How Long Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Last?

How Long Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Last?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has gained popularity in recent years, and understandably so. This evidence-based therapy offers a practical approach to dealing with anxiety, depression, and symptoms of addiction. If you’re seeking therapy and considering CBT, you may also be wondering what kind of time investment it requires. How long do you need to attend sessions, and how long do the results last?

At The Sanctuary, we offer CBT and other psychotherapies as part of a complete journey of healing from addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. Here, we’ll look at what CBT is, how long treatment takes, and how to make sure your results last.

Learn More About CBT Treatment

What is CBT?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a fast-acting, highly effective form of talk therapy aimed at helping you reframe your way of thinking. This is because, according to CBT’s philosophy, mental health issues like anxiety are largely due to distorted thought patterns such as:

  • All-or-nothing thinking
  • Jumping to conclusions
  • Over-generalizing
  • Catastrophizing
  • “Filtering” situations to make them seem more negative than they are
  • Dismissing positive experiences
  • Assuming blame
  • Emotional reasoning: assuming that because you feel a certain way, it must be true

CBT’s goal is to give you the tools you need to improve your mental health and more effectively handle the challenges of daily life. It focuses on your current problems (rather than, say, their origin in your childhood), and offers practical solutions for tackling them. CBT techniques can help you address issues in a manageable way, and ease feelings of overwhelm.

Ultimately, the idea of this approach is to improve the quality of your relationships, work, and personal life. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be used to treat:

  • Addiction
  • Trauma (PTSD, sexual abuse)
  • Anxiety (generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety, panic disorder)
  • Depression (clinical depression, bipolar)
  • Disordered eating
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)

… and more.

How Long Does CBT Treatment Take?

If you decide to pursue CBT, you’ll likely meet with a therapist once a week, or every other week. The duration of your treatment could range anywhere from five to 20 weeks depending on the severity of your concerns and how much you’d like to cover. Sessions typically last for 30 to 60 minutes.

Another option is a new form of CBT, called intensive CBT or I-CBT. Intensive CBT consists of longer sessions (several hours long) over a shorter period of time.

In either case, you’ll receive “homework” from your therapist each time you meet: items to work on during the week between sessions. This could be completing a worksheet, practicing a new technique, or logging your thoughts and feelings in a journal to review with your therapist.

One of the most appealing benefits of cognitive-behavioral therapy is how fast-acting it is. Because it focuses on addressing the symptoms you currently face, not diving deeper into their origins, it’s relatively straightforward and easy to track your progress.

Easing symptoms of addiction and mental health disorders is useful. But it’s also important to keep in mind that in order to truly recover, we need to understand what’s causing these problems. At The Sanctuary, we integrate CBT into a larger, holistic treatment program that gets to the root cause and creates fundamental change.

Is CBT Effective in the Long-term?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy alone may not make your problems go away, but it can give you tools to make your day-to-day life less stressful. CBT is focused on helping you build these resources. You’ll have lasting knowledge of how to make better choices when it comes to difficult situations.

You’ll also have a chance to practice the new skills you learn while you’re still in therapy. As part of your treatment process, your therapist will guide you to apply techniques to real-life situations. You’ll then discuss what happened and get feedback and support in your next therapy session.

This therapy can achieve lasting results, and research shows that the benefits of CBT are sustained over time. But as with any treatment method, you get out what you put in. You can enhance the benefits of treatment by being honest with your therapist and yourself, keeping an open mind, and fully showing up to your sessions.

Individual and Group Therapy for Recovery at The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary offers a full range of therapies as part of our integrated holistic treatment program. CBT is just one of the many ways we empower you to take control of your mental health and your emotional wellbeing.

Contact us today to find out how you can take the first step towards creating the life you desire.

Kelley Alexander JD. photo

Kelley Alexander JD.  is the co-director of The Sanctuary at Sedona and has worked over the last decade to develop its innovative Integrative Addiction Recovery Program that has helped hundreds of clients to be recovered from addiction and co-occurring disorders. Through her pioneering work, Kelley and her team at The Sanctuary also work with clients to overcome issues related to codependency, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. A JD and former practicing attorney, Kelley holds a BA in World Religions and has done graduate work in psychology. She is an ordained minister, certified shamanic breathwork facilitator, and a graduate of the Four Winds Healing The Light Body School, the premier energy medicine program founded by Alberto Villoldo. Kelley has also been a student of Dr. Joe Dispenza since 2009. She is a member of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology and the Institute for Holistic Addiction Studies. She is a frequent lecturer at seminars and conferences throughout the United States.
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