The focus of cognitive therapy methods is less how the patient acts. Rather, their attitudes, thoughts, evaluations, and beliefs are important. The patient should learn to change their perspectives and reactions to events and things, i.e. to actively shape them. People with depression can use this to replace negative thoughts with more rational ones. People with psychosomatic illnesses can reduce or correct distorted body perception and misinterpretations of body perceptions.
Common techniques include collecting and recording thoughts that come up automatically, and arguing against them. In addition, the patient learns “reality testing” and “DE catastrophic” thoughts.
What mental health problems can behavioral therapy help with?
Behavior therapy offers help when thinking, feeling, experiencing or acting is disturbed. It is suitable for adults as well as for children and young people.
It has proven particularly useful for depression and anxiety (phobias, panic attacks), as well as for eating disorders, addictions and compulsions. Therapists also use them to help after trauma (e.g. after accidents or abuse), self-confidence problems, and stress-related illnesses such as burnout and life crises. Behavioral therapy itself dispenses with medication. However, it can also supplement accompanying drug and other medical treatments.
How long does behavioral therapy last?
In the case of outpatient psychotherapy in statutory health insurance, there have been so-called short-term therapies and long-term therapies until now. Depending on the length, the average length varied between 25 and 45 hours, with a therapy hour being approximately 50 minutes. Normally one session per week takes place during an ongoing therapy. But some problems can also be solved more quickly, for example only ten hours are necessary. The health insurance companies pay a maximum of 80 hours of therapy.
Where can I find a good therapist?
There is a search function for therapists, for example, on the Internet portals of the American Association of Psychotherapists and the American Academy of Psychology. Behavioral therapists are psychotherapists with a certificate of expertise in behavioral therapy. They are psychologists or physicians by their basic training. (Social) educators can become psychotherapists for children and young people. However, in addition to their “basic job”, everyone has to complete a three to five-year additional course in psychotherapy.
The professional title “Psychotherapist” is protected by law. It may only be worn by therapists who have a professional license (approbation) based on the Psychotherapist Act or as a doctor with appropriate additional training.
Factors for the success of therapy
The expert can assess what is the right form of therapy or combination in individual cases. However, it is just as important as the form of therapy that the relationship between patient and therapist is right. If the patient feels in good hands when talking to a therapist, an important prerequisite for the success of the therapy has been met.