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What to Expect During CBT Sessions

therapist explaining to mother and teenage daughter what to expect during CBT sessions

Participating in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) sessions for the first time can be a little unnerving, especially for anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable talking about difficult subjects to complete strangers. The best way to calm those nerves is to understand what to expect during CBT sessions.

At Imagine Boise, we work with teens and adolescents 12-17 years of age who are struggling with depression, social anxiety, bipolar disorder, or other treatable mental health issues. Each of our programs considers your teen’s unique symptoms and the cause behind the disorder and utilizes CBT and other behavioral and holistic therapies to create a whole-person therapeutic experience.

To discuss the benefits of cognitive-behavioral therapy for your teen son or daughter, call 888.597.2807 today to speak with our compassionate team.

What Is a CBT Program?

A cognitive-behavioral therapy program is one of the more popular forms of psychotherapy with a long track record of improving people’s lives. According to a report in the journal Front Psychiatry, “No other form of psychotherapy has been shown to be systematically superior to CBT.1

Why are cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions so effective? It focuses on identifying the emotions, feelings, or past traumas that trigger disruptive or depressive behaviors and works to replace them with more positive thoughts and actions. CBT therapists work closely with each patient to find the coping skills that work best for their personal triggers and symptoms instead of any generalized advice.

A CBT program can treat a number of mental health disorders, including:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Substance use disorders
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Anger management
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

CBT is effective for teens and adults and is often combined with other forms of behavioral and holistic therapies. For more severe cases, medication can support behavioral therapies by reducing any depressive or anxiety symptoms along with addiction withdrawals and cravings.

Imagine Boise is a full-service mental health treatment facility that works with teen boys and girls. We take the time to build trust and open communication with your teen so they feel comfortable opening up about troubling thoughts and confusing emotions or feelings.

What to Expect During CBT Sessions

Teens who enroll in a therapy program for the first time may feel apprehensive about talking with a therapist about their feelings and any sensitive subjects. The best way to make them feel better about participating in therapy is by talking with them about what to expect during CBT sessions.

While each session is unique to the patient, here is a brief description of how cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions work:

  • The first step is to identify the thoughts, emotions, or past family or peer experiences that are triggering the disruptive behaviors. Therapists will work one-on-one with your teen to identify their unique triggers and what behaviors they create. They then begin developing a plan to address those feelings and thoughts and find healthy ways of coping.
  • After identifying your teen’s triggers, the therapist will walk them through experiencing their triggering events and begin to develop a healthier way of coping with those thoughts and feelings. While discussing the experience, they use various techniques to replace disruptive behaviors with healthier actions. Instead of getting angry, depressed, or craving drugs or alcohol, they recite a personal mantra, talk with a trusted friend, sibling, or parent, or use physical exercise.
  • CBT sessions include group therapy to give your teen a chance to practice their new skills in a controlled environment. Through group discussions, role-playing games, and other holistic activities, they will practice coping and communication skills until they feel confident using them in real-world situations.

In cases where teens experience disruptive symptoms that are hurting their grades and ability to function, medication-assisted treatments can ease those symptoms safely. It offers temporary support while they learn new coping and communication skills and build healthy relationships with their peers.

Find Relief for Your Teen with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy at Imagine Boise

At Imagine Boise, we support teens who are struggling with making healthy relationships, social anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. To fully understand your teen’s condition, we will run a complete health assessment and use this information to create a customized treatment program. Each program utilizes CBT along with other types of behavioral and holistic therapies and medication-assisted treatment if necessary.

Discover the benefits of cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions by calling 888.597.2807 today or contacting Imagine Boise online to schedule a tour and meet our dedicated team.


1Front Psychiatry – “Why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Is the Current Gold Standard of Psychotherapy”