What is cognitive behavior therapy?
Cognitive behavior therapy is one of the few forms of psychotherapy that has been scientifically tested and found to be effective in hundreds of clinical trials for many different disorders. In contrast to other forms of psychotherapy, cognitive therapy is usually more focused on the present, more limited in duration, and more problem-solving oriented. In addition, patients learn specific skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. These skills involve identifying distorted thinking, modifying beliefs, relating to others in different ways, and changing behaviors.
What is the theory behind cognitive behavior therapy?
Cognitive behavior therapy is based on the cognitive model: the way we perceive situations influences how we feel emotionally. For example, one person reading this website might think, “Wow! This sounds good, it’s just what I’ve always been looking for!” and feels happy. Another person reading this information might think, “Well, this sounds good but I don’t think I can do it.” This person feels sad and discouraged. So it is not a situation that directly affects how people feel emotionally, but rather, their thoughts in that situation. When people are in distress, their perspective is often inaccurate and their thoughts may be unrealistic. Cognitive behavior therapy helps people identify their distressing thoughts and evaluate how realistic the thoughts are. Then they learn to change their distorted thinking. When they think more realistically, they feel better. The emphasis is also consistently on solving problems and initiating behavioral changes.
What are the most essential components of CBT treatment?
It’s important to remember that cognitive behavior therapists use a different formulation for each psychiatric disorder. We use this formulation in conceptualizing the individual patient, which is an essential component to developing a sound therapeutic relationship, setting goals, planning treatment, and selecting interventions. Building trust and rapport with patients from the very first contact, demonstrating accurate empathy, sharing the conceptualization with the patient (and making sure it “rings true” for the patient), and collaborating are also essential. Another important part of every therapy session is helping patients respond to inaccurate or unhelpful ideas. The basic question to ask when a patient is reporting a distressing situation, emotion, or dysfunctional behavior is: “What is going through your mind right now?” Once we help patients identify their dysfunctional thinking, we help them gain more adaptive and accurate perspectives, especially by helping them examine the validity and usefulness of their thoughts. We also help them design behavioral experiments to test the accuracy of their predictions.
How can I find a certified cognitive therapist?
Therapists at Beck Institute’s Center for Psychotherapy are certified by the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. If you live or work in the Philadelphia region, contact us by phone or email for more information.
For therapists outside the Philadelphia region, visit the Academy of Cognitive Therapy (ACT) website: www.academyofct.org.
You can contact the Academy of Cognitive Therapy at:
Academy of Cognitive Therapy
245 N. 15th Street, MS 403
17 New College Building
Department of Psychiatry
Philadelphia, PA 19102
What if I am undecided about therapy?
If you are undecided about therapy, think about the following:
You don’t need to make a commitment to a minimum number of sessions:
Some patients find even a few therapy sessions useful and then choose to continue working on their own.
View therapy as an experiment:
There is no way of your knowing in advance that cognitive therapy will definitely help, but it has helped countless people with difficulties. Think of giving cognitive therapy a try; there’s probably no hard evidence that it won’t help.
Realize that there is no big risk:
If it’s not helpful enough, you can stop, but the potential benefit might be great. It would be a shame if you decided not to try something that could really make a difference in your life.
It’s normal to have concerns:
You may worry whether therapy can help or you may feel hopeless about it. If you’re predicting that nothing will make you feel better, you may be wrong.
Finances are often a problem:
Many insurance plans pay for part of the cost of evaluation and treatment. Our goal is to teach you to be your own therapist and to keep therapy short, so cognitive therapy may be the best investment you could make.
If you’d like to know more, please call our intake coordinator, Molly Finkel, at 610-664-3020. There are also many excellent self-help books that can give you a good idea of what cognitive therapy is all about.
What about medication?
Cognitive therapists, being both practical and collaborative, can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of medication with you. Many patients are treated without medication at all. Some disorders, however, respond better to a combination of medication and cognitive therapy. If you are on medication, or would like to be on medication, you might want to discuss with your therapist whether you should have a psychiatric consultation with a specialist (a psychopharmacologist) to ensure that you are on the right kind and dosage of medication. If you are not on medication and do not want to be on medication, you and your therapist might assess, after four to six weeks, how much you’ve progressed and determine whether you might want a psychiatric consultation at that time to obtain more information about medication.
How can I make the best use of therapy?
One way is to ask your therapist how you might be able to supplement your psychotherapy with cognitive therapy readings, workbooks, client pamphlets, etc. A second way is to prepare for each session, thinking about what you learned in the previous session and jotting down what you want to discuss in the next session.
A third way to maximize therapy is to make sure that you try to bring the therapy session into your everyday life. Therapists should make sure you take home notes or a recording of anything you want to remember, both changes in your thinking and an action plan to follow during the week.
How will I know if therapy is working?
Many patients notice a decrease in their symptoms within a few weeks of therapy, or even sooner, if they have been faithfully attending sessions and doing the suggested assignments between sessions on a daily basis.
What can I do to get ready for CBT treatment?
An important first step is to set goals. Ask yourself, “How would I like to be different by the end of therapy?” Think specifically about changes you’d like to make at work, at home, in your relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and others. Think about what symptoms have been bothering you and which you’d like to decrease or eliminate. Think about other areas that would improve your life: pursuing spiritual/intellectual/cultural interests, increasing exercise, decreasing bad habits, learning new interpersonal skills, improving management skills at work or at home. Your therapist will help you develop a goal list and decide which goals you might be able to work toward on your own and which ones you might want to work on in therapy.
How do cognitive behavior therapists help clients become their own therapists?
At each therapy session, cognitive behavior therapists help clients specify the problems they have encountered during the week or that they expect to encounter in the current week. They then collect data to identify the ideas and behaviors that have interfered with patients’ ability to solve problems themselves. Cognitive behavior therapists get clients actively engaged in deciding where to start working. Together, they develop an “action plan” or homework for patients (to do during the week) to implement solutions to problems or to make changes in their thinking and actions. This process gets clients actively involved in their own treatment; they begin to recognize that the way to get better is to make small changes in how they think and what they do every day. When treatment ends, clients are able to use the skills and tools they have learned in therapy in their day-to-day lives.
Does Beck Institute offer internships or post-doctoral fellowships?
Please contact us at email@example.com for information about internship or volunteer opportunities. We do not offer pre- or post-doctoral internships at this time.
What are the requirements for practicing as a cognitive therapist?
All professionals who practice psychotherapy must do so within the legal requirements of their own locales. No legal body regulates the practice of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT); however, competent cognitive behavior therapists 1) have received training and supervision specific to CBT and 2) undertake ongoing efforts to develop and maintain their competence. Beck Institute strongly supports certification by the Academy of Cognitive Therapy as a way to promote standards of practice and care.
Does Beck Institute offer certification in cognitive therapy?
Beck Institute trains, but does not certify, cognitive behavior therapists. The Academy of Cognitive Therapy is the certifying body for cognitive behavior therapists.
Do you offer scholarships or financial aid for Beck Institute training programs?
How do I become a Beck Institute supervisor?
Dr. Judith Beck, in consultation with Dr. Aaron Beck and others, invites expert clinicians to become Beck Institute supervisors. If you have further questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does Beck Institute offer group supervision?
Yes. Up to four people from the same organization can participate together in the group supervision program. One therapist per week submits a recording on a rotating basis.
Does Beck Institute offer supervision of supervision?
Yes. If you are interested in learning to supervise other cognitive therapists, you must first successfully complete one standard term of supervision and receive 3 scores of 50 or higher on the CTRS. You must also receive a recommendation from your supervisor to begin supervision of supervision.
What happens if I do not meet the requirements for successful completion of your supervision program?
You will receive a Letter of Participation documenting your participation in the supervision program and you may enroll in additional terms.
What kind of credential will I receive upon successful completion of your supervision program?
When you successfully complete the supervision program, you will receive a Certificate of Completion. You are encouraged to obtain certification in cognitive therapy through the Academy of Cognitive Therapy.
What are the requirements for successful completion of the supervision program?
Periodically, your supervisor rates your progress on the Cognitive Therapy Rating Scale (CTRS). In order to receive a Certificate of Completion, you must obtain a score of 40 three times and receive a letter of recommendation from your supervisor. Trainees who do not reach competency during the term receive a Letter of Participation and may enroll in additional terms.
I do not have English-speaking clients. Can I still participate in your supervision program?
Yes, trainees may submit translated transcripts of therapy sessions and receive voice-to-voice or email supervision. Alternatively, we may be able to provide you with a Beck Institute supervisor who can listen to your tapes and conduct supervision calls in other languages such as Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Thai. Some international trainees who speak English decide to offer treatment at a reduced fee, if need be, to an English-speaking client.
How is supervision conducted?
Supervision is conducted via telephone, Skype or similar means. Email supervision is available for non-English speaking participants.
I do not have a license. Am I eligible to participate in your supervision program?
International trainees are not required to have a license. If you practice in the US, you must have a license if your state requires it. We ask you to provide the appropriate documentation.
Am I responsible for securing clients, or does Beck Institute provide them?
For supervision sessions, you will record clients from your own practice.
How many clients do I need to see to be eligible to participate in your supervision program?
There is no minimum number of clients that you must see to participate, as long as you can submit recordings of live client sessions for supervision.
What device do you recommend for recording patient sessions for supervision?
We do not recommend a specific device or technology for recording patient sessions. Many of our supervisees find it convenient to use a digital voice recorder that converts to MP3 files.
Do you have supervisors who specialize in various disorders or populations?
Yes. Beck Institute supervisors represent a wide variety of expertise in using cognitive therapy with a range of disorders and specific populations.
Can I request a specific supervisor?
Yes. If we are unable to provide you with the supervisor you request, we will match you to an available supervisor whose training and experience match your needs and interests.
Who are the Beck Institute supervisors?
Beck Institute supervisors are highly skilled cognitive therapists who have trained with Dr. Aaron Beck and/or Dr. Judith Beck.
I would like my staff to be trained in CBT. Do you ever provide onsite training for organizations?
Where does Beck Institute hold its workshops?
Philadelphia Workshops are held at the Beck Institute, across the street from the Philadelphia city limit. Our address is 1 Belmont Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004.
On the Road workshops are held in cities throughout the US.
Does Beck Institute hold workshops outside the Philadelphia area?
Yes! Starting in January 2016, Beck Institute is offering On the Road Workshops in various cities throughout the US.
Are there hotels near Beck Institute?
For hotel and travel assistance, contact our travel team.
There are two hotels within walking distance of the Beck Institute with special rates available. The Hilton City Avenue is directly across the street, and the Courtyard Philadelphia City Avenue (formerly the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West) is about a ten-minute walk from Beck Institute. The Courtyard also offers a shuttle to Beck Institute trainees that will take you to and from our office each morning and afternoon.
When I travel to Beck Institute for training, what airport should I fly into?
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is located about 30 – 45 minutes from Beck Institute.
I am scheduling my return travel. What time does the workshop end on the last day?
The workshop ends at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). It usually takes 30-45 minutes to get to the airport and 20-30 minutes to get to 30th Street Station.
What are the prerequisites for attending a workshop?
Participants must hold at least a master’s degree in a mental health, education, medical, or related field, although we do consider graduate students on a case-by-case basis. Graduate Students are eligible to attend our annual Graduate Student Workshop: CBT for Depression. We recommend (but do not require) participants to attend at least one Core Curriculum workshop before attending a Specialty Workshop.
Which Core Curriculum workshop is right for me?
The Core Curriculum workshops are designed to build the essential knowledge and practice competencies in CBT. Core 1 (Depression) focuses on the fundamentals of CBT: case conceptualization, treatment planning, goal setting, session structure, identifying and responding to automatic thoughts, behavioral experiments, etc. Core 2 (Anxiety) covers theory and treatment specific to the more commonly encountered anxiety disorders such as GAD, Social Phobia, and Panic Disorder. Finally, Core 3 focuses on challenges: personality disorders, problems in the therapeutic relationship, problems with homework completion and therapy engagement, difficulties with identifying cognitions, and other seeming obstacles to therapy. We recommend having taken Core 1 or 2 before Core 3, depending on prior experience and familiarity with CBT.
Do you offer workshops in specialty subjects?
Yes. Throughout the year, Beck Institute offers a changing menu of specialty workshops on a variety of topics. Specialty workshop topics are determined based on feedback from Core Curriculum workshop participants, and reflect current interests and issues.
Can I earn CEs/CMEs through your workshops?
Yes. Attendance at our three-day Philadelphia workshops earns 18 CE credits and two-day workshops earn 12 CE credits. Cost of CE credits is included in your registration payment.
Who conducts your workshops?
Dr. Judith Beck directs all workshops and teaches at many of them. Beck Institute faculty, who have specific expertise in specialty areas, also present. Dr. Aaron Beck conducts a question and answer session at most Philadelphia workshops.
When is the deadline for submitting workshop applications?
Beck Institute accepts applications on a rolling basis until the Friday prior to the workshop start. Your tuition guarantees your space.
How do I know whether a workshop is full?
A workshop will show in the store as out of stock when the capacity has been reached. If you have questions about availability, please email us or call 610-664-3020.
What payment options does Beck Institute accept?
You may pay tuition by check drawn on a U.S. bank or by credit card.