Where would  we  be  without  therapy? 

D  e  b  o  r  a  h   A.   M  a  r  t  i  n, Inc.

 Licensed Clinical Social Workers and Associates

Therapies Part 1

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties, and so change the way they feel. It is used to help treat a wide range of issues in a person’s life, from sleeping difficulties or relationship problems, to drug and alcohol abuse or anxiety and depression


CBT works by changing people’s attitudes and their behavior by focusing on the thoughts, images, beliefs and attitudes that are held (a person’s cognitive processes) and how these processes relate to the way a person behaves, as a way of dealing with emotional problems.


An important advantage of cognitive behavioral therapy is that it tends to be short, taking five to ten months for most emotional problems. Clients attend one session per week, each session lasting approximately 50 minutes. During this time, the client and therapist are work together to understand what the problems are and develop new strategies for tackling them. CBT introduces patients to a set of principles that they can apply whenever they need to, and that’ll last them a lifetime.


Cognitive behavioral therapy can be thought of as a combination of psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. Psychotherapy emphasizes the importance of the personal meaning we place on things and how thinking patterns begin in childhood. Behavioral therapy pays close attention to the relationship between our problems, our behavior and our thoughts. Most psychotherapists who practice CBT personalize and customize the therapy to the specific needs and personality of each patient.


CBT can be an effective therapy for the following problems:

  • anger management
  • anxiety and panic attacks
  • child and adolescent problems
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • chronic pain
  • depression
  • drug or alcohol problems
  • eating problems
  • general health problems
  • habits, such as facial tics
  • mood swings
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • phobias
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • sexual and relationship problems
  • sleep problems

Substance Abuse Treatment

SAT can have many different kinds of professionals provide treatments for substance use disorders. In most treatment programs, the main caregivers are specially trained individuals certified or licensed as substance abuse treatment counselors. About half these counselors are people who are in recovery themselves. Many programs have staff from several different ethnic or cultural groups. Most treatment programs assign patients to a treatment team of professionals. 

Depending on the type of treatment, teams can be made up of social workers, counselors, doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, or other professionals. What Will Happen First? Everyone entering treatment receives a clinical assessment. A complete assessment of an individual is needed to help treatment professionals offer the type of treatment that best suits him or her. The assessment also helps program counselors work with the person to design an effective treatment plan. Although clinical assessment continues throughout a person’s treatment, it starts at or just before a person’s admission to a treatment program. 

The counselor will begin by gathering information about the person, asking many questions such as those about • Kinds, amount, and length of time of substance or alcohol use 6 • Cultural issues around use of alcohol or drugs • Effects of drug or alcohol use on the person’s life • Medical history • Current medical problems or needs • Current medications (including pain medication) • Mental health issues or behavioral problems • Family and social issues and needs • Legal or financial problems • Educational background and needs • Current living situation and environment • Employment history, stability, problems, and needs • School performance, problems, and needs, if relevant • Previous treatment experiences or attempts to quit drug or alcohol use. The counselor may invite you, as a family member, to answer questions and express your own concerns as well. Be honest—this is not the time to cover up your loved one’s behavior. 

The counselor needs to get a full picture of the problem to plan and help implement the most effective treatment. It is particularly important for the counselor to know whether your family member has any serious medical problems or whether you suspect that he or she may have an emotional problem. 

You may feel embarrassed answering some of these questions or have difficulty completing the interview, but remember: the counselor is there to help you and your loved one. 

Child Parent Psychotherapy

CPP is an intervention model for children aged 0-5 who have experienced at least one traumatic event and/or are experiencing mental health, attachment, and/or behavioral problems, including posttraumatic stress disorder. The treatment is based in attachment theory but also integrates psychodynamic, developmental, trauma, social learning, and cognitive behavioral theories. 


Therapeutic sessions include the child and parent or primary caregiver. The primary goal of CPP is to support and strengthen the relationship between a child and his or her caregiver as a vehicle for restoring the child's cognitive, behavioral, and social functioning. Treatment also focuses on contextual factors that may affect the caregiver-child relationship.



Insight Therapy

Insight Therapy is a type of psychotherapy in which the therapist helps their patient understand how their feelings, beliefs, actions, and events from the past are influencing their current mindset. Importance is placed on the relationship between the therapist and the patient with the therapist identifying behavioral patterns from the patient's past that could be affecting their behavior and relationships at the present time.

The therapist helps the patient gain insight into their past that can be used to address issues that are currently happening. For example, a therapist has a patient with low self esteem issues. Through talking and analyzing the patient's past the therapist would help the patient identify the causes for their low self esteem (being bullied as a child, non-supportive parents, weight issues) and how these past scenarios are affecting their behavior and feelings in the present. The therapist would then direct the patient to methods of avoiding these negative thought patterns and directing them towards more positive ways of thinking. By gaining insight about their past the patient can alleviate problems in the present. 

Play Therapy

Play therapy responds to the unique developmental needs of young children, who often express themselves better through play activities than through verbal communication. The therapist uses play and other creative activities to communicate with the child and observe how the child uses these activities to express thoughts and feelings that are not expressed in words. There are two approaches to play therapy:

  1. Nondirective play therapy is based on the principle that children can resolve their own issues given the right conditions and the freedom to play with limited instruction and supervision.
  2. Directive play therapy uses more input from the therapist to help speed up results. Play therapists use both approaches, depending on the circumstances.

What to Look for in a Play Therapist

Play therapists are well-trained in child development, attachment, and the use of play as a way to communicate with children. The play therapist should also be trained in a recognized therapeutic approach, such as child-centered, cognitive-behavioral, Adlerian, or Gestalt therapy. In addition to finding someone with the appropriate educational background and relevant experience, look for a therapist with whom you feel comfortable working on personal and family issues.