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What does cognitive behavioral treatment involve?

Judith Beck, PhD
Psychiatry
Even before your therapy session begins, your therapist may have you fill out certain forms to assess your mood. One of the first things your therapist will do in the therapy session is to determine how you've been feeling this week, compared to other weeks. This is what we call a mood check. The therapist will ask you which problems you'd like to put on the agenda for that session and what happened during the previous week that was important. Then the therapist will make a bridge between the previous therapy session and this week's therapy session by asking you what seemed important that you discussed during the past session and what self-help assignments you were able to do during the week.

Next, you and the therapist will discuss the problem or problems you put on the agenda and do a combination of problem-solving and assessing the accuracy of your thoughts and beliefs about that problematic situation. You will also learn new skills. You and the therapist will discuss how you can make the best use of what you've learned during the session in the coming week, summarize the important points of the session, and ask you for feedback: what was helpful about the session, what was not, anything that bothered you, anything you'd like to see changed. As you will see, both therapist and patient are quite active in this form of treatment. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.