Could CBT Help Your Teen Find Comfort?

Watching your child suffer with their mental health is one of the hardest things a parent can deal with. As hard as it already is to be a teen in the 21st century, those with mental health disorders — especially undiagnosed mental health disorders — are faced with unhappiness to a higher degree than their peers.

Trends and statistics show that we’re seeing more and more adults and teens being diagnosed with mental health disorders as a country. While the reasons may vary, and the disorders themselves may vary in kind, the trend is especially troublesome to see from the perspective of a parent.

The need for structured treatment for our country’s preteens and teenagers is growing daily, and the need for knowledge to spread to parents is of the utmost importance.

For many teens, a strong program that offers cognitive behavioral therapy could be the answer they need to battle their current issues.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

CBT is a form of therapy that works on cognition (the process of gaining knowledge) and behavior (the way a person acts or conducts themself) by having patients work on their problematic thoughts and patterns in their behavior.

CBT is practical rather than theoretical.This means that CBT focuses purely on the here and now rather than focusing on memories or future concerns.

It is possible for a patient receiving CBT from a therapist to never discuss their painful past or concerns for their future health. Instead, the patient will focus on specific thoughts they currently deal with and learn how to see signs of the thoughts coming on. From there, they will be able to understand how to stop these disturbing thoughts and find comfort.

It’s been found that CBT is an effective way to treat many different types of mental health disorders, including:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Anxiety
  • Panic disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Phobias

A Brief History of CBT

CBT was first developed in the 1960s by psychiatrist Aaron Beck. But it wasn’t until the past two decades that CBT became popular in treatment. The reason for that is still up in the air.

Today, CBT is likely to be the most used form of psychotherapy offered (although there aren’t solid numbers to prove it).

Studies have shown that the reason for CBT being the most commonly used form of therapy is its proven effectiveness across the board. Researchers Daniel David, Ioana Cristea, and Stefan G. Hofmann call CBT “The Gold Standard” in therapy because of its backing by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the American Psychological Association.

How Does CBT Work?

CBT works to help patients identify their unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. By identifying the thoughts, a patient becomes more likely to disrupt the normal thinking process giving them such worry or depression.

After identifying these unhealthy patterns, therapists, or counselors, work with their patients to help them understand how the negative thoughts affect their overall well-being and mindset.

There are many methods that are used in CBT. They include but are not limited to:

  • Exposure Therapy
    • A therapist gradually helps their patient approach the patient’s fears in more controlled situations. Avoiding fears in general creates and feeds into anxiety and fear itself. Through exposure therapy, patients are able to overcome a lot of their anxious feelings.
  • Activity Scheduling
    • A therapist helps a patient by scheduling activities that are healthier and help them overcome their worries and concerns. By scheduling things such as walks or projects, a patient becomes able to follow through on things that typically they miss out on due to their depression or panic disorder.
  • Mindfulness
    • This focuses on helping a patient disconnect from their negative feelings and thoughts. By working on mindfulness, you will in theory be able to live more in the moment and slow down your anxieties by meditating or working on breathing exercises.
  • Skills Training
    • For many, depression or anxiety can be caused by a lack of skills required to reach their goals. By working on the skills the patient needs, they can begin to fulfill their desires. Some forms of skills training often provided are communication skills, relationship building, relationship maintaining, and social skills training. These are typically gained through classes, role playing, or problem solving.
  • Journaling
    • By journaling (writing about what’s happening in one’s life), a patient can focus directly on their moods and thoughts. For most, the process of recording their thoughts and feelings by finding the source, explaining the extent of the feeling, and how they reacted can help them prepare for future times when the thought or feeling comes along.

CBT sessions are more “business-like” than other forms of therapy. By working together as a team, the therapist and patient will examine every aspect of the patient’s life and change things that may be causing issues.

Would CBT Work For My Teen?

Many studies show that CBT should be considered the best treatment choice for mental health disorders in youth because it offers many pathways to help the child.

But the effectiveness of CBT largely depends on the patient and their willingness to delve into their worries, concerns, and issues. CBT often includes homework, exploring one’s fears, and having a willingness to accept one’s behaviors and thoughts as an issue that must be addressed.

As mentioned earlier, CBT works almost exclusively on the present day and not on past issues or worries about the future. For a teen who you sense is currently struggling with their day-to-day life, CBT is a great option to help them attack their possible issues.

CBT is also an excellent option for teens who are having negative thoughts that interfere with their happiness on a daily basis. It has proven effective in helping those with many mental health disorders, especially those with depression, anxiety disorder, or panic disorder.

If your teen is struggling to manage their time, achieve their goals, make healthy decisions, or even just get through the day, CBT can and likely will work for them.

But before asking if CBT will work, you should consider if CBT is actually needed.

Signs Your Child Is Struggling and Might Need CBT

Noticing the signs of a mental health disorder in a teenager is hard. Not only are they faced with a challenge that often brings fully grown adults to need treatment, but they are also dealing with constantly changing bodies/minds and a social world in school systems that can lead to crisis at any given time.

It is difficult at times to figure out whether a teen is simply showing signs of stress due to their hormonal changes or the fact that they may have an undiagnosed mental health disorder.

Signs to look for in your teen are:

  • Difficulty following rules
  • Verbal aggression
  • Physical aggression
  • Poor school performance
  • Isolation
  • Suicidal thoughts and tendencies
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Loss of interest in usual activities

Missing these signs can lead to problems going into your teen’s adult life. Without getting them the treatment needed, the difficulty they face today could be even worse in the future.

Ways To Help Your Teen

Professional treatment is a priority for teens facing the possibility of mental health disorders. The quicker you find them treatment, the better.

Finding a program tailored for teenagers is even better. That way they can feel more connected and understand they are not alone in their struggles while receiving care that is tailored to their needs.

For teens in the Greater Boise area, there is an option nearby.

Therapy For Your Teen In Boise

In Boise, Idaho, Northpoint Recovery created the Imagine Adolescent Program because it has become increasingly important that teenagers of the United States, and the Pacific Northwest, get the mental health treatment they need.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 17% of youth ages 6-17 in the United States have a mental health disorder.

The Imagine Program offers many benefits to teens and their families alike. We offer:

  • Treatment by highly qualified providers
  • Treatment using evidence-based methods
  • A psychosocial assessment along with a family member
  • Twice-weekly meetings with our facility psychiatrist
  • Individual, group, and family therapy sessions
  • On-site nursing care
  • Crisis intervention for those with suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts
  • No more than 30 hours per week of outpatient treatment
  • Personalized care

In delivering the best care possible to the teens who enter treatment in the Imagine program, we offer CBT along with many other forms of treatment.

They include:

  • DBT (dialectical behavior therapy)
  • Grief, loss, and trauma therapy
  • Relationship counseling
  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Family therapy

Imagine by Northpoint delivers care to teens using scientifically and medically proven treatment services such as CBT. We strive to give each teenager in our program quality care in a safe and non-judgmental environment.

Call Us Today For Treatment Options

As it is with adults, getting the help of professionals is incredibly important for mental health disorders in teenagers.

If you believe your son or daughter is showing signs of mental distress that is affecting their everyday life, call Imagine Boise today at 208-369-9511.

FAQs:

What are cognitive behavioral therapy techniques?

There are quite a few techniques that are used in cognitive behavioral therapy. Of the many are:

  • Exposure Therapy
    • A therapist gradually helps a patient approach their fears in more controlled situations. Avoiding fears in general creates and feeds into anxiety and fear itself. Through exposure therapy, patients are able to overcome a lot of their anxious feelings.
  • Activity Scheduling
    • A therapist helps a patient by scheduling activities that are healthier and help them overcome their worries and concerns. By scheduling things such as walks or projects, a patient becomes able to follow through on things that typically they miss out on due to their depression or panic disorder.
  • Mindfulness
    • Focuses on helping a patient disconnect from their negative feelings and thoughts. By working on mindfulness, you will in theory be able to live more in the moment and slow down your anxieties by meditating or working on breathing exercises.
  • Skills Training
    • For many, depression or anxiety can be caused by a lack of skills required to reach their goals. By working on the skills the patient needs, they can begin to fulfill their desires. The forms of skills training often provided are communication skills, relationship building, relationship maintaining, and social skills training. These are typically gained through classes, role playing, or problem solving.
  • Journaling
    • By journaling (writing about what’s happening in one’s life), a patient can focus directly on their moods and thoughts. For most, the process of recording their thoughts and feelings by finding the source, explaining the extent of the feeling, and how they reacted can help them prepare for future times when the thought or feeling comes along.

Can you do CBT on yourself?

No. CBT is a business-like therapy form in which a therapist and patient work together to overcome destructive habits, behaviors, and thoughts.

While it is best to have the oversight of a therapist or counselor, there are techniques of CBT that you must do alone. CBT often comes with homework the patient must do on their own.

What is an example of cognitive behavioral therapy?

An example of something a patient may discuss in CBT is the fact that they cannot find a person to be in a lifelong relationship with, and without a lifelong relationship, they cannot consider their life successful.

It is both unhealthy and unhelpful to consider that without being in a committed relationship, you are not successful.

A therapist and their patient will discuss this thought process and work to break down the walls in thinking to help them understand how this thought is damaging their mental health.

It’s important the patient understands this thought as incorrect or faulty and builds new thoughts about success and relationships.

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