At the Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh, we understand that every individual’s journey to mental health and well-being is unique. That’s why we offer a diverse range of therapeutic modalities to address a variety of emotional and psychological challenges. Among the many approaches available, you can explore several effective therapies including, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). These two therapies, CBT vs DBT, are often compared due to their distinct approaches and techniques, making them valuable tools in the mental health field. Additionally, we offer Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and Internal Family Systems (IFS). Each of these therapies has its own unique approach, making it important to explore the right fit for your specific needs and goals.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghSeptember 15, 2023 CBT, cognitive behavior therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR, IFS, Internal Family Systems, Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy0 comments
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is one of the cornerstones of psychotherapy, offering a structured approach to understanding and managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Our therapists work with you to identify negative thought patterns and empower you to replace them with healthier, more adaptive ones. CBT is effective for various mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and phobias. Through CBT, you will learn practical strategies to manage your symptoms and become your own therapist.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT, developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan, was initially designed for individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) but has since been adapted for other conditions. This therapy combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness and acceptance strategies. Our DBT program teaches you to regulate emotions, improve interpersonal skills, and increase distress tolerance. DBT’s unique dialectical approach encourages acceptance of oneself and the need for change simultaneously, making it particularly helpful for those struggling with intense emotional instability and self-destructive behaviors.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT is a mindfulness-based therapy that emphasizes accepting what is out of your control while committing to actions that enhance your life. Our therapists guide you in being mindful of your thoughts and feelings without judgment, helping you clarify your values and goals. ACT uses various mindfulness and behavioral techniques to help you let go of unhelpful thoughts and behaviors that stand in the way of living a meaningful life. This approach has proven effective for a wide range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is a specialized therapy primarily used for individuals who have experienced trauma. Developed by Francine Shapiro, EMDR facilitates the reprocessing of traumatic memories using bilateral stimulation, such as side-to-side eye movements or tapping. Our EMDR therapy helps you process traumatic experiences, reducing their emotional charge and integrating them into your life story. While EMDR is well-established for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it can also be beneficial for other trauma-related issues.
Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
TF-CBT is a specialized therapy designed for children and adolescents who have experienced trauma. Our TF-CBT program integrates cognitive-behavioral techniques with trauma-specific interventions, aiming to reduce trauma symptoms and improve overall functioning in young trauma survivors.
Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy
IFS is an innovative approach that focuses on understanding and harmonizing the various “parts” or subpersonalities within an individual’s mind. Our IFS therapy helps you explore and communicate with these inner parts, fostering self-awareness and healing. By acknowledging and working with these parts, individuals can achieve a sense of balance and self-compassion. IFS has been effective in addressing a wide range of issues, including trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship challenges.
At the Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh, we provide you with a variety of therapeutic modalities to support your journey toward mental health and well-being. Your path to healing is unique, and our experienced therapists are dedicated to helping you find the right approach that aligns with your specific needs and goals. Your journey to well-being starts here, and we are here to guide you every step of the way.
Ready to Get Started With Therapy?
Ready to embark on your therapeutic journey with CBT, DBT, or other therapies? Reach out at 412-856-WELL or complete the form below.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghMarch 9, 2023 anxiety, CBT, cognitive behavior therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, instrusive thoughts, obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd0 comments
Intrusive thoughts can occur at any time and are just as they sound—intrusive! Intrusive thoughts are thoughts that come out of nowhere, are involuntary, and can be difficult to get rid of. Common examples of intrusive thoughts include wondering if the doors are locked, if the stove or curling iron is turned off, or if people like you.
Everyone experiences intrusive thoughts at some point in their lives. For most people, intrusive thoughts come into their mind and seem to leave almost as quickly as they arrived. They can recognize the presence of the intrusive thought, acknowledge it, and take care of it, whether that’s by cognitively or behaviorally disproving it. They may check to make sure the door is locked and then don’t give the thought any more attention. Or they may simply remind themselves that “of course the door’s locked” and focus their thoughts on other things. For most people, intrusive thoughts are nothing more than a huge annoyance.
For some people, however, intrusive thoughts can be a symptom of a deeper issue. Intrusive thoughts can be characteristic of several mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In these cases, the intrusive thoughts are more than just annoying; they may cause severe emotional distress to the person or cause them to behave in erratic ways. For a person with OCD, for example, instead of dispelling the intrusive thought that the door is not locked by checking the door, the intrusive thought persists and can become a compulsion. For these individuals, the intrusive thoughts simply won’t go away.
Intrusive thoughts are different from hallucinations because they occur as thoughts and will typically present the way the person speaks. Hallucinations, on the other hand, sound as if someone else is speaking in your mind. Regardless of if you experience an occasional intrusive thought or experience them frequently as a symptom of a larger mental health issue, there are some things you can do:
- Acknowledge the thought and identify it as intrusive. When people try to ignore the thoughts or push them away, they typically occur more frequently. Has anyone ever told you not to think about something? I remember being told not to think about ice cream once. Suddenly, ice cream was all I could think about!
- Remember that you are “normal” and everyone has intrusive thoughts from time to time.
- Continue with your usual behavior.
- Practice mindfulness and meditation to help practice “refocusing” your thoughts. Many people find “grounding” – a therapeutic approach where you focus on connecting to the earth – helpful. This can be accomplished by simply looking around the environment for things you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell.
- Learn and practice Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) or another approach to reframe distorted thoughts.
- Receive professional treatment if intrusive thoughts persist or become bothersome. During your initial meeting, the clinician will usually ask about the frequency and intensity of the intrusive thoughts. They will also ask other questions to determine if the intrusive thoughts are symptomatic of an undiagnosed mental health condition. Sometimes a clinician will decide that medication may be the most appropriate way to treat intrusive thoughts.
Written by Rayeann Milne, Counseling Intern. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Rayeann, please call us at 412-322-2129.
Interested in Medication Management for Intrusive Thoughts?
If you’d like an assessment by our psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, please call us at 412-322-2129 or fill out the form below.
Bilodeau, K. (2021). Managing intrusive thoughts. Harvard Health Publishing.
Sreenivas, S. (2021). What are intrusive thoughts? WebMD.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJune 2, 2022 adult therapy, anxiety, CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive distortions, coping skills, counseling, depression, Emotional Health, emotional intelligence, emotional iq, exercise for gratitude, goals, gratitude, mental health, personal growth, therapists0 comments
Our therapists are here to offer mental wellness support with specific interventions to treat all major mental health disorders including anxiety, depression, grief and trauma as well as relationship issues or any life stressors that you are dealing with. We teach you new coping skills for a variety of relational, emotional, and psychological issues so that you can enjoy your life.
While each counselor has their own specialties and approaches to therapy, there are several key things that most therapists want you to know.
Read on for 10 things your therapist wants you to know.
- Talking to a friend is not a replacement for therapy—therapy is strategic, focused, and an application of scientific methods to heal. Friends can offer support and connection but can’t replace therapy.
- Therapy is a safe place where you can be yourself without feeling judged. We won’t judge your story.
- Healing doesn’t happen from attending a weekly appointment. You heal by applying the skills, solutions and methods that you discuss in therapy during all of the hours in between sessions.
- It is ok to tell us anything and everything you are experiencing or have experienced: feelings, thoughts, intentions, behaviors etc. You’d be surprised that what you are sharing is something we have most likely heard many times before and it is not shocking.
- We’re not irritated by reviewing the same information over and over. Change takes time and practice.
- Setbacks are just learning opportunities — we won’t be disappointed in you.
- It may get worse before it gets better. Talking about tough emotions, situations and past traumatic experiences may be painful at first but is necessary in order to process them and change.
- The opposite of depression isn’t happiness. Often times folks who experience clinical depression make an assumption that they continue to be depressed or are not getting better even after symptoms decrease because they are “not happy” (with life/career/partner). The marker they use to determine depression is happiness vs unhappiness. When people learn that happiness takes work, it can be freeing for them and they have an easier time accepting their progress.
- Therapy can be challenging. It is not easy. But first work on developing a therapeutic relationship with your therapist. Once you have a solid foundation, you are able to work through so much. Be patient with the process.
- We won’t say hello in public unless you do first.
It is an honor and privilege to be a part of this life journey with each and every client we see.
Interested in Starting Therapy?
If you are ready to start therapy, you can call us a 412-322-2129 or fill out the form below.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghMarch 4, 2019 Behavior Therapy, CBT, cognitive behavior therapy, Cognitive behavior therapy near me, cognitive distortions, Cognitive therapy, maladaptive assumptions0 comments
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is a common buzz word and psychological term, but what is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? According to the Beck Institute, In clinical terms, it is a specific theoretical therapy that is used as a psychological treatment. Since its creation in the 1960’s by Dr. Aaron Beck, CBT has been proven to help reduce the symptoms associated with a range of mental health concerns including diagnoses like Anxiety, Depression, Substance Abuse, PTSD, Marriage and Relationship issues as well as many other chronic mental health concerns. CBT has been clinically proven to be as effective as medication in many instances. At other times, CBT is a helpful adjunct to medication therapy. Specifically, CBT helps the patient or client to identify the ways in which their thoughts and behaviors contribute to their mental health concerns.
The basis for cognitive behavioral therapy is embedded in the idea that psychological problems are at least partially influenced by maladaptive thought patterns. Furthermore, CBT recognizes that mental health issues are further solidified within unhealthy patterns of behavior that make our mental state feel worse. Finally, CBT provides a way to manage this and develop more helpful and constructive ways of dealing with patients’ lives and the issues that come up in them.
Changing the way that we think has a profound effect on our well-being. Remembering; thoughts become feelings and our emotional state affects even our heart rate and breathing patterns. A common way to enact CBT involves several steps.
First the patient begins to recognize their distorted thinking patterns, particularly the ones that are “created” emotional reactions.
An example would be: ‘I always mess up relationships.’
The next step becomes to challenge the maladaptive thought with a more healthy or realistic thought. In the example above it would be helpful to examine the use of ‘always.’ Instead, a healthy way to frame the above thought might be to make the statement, ‘My last relationship didn’t work out but I learned a lot from it.’
By managing our thinking instead of being overcome by it we empower ourselves and set up a more positive feedback loop to our thoughts, feelings, mind/body connection and even into our relationships. Another benefit to CBT is that problem solving skills are enhanced. Cognitive behavioral therapy is very much focused on the present, in contrast to psychoanalytic counseling which will spend a lot of time fostering informed connections between early childhood experiences and present day defense mechanisms and mental health concerns. In CBT, your therapist is most concerned about what is happening in the here and now, and it is within the present moment that we have the opportunity to change.
The therapist and client collaborate in a mutual fashion by challenging unhealthy thinking, enhancing the development of positive emotional feedback loops and by planning for enhanced wellness. Just as with all forms of counseling, it is not just about the therapy that happens in the 53 minute hour, but CBT especially uses homework exercises to help the clients solidify the changes that they are working on. CBT is one of the most effective tools and some therapists will use it along with other forms of therapy to further benefit the clients’ needs.