For those who want to know a bit more about our theoretical foundations, we provide an interpersonal approach to the practice of empirically- supported treatments and offer a variety of evidenced-based therapies including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and schema therapy. We apply the principles of evidence-based treatments while considering all aspects of our clients’ lives by utilizing a relational frame.
A Relational Approach to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
A common myth is that CBT does not prioritize the importance of the therapeutic relationship. The psychotherapy field has become split into two major schools of thought—psychodynamic therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. The common misconception is that the former prioritizes the therapeutic relationship and takes a more relational approach. While the latter, CBT, prioritizes the client’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Although some CBT therapists do not explicitly focus on the therapeutic relationship or on making interpretations about the dynamic between the client and the therapist, the Bay Area CBT Center aims to integrate these two schools of thought in a consistent way by emphasizing a relational approach to cognitive behavioral therapy.
What does this mean?
Simply put, we combine notions from both interpersonal and cognitive behavioral therapies. We believe that relationships in your every day life, as well as your relationship with your therapist, are of central importance and are primary motivators for behavioral change.
People require genuine, supportive connections and relationships. It is an essential human need. Yet, these relationships can maintain and even exacerbate psychological conditions. The way we interact with others around us preserves and reinforces anxiety, depression, trauma, OCD, chronic pain, among other disorders and conditions. And just as our relationships impact our moods, our moods also impact our relationships.
This is why it is fundamental that we aspire to establish authentic, healthy interactions and maintain them. Studies show that individuals who identify having a stable, supportive relationship in their lives are physically, mentally, and psychologically healthier, and actually live longer.
In relational CBT, your therapist uses himself/herself as a tool to motivate, reinforce, and experiment with new behaviors and explore their outcome with you. The therapeutic relationship is used as a safe space to practice new behaviors as a model for other healthy relationships. The therapist and client discuss the behaviors that the client wants to work on in his/her relationships. Through cognitive behavioral approaches, those behaviors are identified and explored openly and honestly when they arise with the therapist. Additionally, the therapist encourages the client, to practice newly learned skills in an emotionally activated state. With the trust and collaboration of the therapist, the client can practice new behaviors, for example, being assertive, saying no, making a request, setting a boundary, etc. in an authentic environment.
At the Bay Area CBT Center, our goal is to help you become the healthiest you strive to be. We trust in your ability to make changes for the better.