CBT Background

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most widely used therapy for anxiety disorders because it addresses distortions, or the way negative thoughts (cognitions) create fearful views of situations that others view as “normal.” To the anxious individual, these negative thoughts evoke the “fight or flight” response; behavioral therapy identifies “triggers” that evoke negative reactions and behaviors. Only then can coping strategies begin.

At the TRAINOR Center, we apply CBT to help patients and their families understand that these fearful thoughts, not the situations themselves, affect perceptions. We work with patients and families to turn negative thoughts into positive ones by understanding “real” versus “silly” fears. As a supportive team, we identify and analyze harmful beliefs and replace them, step-by-step, with healthier outlooks.

What drives the change? Motivation to eliminate crippling fears and behaviors certainly helps. But since it takes practice to break patterns, children earn rewards for their efforts, and, along the way, desensitize themselves to their fears. As they become more independent, the youngsters develop new problem-solving skills for coping with all aspects of their lives. And families find relief from stressful family life.

Still, there is no “quick fix,” and at the TRAINOR Center, we partner with families to support this approach. Of course, various interventions, including medication may be recommended, depending on the specific disorder to be treated and individual circumstances.