Also known as CBT therapists, cognitive behavioral therapy therapists utilize a treatment strategy known as cognitive behavioral therapy to aid patients in changing their perceptions regarding the occurrence of events that tend to cause a great deal of emotional distress. While the same basic methods are used in each case, the application of those methods may vary somewhat based on the needs of the individual patient. The ultimate goal of a cognitive behavioral therapy therapist is to assist the patient in overcoming the fear and sense of despair that is part of the older perceptions, and replacing those negative emotions and responses with a sense of strength and empowerment.
The work of cognitive behavioral therapy therapists often focuses on patient who are dealing with different types of anxiety disorders and phobias that result in the triggering of panic attacks. Therapists of this type may also work with patients who are undergoing moderate to severe depression as the result of one or more life traumas. In all these situations, the goal is to help the patient begin to see their circumstances in a different way, one that helps to weaken the responses to the triggers and allow the patient to regain a more balanced emotional and mental state.
Cognitive behavioral therapy therapists often work with individuals who experience panic attacks that are triggered by phobias. The exact course of treatment involved will adapt to the specific type of phobia that the patient exhibits. For example, if the patient is suffering with agoraphobia, a fear of open spaces, the therapist may educate the patient in some methods that help to undermine the sense of fear and impending disaster that is triggered by being in a public setting such as a store, a sports arena, or even walking down the street.
Those methods are often put to the test when cognitive behavioral therapy therapists take patients into the settings that normally cause a great deal of distress. Here, the cognitive behavioral therapist remains with the patient, helping him or her to slowly learn how to accept the rush of emotions and embrace them rather than fearing them. In time, the patient begins to perceive the fears as not having the power once attributed to them, which in turn helps to decrease the ability of those fears to limit the patient to only going places that are perceived as safe.
In some cases, cognitive behavioral therapists utilize counseling, role playing and sensory exposure along with the use of medication to help reduce the severity of the emotional and mental distress that has taken over the patient’s life. This approach can often help to keep the symptoms in check while the underlying physical factors and their emotional manifestations are slowly corrected. When successful, cognitive behavioral therapy therapists help patients to recover from their phobias and regain the power to go places and do things without experiencing the crippling fear they once did.