Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a research supported treatment that focuses on ways of thinking that are maladaptive. Psychotherapists believe that life situations cause people to have negative thoughts about themselves, the world and the future. These thoughts are often automatic and out of the person's awareness. Negative thoughts create emotions like anger, sadness, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, anxiety and depression.Negative feelings guide a person's behavior and along with negative thoughts prevent a person from living a happy life.
CBT is as useful as antidepressant medications for individuals with depression and is superior in preventing relapse.
CBT is also useful for anxiety disorders such as panic attacks, obsessions and compulsions and phobias. Recent research from Europe has shown CBT to be helpful for Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder when it is used in conjunction with medications.
CBT was developed through a merging of Behavioral therapy with Cognitive therapy. CBT focuses on the here and now. Dr. Aaron Beck, Dr. Freeman and Dr. Albert Ellis were the early pioneers of cognitive therapy and Behavior therapy.
Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)
Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)is a form of CBT, developed by Dr. Albert Ellis in the 60's.
Dr. Ellis believed that the following three beliefs account for much human suffering:
1. "I absolutely must...perform well and win the approval...and the complete love of significant others... If I fail in these respects it is awful and I am a bad and unworthy person who will probably fail and I deserve to suffer.... Holding this belief, tends to cause feelings of anxiety, panic, depression, despair and worthlessness".
2. "Other people with whom I associate must at all times and under all conditions treat me nicely, considerately and fairly. ...Otherwise it is terrible and they are rotten, bad, unworthy people who will always treat me badly...and they should be severely punished for acting so bad to me". This belief can contribute to feelings of anger, rage, and vindictiveness.
3. "The conditions under which I live absolutely must at all times be favorable, safe, hassle free and easily enjoyable...and if not that way it is awful and horrible and I cannot bear it.... I cannot ever enjoy myself... and my life is impossible and hardly worth living". This belief tends to contribute to frustration, discomfort, intolerance, self-pity, anger, depression and to procrastination, avoidance and inaction.
REBT has proven to be an effective treatment for all types of problems.
EMDR is a form of psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro in the late 80's to resolve traumas caused from exposure to distressing events such as rape or war time experiences. When a traumatic event occurs it can overwhelm a person's normal coping mechanisms. Memories of these traumatic events are inadequately processed by the mind and are dysfunctionally stored in isolated memory networks.
The goal of EMDR therapy is to process these disturbing memories and reduce their continuing influence in the clients's life. EMDR also helps to desensitize the level of disturbance of these upsetting memories and helps clients to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms.
"EMDR integrates elements of different psychotherapies :Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioral, Interpersonal, Experimental, Adlerian, Gestalt, Rogerian Client-Centered, and several other therapy types. EMDR, however, uses bilateral stimulation (eye movement, tones, or tapping) during each session, to activate the memory networks"...where traumatic events are stored.
An unprocessed traumatic memory can retain high levels of emotional intensity, even though many years may have passed. Distressing memories are transformed with EMDR when new connections in the distressing memory network are combined with more positive and realistic information. This results in a transformation of the emotional sensory and cognitive component of the memory, so that when the person remembers the event, he is no longer distressed.
EMDR was originally used for PTSD, but it has been also used also with depression, anxiety. childhood abuse, phobias, and complex PTSD, which develops from a history of repeated physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
EMDR has also been used in performance and creativity enhancement with athletes and stage performers, and in self-esteem building for depressed persons.
Psychodynamic therapy evolved from a form of depth psychology which focuses on the unconscious in an effort to alleviate psychic tension. Psychotherapists believe that maladaptive behaviors develop early in life and eventually cause problems in every day life.
The therapist helps the client acknowledge the presence of inner conflicts that are creating symptoms in his/her present life. Developing insight is an important part of the therapy. Eventually the client acknowledges the inner conflict and with the help of the therapist develops strategies for change.
Jeffrey Young described schemas as: "broad, pervasive themes regarding oneself and one's relationship with others; developed during childhood and elaborated throughout one's lifetime. Most schemas are dysfunctional."
"Schemas develop in childhood from an interplay between the child's temperament and his ongoing negative experiences with his parents, siblings peers and the outside world". " Schemas become part of a person's belief system. People distort their experiences and view towards life in order to maintain their schemas." Example: If a woman feels she is unattractive, she will not notice a man looking at her; or of she does see him she may interpret his behavior as him viewing her unattractive physical features. It may not cross her mind that he might find her attractive; because she has a negative view of herself and interprets reality in a way that supports her belief system."
Dr. McGowan works with a person's dysfunctional schema, often using EMDR, to change an individual' s belief system so the person can lead a more functional life. If you think of a schema as a bad computer chip; the goal of Schema Therapy is to remove the bad chip and replace it with a new, updated version and more truthful one.