A typical cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) session begins with setting an agenda of what will be discussed. You and the therapist will decide on the topics to put on the agenda. During the sessions, you will spend time identifying and confronting the thoughts, assumptions, and beliefs that contribute to your problems. You will be encouraged to experiment with new ideas and viewpoints. In addition, you will spend time challenging your old behaviours and trying out new ones.
CBT is much more than “talk therapy.” The therapist will act as a “coach,” helping you to learn techniques that will enable you to approach your problems in new ways. In addition to talking to your therapist about your problems, you will be asked to do homework each week. You and your therapist will develop the “homework” together. The amount of homework assigned will vary, but it typically consists of 30 minutes to 1 hour each day of some combination of monitoring your symptoms and thoughts, challenging your beliefs, and experimenting with new behaviours. There is scientific evidence that the completion of homework will help with learning new skills and improves the effectiveness of CBT.