Therapy

Brazos Valley Psychiatry understands the need to integrate the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of health and wellness. We provide integrated whole-person treatment that is individualized and culturally relevant with evidence-based treatment modalities.

People come to counseling/therapy when they feel stuck, out of control, or unhappy in some aspect of their lives. Counseling can provide a way to get out of that rut. Sometimes, gaining insight into your past can help you understand why you are stuck, but more importantly counseling can help you move onward towards the life that you want. Therapy has many benefits including getting a change in perspective, learning new strategies to cope with the challenges of day to day living, and having support in an unbiased, confidential setting.

COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common type of talk therapy (psychotherapy). You work with a mental health counselor (psychotherapist or therapist) in a structured way, attending a limited number of sessions. CBT helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way.

CBT can be a very helpful tool ― either alone or in combination with other therapies ― in treating mental health disorders, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or an eating disorder. But not everyone who benefits from CBT has a mental health condition. CBT can be an effective tool to help anyone learn how to better manage stressful life situations.

WHY IT’S DONE

Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to treat a wide range of issues. It’s often the preferred type of psychotherapy because it can quickly help you identify and cope with specific challenges. It generally requires fewer sessions than other types of therapy and is done in a structured way.

CBT is a useful tool to address emotional challenges. For example, it may help you:

  • Manage symptoms of mental illness

  • Prevent a relapse of mental illness symptoms

  • Treat a mental illness when medications aren’t a good option

  • Learn techniques for coping with stressful life situations

  • Identify ways to manage emotions

  • Resolve relationship conflicts and learn better ways to communicate

  • Cope with grief or loss

  • Overcome emotional trauma related to abuse or violence

  • Cope with a medical illness

  • Manage chronic physical symptoms

Mental health disorders that may improve with CBT include:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Phobias

  • PTSD

  • Sleep disorders

  • Eating disorders

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

  • Substance use disorders

  • Bipolar disorders

  • Schizophrenia

  • Sexual disorders

In some cases, CBT is most effective when it’s combined with other treatments, such as antidepressants or other medications.

RISKS

In general, there’s little risk in getting cognitive behavioral therapy. But you may feel emotionally uncomfortable at times. This is because CBT can cause you to explore painful feelings, emotions and experiences. You may cry, get upset or feel angry during a challenging session. You may also feel physically drained.

Some forms of CBT, such as exposure therapy, may require you to confront situations you’d rather avoid — such as airplanes if you have a fear of flying. This can lead to temporary stress or anxiety.

However, working with a skilled therapist will minimize any risks. The coping skills you learn can help you manage and conquer negative feelings and fears.

DIALECTICAL BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (DBT)

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy tries to identify and change negative thinking patterns and pushes for positive behavioral changes.

DBT may be used to treat suicidal and other self-destructive behaviors. It teaches patients skills to cope with, and change, unhealthy behaviors.

WHAT’S UNIQUE ABOUT DIALECTICAL BEHAVIORAL THERAPY?

The term “dialectical” comes from the idea that bringing together two opposites in therapy — acceptance and change — brings better results than either one alone.

A unique aspect of DBT is its focus on acceptance of a patient’s experience as a way for therapists to reassure them — and balance the work needed to change negative behaviors.

Standard comprehensive DBT has four parts:

  • Individual therapy

  • Group skills training

  • Phone coaching, if needed for crises between sessions

  • Consultation group for health care providers to stay motivated and discuss patient care

Patients agree to do homework to practice new skills. This includes filling out daily “diary cards” to track more than 40 emotions, urges, behaviors, and skills, such as lying, self-injury, or self-respect.

WHAT CONDITIONS DOES DBT TREAT?

Dialectical behavioral therapy focuses on high-risk, tough-to-treat patients. These patients often have multiple diagnoses.

DBT was initially designed to treat people with suicidal behavior and borderline personality disorder. But it has been adapted for other mental health problems that threaten a person’s safety, relationships, work, and emotional well-being.

Borderline personality disorder is a disorder that leads to acute emotional distress. Patients may have intense bursts of anger and aggression, moods that shift rapidly, and extreme sensitivity to rejection.

People with borderline personality disorder may have difficulty regulating emotions. They experience instability in:

  • moods

  • behavior

  • self-image

  • thinking

  • relationships

Impulsive behavior, such as substance abuse, risky sex, self-injury, and repeated life crises such as legal troubles and homelessness, are common.

The American Psychiatric Association has endorsed DBT as effective in treating borderline personality disorder. Patients who undergo DBT have seen improvements such as:

  • less frequent and less severe suicidal behavior

  • shorter hospitalizations

  • less anger

  • less likely to drop out of treatment

  • improved social functioning

Substance abuse is common with borderline personality disorder.DBT helps substance abusers with borderline personality disorder but hasn’t proven effective for addiction alone.

Researchers are investigating whether DBT may be effective in treating these conditions:

  • mood disorders

  • binge eating

  • ADHD

  • post-traumatic stress disorder.

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT)

Developed within coherent theoretical and philosophical framework, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a unique empirically based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behavior change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility means contacting the present moment fully as a conscious human being, and based on what the situation affords, changing or persisting in behavior in the service of chosen values.

Based on Relational Frame Theory, ACT illuminates the ways that language entangles clients into futile attempts to wage war against their own inner lives. Through metaphor, paradox, and experiential exercises clients learn how to make healthy contact with thoughts, feelings, memories, and physical sensations that have been feared and avoided. Clients gain the skills to recontextualize and accept these private events, develop greater clarity about personal values, and commit to needed behavior change..