The purpose of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is to explore the mental and physical habits that keep patients trapped in a web of self-defeating patterns. A therapist can then assist the patient in making gradual, realistic and measurable changes towards a more fulfilling life. CBT programs consist of a fixed number of sessions ranging between eight and twenty; occasionally a patient may require fewer or more sessions in order to receive the maximum benefits of this therapy. This therapy is frequently used to treat anxiety disorders, and certain mood disorders.
In the initial CBT session, the therapist and patient will discuss the patient’s treatment objectives. Once a clear goal is in mind, the next phase of treatment begins. Because of the action-oriented nature of this therapy, patients are usually given assignments, or “homework”, to complete on their own. For instance, an OCD sufferer with an intense fear of microbial contamination might be instructed to touch the door handle of a public restroom. The OCD patient will then refrain from washing their hands for a specific period of time. Alternatively, a patient who feels debilitating anxiety in social situations might be asked to observe and make notes of their thoughts and emotions in social environments, and then extend their comfort zones in a controlled and gradual manner. Over the course of the therapy, the patient learns to recognize and replace self-defeating thoughts and actions with more realistic and positive ones.
Dr. Waldman may incorporate aspects of CBT into his psychotherapeutic treatment with individuals struggling with issues related to anxiety, phobias and OCD.