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Evidence-Based Therapy

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Developed by Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s and rising to popularity during the 1970s, Cognitive Behavior therapy (CBT) is a short-term, evidence-based psychotherapy that comprises behavior therapy and cognitive therapy. Behavior therapy traces its roots to early work done by Ivan Pavlov in the early 1900s and gained prominence in the 1950s. 

Through a partnership with Cognitive & Behavioral Consultants, LLC (CBC), APF will offer cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for children, adolescents, and adults who need help managing their emotions and overcoming problems in their lives.

CBT is a comprehensive system of psychotherapy that goes beyond mere self-exploration to help clients learn specialized skills in order to reduce symptoms and problems, improve quality of life, and achieve life goals. CBT is based on the premise that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors influence each other, and in doing so, bring on and maintain negative emotions and psychological problems. Accordingly, CBT approaches help to prevent and treat psychological problems by targeting three main areas to help clients:

  1. Identify and label emotions and learn many strategies to accept and regulate emotions
  2. Become aware and learn a variety of skills to accept and change unhelpful thoughts that cause and maintain negative emotions and behaviors
  3. Become aware and learn a variety of skills to change behaviors that cause and maintain problematic thoughts and emotions, and prevent clients from leading fulfilling lives

An Effective Method of Treatment For a Variety of Disorders

Thousands of research studies conducted by researchers across the world have shown that CBT is effective in addressing a wide range of problems in children, adolescents, and adults, including depression, anxiety and related disorders (e.g., stress, social anxiety, specific phobias, panic disorder, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, separation anxiety, selective mutism, school refusal), anger problems, problems of inattention, impulsivity or defiance (e.g., ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder), habit disorders (e.g., trichotillomania, skin picking), procrastination, difficulties in problem solving or decision making, social skills problems, somatic problems (e.g., somatic symptom disorder, illness anxiety disorder), thought disorders, eating disorders (e.g., anorexia, bulimia, binge eating), and family/relationship problems. Importantly, CBT has demonstrated success when administered alone, and in combination with medication. Furthermore, research has demonstrated that people who undergo CBT maintain their gains over time even after they stop therapy.

What Is Dialectic Behavioral Therapy?

What is DBT in a nutshell? DBT strategically blends behavior therapy (change orientation) with validation (acceptance orientation). DBT teaches all of us that we are doing the best we can AND at the same time we need to learn alternative ways to manage our problems more effectively. Learning how to think and act dialectically helps individuals achieve a more balanced lifestyle which ultimately helps people move toward having a life that feels more meaningful and worth living.

Distress, emotional pain, interpersonal difficulties and behavioral problems such as overeating, undereating, using substances, self-injuring, losing emotional and behavioral control, socially withdrawing or avoiding school or work, can make it incredibly difficult to function normally and lead a life that feels meaningful and worthwhile. DBT targets the issues that cause distress and teaches skills to deal with them without having to resort to maladaptive behaviors.

Developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD, DBT  was originally introduced in 1991 as a treatment for suicidal and self-injurious individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Individuals with BPD are extremely sensitive and reactive to their emotions which often lead to actions such as self-injury, angry outbursts or abruptly ending important relationships. Although these actions temporarily reduce emotional pain, they often wind up causing other problems that can make life even more difficult.

An Effective Treatment For Multi-Problem Individuals

More than forty different research studies conducted around the world have demonstrated that DBT is an effective treatment for multi-problem individuals. Both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association currently consider DBT to be a first-line treatment for BPD.

As a result of DBT’s success in treating adults with BPD, our partners at CBC began adapting DBT for suicidal and self-harming adolescents and their families and has now become the only evidence-based treatment for suicidal adolescents. DBT has also been modified for broader use with adolescents with other psychological problems (e.g. impulsivity, disordered eating, substance use, and anger management, to name a few) as well as other settings (e.g. schools, medical settings).

Neuropsychological and Educational Testing and Evaluation

Neuropsychological evaluations are used to evaluate a wide range of brain functions and skills that may be affecting learning or behavior. These evaluations can be used to provide a comprehensive understanding of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses among their cognitive, academic, socioemotional and behavioral functioning. Additionally, neuropsychological evaluations can provide important information to inform diagnosis and treatment planning, as well as recommendations for appropriate academic and therapeutic supports.

A neuropsychological evaluation consists of an intake session, several assessment sessions, a feedback session and a school feedback meeting for school-aged children.

Throughout the evaluation process, an individual is assessed across multiple cognitive domains including:

  • Intellectual functioning
  • Receptive, Expressive and Metalinguistic Language Development
  • Visual Motor Integration and Fine Motor Skills
  • Executive Functioning and Attention
  • Learning and Memory
  • Academics (Reading, Writing, Mathematics)
  • Social, emotional, behavioral and adaptive functioning

As part of the evaluation process, consultations are offered to help establish a learning plan to support the student’s success.

We offer comprehensive English, Spanish, and bilingual Spanish-English evaluations.

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