Cognitive behavior therapy is one of the few forms of psychotherapy that has been scientifically tested and found to be effective in hundreds of clinical trials for many different disorders. In contrast to other forms of psychotherapy, cognitive therapy is usually more focused on the present, more time-limited, and more problem-solving oriented. In addition, patients learn specific skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. These skills involve identifying distorted thinking, modifying beliefs, relating to others in different ways, and changing behaviors.
At each therapy session, Chelsea will help patients specify the problems they have encountered during the week or that they expect to encounter in the current week. They she will collect data to identify the ideas and behaviors that have interfered with patients' ability to solve problems themselves. Chelsea will get patients actively engaged in deciding where to start working. Together, they develop an “action plan” or homework for patients (to do during the week) to implement solutions to problems or to make changes in their thinking and actions. This process gets patients actively involved in their own treatment; they begin to recognize that the way to get better is to make small changes in how they think and what they do every day. When treatment ends, patients are able to use the skills and tools they have learned in therapy in their day-to-day lives.
Many patients notice a decrease in their symptoms within a few weeks of therapy, or even sooner, if they have been faithfully attending sessions and doing the suggested assignments between sessions on a daily basis.