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Psychology/Mental Health Information

What is CBT?

CBT stands for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, and is an approach that focuses on a person's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. CBT is not a specific technique; rather it is a general term for an approach that recognizes the important role our thinking has in how we feel and what we do. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), cognitive therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) are just a few of the approaches that are considered cognitive-behavioral in nature.
This kind of goal focused therapy centers on the here and now, and produces tangible results. Patients are encouraged to examine the way they are thinking, and when appropriate, to make actual changes to their behavior in order to improve their situation. Patients are often given "homework", and people say that they can see and feel real progress.
There is empirical evidence that CBT is effective for a variety of psychological problems, including depression, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and personality disorders.

What is DBT?

DBT stand for Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and it is a kind of cognitive-behavioral therapy. DBT has four basic precepts, which are mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance. Through DBT, patients can learn to live in the moment, learn to be be assertive, learn techniques for better managing emotions, and learn better ways of tolerating stressful situations.

What is OCD?

OCD stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. This is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, and/or sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions). Often the person carries out the behaviors to get rid of the obsessive thoughts, but this only provides temporary relief. Not performing the obsessive rituals can cause great anxiety.
This is thought to be the result of "crossed wiring" in the brain, and empirical evidence supports the use of a combination of medication and cognitive-behavior therapy. It is noteworthy that some forms of traditional psychotherapy are not effective at relieving symptoms of OCD. It is critical that people with OCD receive treatment that is specific to OCD from a fully qualified therapist.

What is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)

Therapy specifically for OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) will most likely employ cognitive therapy, and Exposure and Response Prevention, or ERP. This is a technique in which the patient is exposed to objects or situations that trigger obsessions, which in turn arouses anxiety. Over time, there is less and less anxiety in the presence of the object/situation, which is called habituation. The response prevention refers to preventing the rituals/behaviors that people with OCD engage in to reduce anxiety, and patients are taught how to resist these rituals.
Studies documenting the benefits of ERP have found that 75% of OCD patients experienced improvement in their symptoms during treatment, and the majority maintained these benefits two-three years post-treatment.

What is trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is the repetitive pulling out of one's hair, which can result in noticeable hair loss, and significant distress in daily functioning. Often the person feels stress when pulling hair, or when resisting the behavior, and often they feel some measure of pleasure or relief while hair pulling. Sometimes people pull hair from less visible areas, yet it can still result in impairment in functioning and leading a well adjusted lifestyle.
There are other disorders that are similar that also involve body-focused repetitive behavior, such as skin picking or nail biting, and respond similarly to treatment. Again, empirical evidence supports the use of various cognitive-behavioral models to treat trichotillomania and other body-focused repetitive behaviors.
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