Residents in Washington, D.C., have access to a wide variety of resources to help them take charge of their mental health. As a busy metro area, D.C. is notorious as the home of on-the-go individuals, whether tackling work projects or running errands throughout the day.
It’s no surprise, then, that a large portion of D.C. residents deal with high-stress levels on a consistent basis. However, cognitive behavioral therapy in D.C. can help to bring this stress under control and make lasting changes to one’s stress responses and coping mechanisms.
This article uncovers specific CBT strategies tailored to help D.C. locals manage and overcome stress and anxiety in their daily lives.
What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychological approach that ties in talk therapy with personalized strategies that each individual can do on their own whenever they need to.
The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to equip a person with the skills, techniques, and awareness they need to identify what is causing their problems.
This way, they can confidently address those challenges using methods they have learned and practiced. This puts the power of change directly into the individual’s hands rather than tying it to a therapist’s skills.
How CBT Empowers People
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, empowers people to take their mental health into their own hands and exert control over their stressors. It can accomplish this goal in numerous ways.
CBT focuses on actively engaging a patient in their own state of being. They directly acknowledge and name what is happening (e.g., “I feel stressed”) so that they can explore what is causing the situation (e.g., “I feel stressed because I anticipated getting to work on time, but there was a car accident that interfered with my plans”). Taking an active role in one’s feelings is the first step toward being able to redirect them.
Focus on Practical Skills
Unlike other types of therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy gives patients tangible skills to utilize. For instance, if a stress response occurs, an individual may know through CBT to write the incident in their journal or begin belly breathing — a form of breath management that reduces adrenaline and slows the heart rate.
These practical skills provide a direct means of addressing the stressor rather than relying solely on mental rationalization.
One of the best elements of CBT is that it is customized for each person and their unique needs. Some may find that journaling is cumbersome and doesn’t really help, so their practical skills will focus on other methods that appeal to them and resonate with them.
This can leave patients feeling empowered to tackle their challenges in ways that make sense to them and leave them feeling in control.
A Goal-Oriented Approach
Because of its focus on practical skills, cognitive behavioral therapy is goal-oriented. Some other types of therapy may serve as safe spaces to explore concepts or share feelings, but they do not provide tangible methodologies to address these feelings.
CBT focuses on goals and establishing measurable, consistent metrics for achieving them. For instance, a viable goal may be spending at least 15 minutes daily on stress-reducing techniques.
Alternatively, perhaps someone would choose a goal such as practicing stress-control methods so that they describe their stress as “under control” within ten minutes of a stressful incident.
Over time, this goal may be refined to “within five minutes,” “within three minutes,” and so on. Be sure to set goals that are measurable, reasonable, and as specific as possible.
A Medication-Free Option
Many D.C. residents who are facing stress are concerned about treating it because they believe that they will need to take medication to manage their mood.
However, cognitive behavioral therapy does not rely on medication and instead uses a person’s own habits, viewpoints, and ideologies to develop strategic, practical skills that resonate with them.
This prevents the need to spend money on medication and instead equips a person with long-term viable skills to manage their stress in a broad range of situations.
Reach Out to a Professional Cognitive Behavioral Therapist in Washington D.C.
Living in Washington, D.C., can be a recipe for high-stress levels, but that stress does not have to control your life.
Utilizing the strategies learned and practiced through cognitive behavior therapy, D.C. residents have seen great success in managing their stress levels and finding joy and peace even amid the hustle and bustle.
The team at Aquila Recovery Clinic can help you develop stress reduction skills or other strategies to address the mental health challenges you are facing in your life. Contact Aquila Recovery Clinic to schedule cognitive behavioral therapy.