Every client is an individual and has unique treatment goals and considerations. Therefore, there is no one number of CBT sessions that will fit for everyone. However, studies have shown that as little as 3 to 12 sessions may be effective in treating mild anxiety or depression. Some clients prefer to continue meeting with me for a while once they have learned the CBT skills to ensure that they feel confident continuing to implement these skills on their own outside of session.
As stated above, sometimes CBT may involve the therapist assigning some “homework” for clients to work on in between sessions. I believe that CBT is the same as all other forms of therapy — you will get out of it as much as you put into it. I have seen clients implement every single technique that they were taught very quickly, complete all homework assignments, and report to me that their lives have completely changed for the better (and fairly quickly, too!). My goal is never to overwhelm clients, so I always check in throughout our session and see if you feel like we are moving too quickly or as if I am providing too much work in between sessions. I never want you to feel overworked during this process or add any additional stress into your life.
CBT does require you to take a look at and explore your distressing thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. While this can be triggering and may bring up some uncomfortable feelings — the goal of CBT is to let you process these feelings, and then we can move on to examine them in an objective way. I will also implement relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, guided meditations, or progressive muscle relaxations as appropriate to ensure that you are not feeling overly distressed or uncomfortable as we process your emotions.
While CBT can be helpful for a variety of different conditions and types of clients, it may not be the best fit for everyone. If you do not enjoy structure and prefer more spontaneity in your sessions, then CBT may not be the right fit for you. However, I do offer other types of therapeutic modalities that are less structured and directive than CBT — so we can always discuss other options if you are interested in working with me, but just not interested in doing CBT.
Though you will never truly know if CBT treatment will work for you without trying it, research has shown CBT to be highly effective for a variety of different conditions. It is also a great starting point for those that may be new to therapy. CBT can provide you with an array of coping skills that you can learn in therapy and continue to implement in your daily life, long after our time in therapy together is over.