It can be challenging: the way people get better is by making small changes in their lives every day. The collaborative ‘Action Plan’ designed with the therapist will allow a client to practice the new skills learned between sessions. Regular Action Plan completion is associated with better results in CBT.
Therapists and clients work together to make the treatment effective: Therapists and client work together to decide to set the agenda for each session, how much time to devote to each issue being discussed and what interventions would be most helpful.
It takes time: Although CBT is time-sensitive, clients often see improvement more quickly than with other types of therapy. Instantaneous results shouldn’t be expected. Continuing to attend scheduled therapy sessions and completing your Action Plan between sessions helps clients to feel better faster.
Honesty is critical: CBT therapists often seek feedback from clients on what you are finding beneficial or unhelpful about treatment and whether there’s anything they may have gotten wrong. Be honest with your therapist. This is critical information that can help them improve their treatment plan and benefit you in the long run.
CBT sessions are highly structured: If as a client you have tried other types of therapy, you may be used to a loose session structure, where you relate whatever is on your mind with minimal intervention by the therapist. CBT therapists maximize and direct appointment session time by structuring the time spent to make sure that the client’s most pressing problems get solved and most important goals are met. If you are having difficulty adjusting to the structured nature of a CBT session, you should discuss this with the therapist.
Sometimes CBT clients need medication, and that is okay: CBT is often used concurrently with medication, especially for more serious mental health conditions like bipolar mood disorder and schizophrenia. CBT could help you manage your medication and can facilitate honest conversations about medication preferences with your prescribing doctor.