Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

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Duke experts offer a wide range of cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT) to help adults identify and change thinking and behaviors that cause mental health problems. We use CBT to treat mood disorders, anxiety, trauma-related issues, impulse-control disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and other common and complex mental health conditions. Our therapists work with you to understand your values and goals and create a treatment plan designed to help you live a fulfilling, productive life.

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Nonjudgmental, Compassionate Care for Mental Health Disorders

Whether you are experiencing mood disorders, anxiety, stress, or relationship problems, cognitive behavioral therapy can help you feel comfortable and ready to make changes.

We work closely with people who have never sought mental health treatment before, as well as with those who have complex problems that have not been treated successfully with medication or other treatments. We can help you if you have more than one mental health diagnosis, and if you have significant mental health problems such as chronic depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We help you manage your condition and learn ways to change your thinking and behavior so you can enjoy a productive life.

Our Locations
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Treatments

Cognitive behavioral therapies take many forms. We personalize your treatment so that it targets your concerns. Ongoing treatment usually includes weekly 45-minute visits. We monitor your daily behavior and help you practice new ways of living between your visits. Examples of specific types of cognitive behavioral therapies are below.

CBT for Depression, Bipolar, and Mood Disorders

We use cognitive therapy to identify and change thinking habits. Behavioral therapy is designed to improve your mood by increasing your activity in events that are pleasing or have personal meaning.

CBT for Anxiety Disorders

If you experience social phobia, panic disorder, or a specific phobia, we help you learn to change how you react emotionally, behaviorally, and cognitively to the identified triggers of your anxiety. 

Prolonged Exposure

Helps you process traumatic events and reduce trauma-induced psychological disturbances. Research shows prolonged exposure therapy can result in significant improvement in PTSD symptoms.

Cognitive Processing Therapy

Helps you understand and come to terms with the traumatic event that led to your PTSD. We help you understand why the event occurred and how it affects your beliefs about yourself, people around you, and the world in general. 

Exposure and Response Prevention

In a safe environment, we gradually expose you to the triggers of your obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) while preventing the compulsions from occurring. This teaches you how to disrupt the automatic habits of OCD and begin living your life more freely.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Helps you regulate your emotions when you experience chronic difficulties. Often used to help people with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. Your dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT) may include a weekly skills group where you learn skills in mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. It may also include weekly individual therapy where you learn to problem-solve. Telephone consultation calls with your therapist help you apply these skills to every day life.

Mindfulness-Based Therapies

Teaches you to experience and respond to unwanted thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in a constructive way. Mindfulness-based interventions give you the tools to live in the present moment with less emotional suffering and more connection to personal values. Not only does Duke offer individual mindfulness-based psychotherapy, but there is also an eight-week program in which participants gather in a group setting to learn cognitive behavioral techniques and mindfulness exercises. Find out more about the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) group.

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Tests

Comprehensive Evaluation

We gather information on your medical history, psychological history, goals, and values, then work closely with you to create a CBT treatment plan that has clear targets for change. We help you understand how your problems developed, what fuels them, and how we can work together to change them. We also provide evaluations to people who are not requesting treatment.

CBT Assessment

We conduct periodic assessments to measure your progress and ensure we are working together toward a successful outcome.

Consistently Ranked Among the Nation’s Best Hospitals
In addition, Duke University Hospital is proud to be named the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 10 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.

Compassionate Care, Proven Results

A Personalized Approach
There are many types of cognitive behavioral therapies. We recommend the one that is specific to your needs.

Proven Results
We use therapies that have been proven through research and clinical trials to significantly reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Specialist Referrals
Specific types of mental health disorders -- such as schizophrenia, anorexia, and severe addiction -- require specialized treatments. They may also require inpatient or partial hospitalization. Our Duke colleagues are experts in these areas. We also provide referrals to patients under the age of 18 or cases involving legal proceedings. If our comprehensive evaluation finds that you will benefit from one of our specific clinics, we facilitate your referral so you can start your individualized treatment as quickly as possible.