Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive Therapy

The Ottawa Centre for Cognitive Therapy provides cognitive therapy for Eating Disorders, Stress Management, Anxiety Disorders, Depression / Mood Disorders and Personality Disorders. The treatment services are organized into four clinics, each with a Director responsible for the Clinic Program Management. Clients may be assigned to one of a number of therapists at the Centre for Cognitive Therapy, depending on availability and a suitable match between therapist and client. Both male and female therapists are available.

Cognitive Therapy is a relatively modern form of psychotherapy developed in the 1950’s and 60’s by Drs. Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck. It was originally developed as an alternative to the psychoanalytic approach developed by Freud. Since then it has been proven to be effective for a variety of disorders in numerous clinical trials and outcome studies. Dr. Arthur Blouin and Dr. Jane Blouin have contributed to this research, having published cognitive therapy outcome studies in eating disorders.

When is it used?

Cognitive Therapy is one of the most effective treatments for conditions where anxiety or depression is the main problem. It is the most effective psychological treatment for mild, moderate and severe depression and is as effective as antidepressants for many types of depression. Often Cognitive Therapy and medication (anti-depressants or anti-anxiety drugs) can be used together. When anti-depressants are used for depression, and cognitive therapy is added to the treatment, the results are more effective and longer lasting. Many think that cognitive and behavioral approaches to anxiety are superior in the long term to the use of medication. Cognitive therapy has been found effective for disorders other than depression and anxiety. It is also effectively used for eating disorders and personality problems. It has been at the forefront of treatment approaches to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It has also been adapted for use in relationships. It is considered effective for children, adolescents and adults.

The Sessions

CBT can be done individually or in groups of people. In individual therapy, clients will usually meet with a therapist for between 5 and 20, weekly sessions. Each session will last between 30 and 60 minutes. Sometimes people will meet with a therapist weekly at the beginning and as therapy progresses, space the appointments out to once every 2 weeks or once a month in follow-up. In the first 2-4 sessions, the therapist will check that this sort of treatment will benefit the client and the client can check that they feel comfortable with it. Clients decide what they would like to address in the short, medium and long term. The client and the therapist will usually start by agreeing on what to discuss that day.

Group sessions in cognitive therapy are often a little more structured than individual sessions. The initial phases of group therapy are often consist of a significant amount of education, then as the sessions progress, the group members get an opportunity to apply what has been learned. Some groups are very focused, addressing a particular disorder (eating disorders) while others can be more general. One advantage to groups is the ability to interact with others with similar problems. Often groups ask for a commitment of a specific number of weekly sessions.

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