Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Looking For Real, Lasting Change In Your Life?

  • Are you trying to change patterns that have been getting in your way for a long time?
  • Are you frustrated because understanding or just talking about a problem doesn’t actually change it?
  • Has the therapy process been confusing or unclear to you?
  • Are you looking for what you can actually do to make things better?

It can be painful and disheartening when we see that life is going in a way that doesn’t work for us, and that it just doesn’t seem to change. Sometimes people find that they’ve talked about, reflected, and analyzed the problems to death — but the patterns linger.

Lots of folks have the experience of having talked over and over about how the problems in their lives developed and where their negative patterns came from, but have trouble figuring out what to do about them. It can feel like you’re spending all your time in the past, without much attention to the present and the future — which is really what we want to improve, right?

Let’s take action right now, to make things better now and for the future.

The good news is that we can work on the changes you want to make in your life with an active, easy-to-understand, empowering, personalized plan that has you changing these patterns for the better.

Therapy, the Cognitive-Behavioral Way

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is based on taking a look at how we tend to think and behave, and how these thought and behavior patterns affect our lives, with the aim of creating positive change in feelings and in relationships. It’s proven effective in treating anxiety and depression, and in changing long-term patterns that might not be helping you.

What Sorts of Issues Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Address?

Good question. I use CBT for the most common issues that bring people to therapy, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Perfectionism
  • Worry
  • Phobias
  • Self-Esteem
  • Shame and Guilt
  • Anger
  • Avoidance
  • Problematic Habits
  • Procrastination

How Does CBT Actually Work?

Here’s the premise:

Three central elements of human experience are Thoughts, Feelings and Behavior. People tend to come to therapy because there are painful Feelings happening, and it’s not hard to notice that when we’re hurting, our Behaviors and Thoughts change too.

CBT helps us recognize that if you change any one of those elements, the other two will respond in kind. So we’ll find ways in which you can consciously Behave differently and Think differently about your life situations, and put these changes into action.

We take the approach that the positive change comes not from analyzing the past, but by going out into your life and making conscious, specific changes in how you tend to behave and how you tend to think. Then let’s see which changes result in improvements in your relationships, your goals and your Feelings.

Sometimes we might take a look at earlier times in your life in order to identify patterns — but always with the goal of current and lasting change. And we’ll make sure that you always understand what we’re working on and how we’re working on it.

The Bottom Line:

We recognize that there are problems that are causing you pain.

Let’s get to work on what you yourself can do, right now, to make it better.

What’s the Outcome?

Over the sessions, we build your own personal life toolkit — the new Behaviors and Thought patterns that you’ve consciously adopted that we’ve proven make your life better.

But Does CBT Actually Work?

No one approach to therapy works for everyone in every situation. But we know from numerous studies that CBT has consistently high rates of efficacy for the most common issues that bring people to therapy, such as anxiety and depression.

The other piece of good news

As you experience these changes having a positive result, they become easier — and eventually the new normal that you do automatically.

Solution-Focused Therapy

Another avenue we have to make positive, lasting change in your life is to focus what you want to achieve — the solution or the goal — rather than on the nature of the problem. We look at strengths and assets that you’re already bringing to the table, but that you might be overlooking. From there, we develop new strategies that are different from what hasn’t worked in the past. Let’s keep our eye on the ball and figure out what helps you get there.

Questions and Concerns

I don’t have any experience doing therapy before. How will I know where we should start?

I know that it can seem a little intimidating, taking on such a big subject as your whole life. But we’ll start with a clear, easy-to-understand question: What would you like your life to look like?

And proceed from there.

I’ve done therapy before, and nothing ever changed. How would a CBT approach be any different?

If you’ve had an experience where you spent a lot of time on exploration and understanding and not as much on clear, positive change — we’ll be working to do just the opposite.

But isn’t focusing on the past important? Isn’t that what therapy is supposed to be all about?

Understanding where a problem came from is often enlightening, but it’s often not necessary and even more importantly, almost never sufficient. We’ll acknowledge the past where we need to, but focus primarily on the present and the future, so that you can experience improvements now and make sure that they remain.

How long does CBT treatment last? I don’t want to be in therapy forever.

Each client’s situation is unique, so we can’t do an accurate prediction. But I can tell you that standard CBT protocols and skills are designed to be taught and practiced in 8-15 sessions, and that the essential goal is for you to get good enough at this work that you no longer need the help of a therapist.

I’ve been using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for 15 years to achieve positive results for many clients, and I’ve been teaching these techniques to student and early-career therapists. Together, we can help you feel better now, without spending years doing therapy.

If you’re curious about how cognitive-behavioral therapy might help your particular situation and goals, email or call me at 415/820-1590 for a FREE consultation.

Paul Silverman

Paul Silverman, MFT LPCC
San Francisco, CA

415/820-1590
paul@sfcounseling.net

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Email me or call 415/820-1590 for a free 20-minute consultation