, we welcome any questions about our new facility and curriculum. We understand how nerve-racking entering therapy can be and are happy to work with clients as they identify and set their expectations for treatment. For more information on CBT or to schedule an appointment today, contact us at 267.435.3134.