Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) are both utilized at my practice. Both treatments are research based and empirically validated.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is based, at its core, on behavior therapy, in that there is a stimulus that leads to a response. We can shape behaviors by reinforcing certain responses and punishing certain responses. When you reinforce a response it is more likely to happen again and when you punish a response it is less likely to occur in the future. The “cognitive” aspect of CBT recognizes how a stimulus affects our thoughts (cognitions) and our feelings. Therefore, a negative stimulus (such as a punch in the face) will bring about negative thoughts about the person who hit you, or self-deprecating thoughts (“I should have fought back”) and distressing feelings, such as rage. One of the basic concepts in CBT is that we will try to help you respond more adaptively to a stimulus that would normally lead to distressing feelings and/or maladaptive behaviors.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is also based on behavior therapy, in that there is a stimulus that leads to a response. In fact, it is considered “the third wave” of behavior therapy. However, ACT approaches change in a different way. Rather than trying to change the unwanted feeling, the idea is to accept the feeling. Over time these
intense, distressing feelings become more tolerable and as a “side effect” it seems they are experienced less often. ACT uses mindfulness meditation to help one learn to live in the present moment, even if that moment feels quite uncomfortable.