How Long Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Take?

How Long Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Take?

Team CBT

If you’re considering cognitive behavioral therapy, you may be wondering how long treatment typically may take. Let’s start with a look at what cognitive behavioral therapy comprises, as well as the length of therapy that you might need. 

What is CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy basically helps patients learn how to use therapeutic practices for themselves. It’s designed to help you develop good coping skills, and to work on ways to more positively change your way of thinking, your emotions, and your overall behavior. This type of therapy generally focuses on what is happening in your life, rather than on the past, although your history can be discussed.

The main goal of CBT is to help you cope with your life right now, and to effectively handle issues such as depression or anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, or relationship issues.

Both in research and in practice, CBT is practical and effective, and can help you make changes in your behavior to improve your quality of life.

This type of therapy looks at the idea that your problems may be at least partly based on ways of thinking that are not helpful. It will assist you in making changes to your thinking patterns, recognizing them, and re-evaluating the responses you make.

You’ll learn to understand behaviors and motivations, face fears, and prepare for handling interactions with others, even those that may be problematic. CBT can also help you learn how to calm and relax your mind and your body.

The CBT Process

The CBT process usually starts by identifying any situations or conditions that are troubling you and deciding the goals or issues on which you wish to focus. 

After identifying your problems, your therapist will help you talk about your thoughts and will observe how you personally interpret and evaluate situations and problems. Keeping a thought journal may be suggested to help you see any patterns that adversely affect thinking or behavior.

Your therapist will likely suggest that you pay attention to your responses to situations, and help you to reshape or reform thinking that is inaccurate or negative. In this way you can find the path to establishing a new, more helpful and positive way of thinking and behaving so that these new ways become a habit. 

So How Long Does CBT Take?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is considered to be a short-term process. Usually, CBT takes between 5 and 20 sessions, but it may take longer. Your therapist can discuss with you the length of time that you may find most effective.

The determination of just how much time you’ll spend on the CBT process will be based upon:

  • Your personal needs, disorder or the situation you are experiencing
  • How severe your symptoms may be and how long they’ve been going on
  • How soon you find yourself making progress
  • Your amount of stress
  • The amount of support you receive from family and friends

In short, the exact time frame for CBT is as individual as you are yourself.

Learn More About Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

If you’d like to learn more about cognitive behavioral therapy and how it can work for you, or if you’re ready to schedule a consultation, contact us today.