Close up image of psychotherapist taking notes during the cognitive behavioral therapy session.Several treatment options are available if you’re among the 30% of American adults battling anxiety disorders. Traditional therapy sessions to talk about the root causes of your anxiety work for some people, especially when combined with prescribed medication.

Here, you’ll learn about another proven treatment for anxiety disorders and other mental health conditions in Arizona: cognitive behavioral therapy.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Phoenix, Arizona, Works

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy used to treat various mental health problems. This therapy, which also informs commitment therapy, is powerful because it focuses on helping people identify their negative emotions, thoughts and behaviors and see how those toxic patterns affect their daily lives. Once these negative emotions are identified, cognitive behavioral therapy teaches people to challenge these thoughts and change the destructive pattern of negativity.

The idea behind cognitive behavioral therapy is that internal thoughts or perceptions can influence your feelings and actions. By changing negative perceptions to constructive ones, CBT helps to create new, positive behaviors that allow you to live a healthier, fuller life.

How Long Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Take to Work?

The time it takes to see results from cognitive behavioral therapy varies from person to person. Most people generally need 12 to 20 weeks of sessions to see noticeable progress. Others may see progress a little faster, while some may take longer to see results.

It can be frustrating when you don’t see immediate progress from your cognitive behavioral therapy sessions. But remember, you’re undoing years (or a lifetime) of negative thought patterns. Of course, it takes time to rewire your thought processes, but the time invested is more than worth it in the long run.


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Is CBT an Effective Treatment?

Yes, cognitive behavioral therapy in Phoenix, Arizona, is an effective treatment option for several mental health issues. It’s also one of the most well-researched treatment protocols, with a long history of success in treating depression, panic attacks, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and generally unhelpful thoughts. CBT can also help treat drug addiction or alcohol abuse.

What Can I Expect in CBT?

During your cognitive behavioral therapy sessions, you can expect to work with your mental health professional for 30 to 60 minutes at a time. Your initial therapy plan may include upwards of five sessions, depending on the issues you hope to treat. For example, someone with minor generalized anxiety will need fewer sessions than someone with severe debilitating PTSD.

During each session, you’ll work to identify and then challenge your negative thought patterns. Your counselor will teach you to develop greater self-awareness, and you’ll also be taught strategies to help when negative thoughts or perceptions pop back into your head. Additionally, you may receive recommendations on reducing or managing stress, as stress is often a root cause of many anxiety disorders.

Adult male undergoing CBT treatment.

Your First Therapy Session

During your first cognitive behavioral therapy session, you can expect to:

  • Learn more about your therapist
  • Discuss your specific issue
  • Give a brief history of the negative thoughts and perceptions you’ve already noticed
  • Talk about whether you’ve ever been diagnosed with a mental health condition
  • Discuss any past trauma or addiction you’ve had

Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy provides numerous benefits. A few of the most common benefits are discussed in greater detail below.

Identify Negative Emotions

It’s not always easy to understand your feelings or emotions. For example, you may feel overwhelmed or out of touch with reality. Sometimes, these feelings stem from ongoing anxiety, depression or stress. People with past traumas or addictive lifestyles are especially prone to having difficulty labeling their emotions.

When you can’t identify your negative emotions, they have a strong hold on you. Without understanding, you can’t accurately challenge or change anything. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help change that, giving you back power over your thoughts, emotions and behavior. CBT helps you develop the skills to overcome unhelpful thoughts and focus your thinking positively and productively.

Address Serious Mental Health Conditions

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help manage serious mental health conditions that can significantly impact your quality of life. A few examples of serious mental health problems CBT helps with are:

  • Specific phobias
  • Schizophrenia
  • Insomnia
  • Alcohol or drug dependence
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Psychosis

Understand How Past Events Shape Reality

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a problem-oriented strategy that primarily focuses on the present. But an important aspect of CBT is learning how past events you experienced can help shape your current reality. This is an especially crucial concept for those struggling with ongoing negative thoughts because of past trauma.

An example might be someone with negative thoughts from a past domestic abuse relationship. During this unhealthy relationship, the person may have consistently been told they were worthless or couldn’t do anything right. Many years after escaping the abuse, this person may still talk to themselves in this negative way, even if only internally.

Knowledge is power, and cognitive behavioral therapy uses knowledge about yourself and your mental habits to empower you. Understanding that negative self-talk stems from an external source lets you challenge those discouraging thoughts. Such thoughts are no longer, “Why can’t I do anything right?” Instead, they become, “I’m not worthless even though so-and-so said I was.”

Young lady after accepting behavior and overcoming addiction.

Accept Behaviors

One of the foundations of cognitive behavioral therapy is acceptance of yourself as a fallible human being. Of course, everyone makes mistakes or wrong decisions, but these don’t define you as a person. They also aren’t reasons to be hard on yourself. Instead, you learn to accept these behaviors and use them as learning opportunities for doing better moving forward.

Treat Substance Abuse and Prevent Relapse

Accepting your behaviors and changing your thought patterns is critical in the mental fight against substance abuse. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be instrumental in overcoming addiction and remaining sober permanently. It allows you to challenge the negative thought patterns that often lead to and worsen substance use.

For an Exceptional Experience in Behavioral Therapy, Let Camelback Recovery Help

If you’re struggling with addiction or mental health issues, cognitive behavioral therapy is a proven method that can be instrumental in your recovery. Camelback Recovery is Arizona’s leading mental health and addiction treatment center, so contact the admissions team today to schedule your cognitive behavioral therapy sessions and begin to free yourself from negative thoughts and perceptions.