Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Treatment of Depression, Anxiety, Fears and Anger

NYC Psychologist, Westchester Psychotherapist

Using cognitive behavioral therapy in New York, Westchester and Greenwich for many years, I find that it is effective for overcoming negative psychological states, troubling symptoms, and harmful habits or behaviors. As a cognitive behavioral therapist in Manhattan, White Plains and Greenwich, I find that CBT is especial useful in treating clinical depression, anxiety, trauma, fears and more. Cognitive behavioral techniques are a helpful adjunct in individual psychotherapy, couples therapy, stress and anger management counseling. Licensed clinical psychologist and cognitive behavioral therapist, Robert M. Fraum, Ph.D. provides consultation and CBT in Midtown Manhattan (NYC) and in Westchester (White Plains), New York and Greenwich, CT.


Cognitive Behavioral Psychology

How we perceive and think about things influences our how we feel and react to our world. Likewise, our habits and behavioral reactions, especially how we act when we are under stress, play an important role in who we are to our selves and others.

Cognitive science supplies principles derived from the study of thinking, learning and dysfunction. Cognitive psychologists emphasize the role of distorted thinking in the development of psychological symptoms and conditions. Cognitive therapists help people correct irrational thinking patterns, distorted perceptions, dysfunctional emotional reactions and teach clients more effective ways to respond.

Scientific behavioral psychology provides behavior modification principles derived from classical conditioning, operant conditioning and social learning theory to directly change a client's behaviors and emotional responses. Traditional behaviorist used to limit their therapeutic activities to the study and treatment of observable behavior. Modern behavioral psychologists take a broader view of psychological problems and treatment.

Cognitive-behavioral psychology focuses in upon the mechanics of thinking and behavior. Cognitive behavioral treatment addresses itself to the formation and treatment of psychological symptoms. Its proven effectiveness, I find, makes cognitive behavioral therapy the best treatment for Anger, Anxiety and Depressive Disorders. At the minimum, it is a useful part of a multimodal comprehensive treatment plan aimed at optimizing therapy outcomes and shortening the length of treatment for my clients.

Traditional humanistic and psychodynamic psychotherapy are systematic approaches which provide powerful psychological perspectives for understanding and treating the whole person across a wide range of problems and situations. However, they are relatively weak in providing specific techniques for dealing with certain symptoms and psychological conditions.

Definition and Clinical Indications for Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy Treatment

"Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy" is an omnibus term used to describe an array of related cognitive and behavioral concepts and techniques used to modify cognition and behaviors that create psychological problems. In actual practice, most cognitive behavioral psychologists and counselors find themselves selecting from cognitive and behavioral treatment techniques that are most relevant to their client's particular clinical needs.

Psychologists find Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression, Anxiety, Rage and certain Psychological Disorders to produce superior therapeutic outcomes. Here are some mental health issues which respond well to CBT.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety Disorders: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder (Panic Attacks), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Social Phobia and Specific Phobia

Fear and anxiety are built in to our biology to help us adapt and survive as a species. In moderation, they can increase motivation and performance and even season our enjoyment of normal activities and pleasures in life. However, when clinical symptoms of anxiety increase to the point of rendering us unhappy or dysfunctional on an ongoing basis, we are dealing with an anxiety disorder, fear or phobia.

Fear can hijack the thinking process, and chronic anxiety can bias one's worldview and self-concept. An Anxiety Disorder can become a major focus of a person's life, and anxiety reduction can become a driving need that compels us to avoid or to do harmful or unnecessary things. (For more on fears and anxiety, please see the Anxiety Disorders page.)

Cognitive-behavioral psychologists view the clinical levels of anxiety, fear and tension that accompany Anxiety Disorders as learned responses to actual experience. Clinically anxious individuals display heightened self-absorption and demoralization as well as reduced problem solving and task performance ability. They anticipate danger or harm and are questioning and anxiously uncertain about the future. Thinking and acting in this manner is considered to be the primary cause of clinical anxiety.

Psychotherapy researchers generally find Cognitive Behavioral therapy for GAD, Panic Attacks, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Social Phobia and Specific Phobia to be the treatment of choice for dealing with symptoms of fear and anxiety. In the Cognitive Behavioral treatment of Anxiety Disorders, Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP) has been demonstrated to be an effective technique.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Clinical Depression and Depressive Disorders

Clinical Depression is especially troubling because it can be debilitating as well as painful. Like Agoraphobia and Avoidant Personality Disorder, Depression can remove a person from the company and comfort of others, a vicious circle which may have damaging and even dangerous consequences.

Symptoms of depression may be due to a wide variety of factors including loss, physical or psychological depletion, a lack emotional or social supports, and other psychological or biological factors. Clinical depression is a psychological condition which encompasses a spectrum of psychological disorders including: transitory, less intense, Adjustment Disorders with Depressed Mood; more intense, Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder, as well as Dysthymic Disorder, which is more moderate in its severity.

Cognitive psychologist researchers find that people suffering depression:

  • Do more poorly on problem solving and task performance measures.
  • Display more negative thinking about the self, the world and the future.
  • Are demoralized and negatively self-involved.
  • Engage in thinking which promotes a sense of hopelessness, failure and poor self esteem.

Cognitive Behavioral psychologists treat clinical depression as a stemming from a negative schema or mindset (Beck), or as due to learned helplessness (Seligman), or negative life events which create a perception of hopelessness. Cognitive-Behavioral treatment for depression focuses on identifying and changing the habits of thinking and behavior which create or maintain depression.

When therapy for a client with a serious clinical depression begins, treating the underlying causes of depression (or other debilitating or dangerous conditions) is less important to me as a clinical psychologist than attacking the key symptoms of depression and getting the condition under control as soon a possible.

Researchers find Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for depression (as well as Interpersonal Psychotherapy) to be the best psychological treatments for symptoms of clinical depression, and that CBT is equal to or better than antidepressant medications for treating depressed people. That is why I choose Cognitive Behavioral and Interpersonal Therapy methods as part of my solutions focused treatment approach and wait to see if psychiatric medication for depression is really needed might be beneficial at that point.

Treating Anger Management Problems with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral techniques for anger and rage are key components of my anger management counseling approach. It takes less than one second to trigger a rage reaction via the fight or flight response. I find cognitive behavioral counseling for aggressive behavior to be crucial for helping my clients learn to master their impulses. I select from a variety of cognitive therapy interventions and behavioral techniques which neutralize, reduce or prevent angry reactions and aggressive impulses.

For example, I often use a CBT counter conditioning method to train my clients how to head off the fight or fight response that feeds rage. They learn how to feel better about themselves and others in situations which formerly triggered anger. We also address issues like envy, jealousy, resentment, negative self concept, harmful interpersonal and world view issues so that clients respond more flexibly and successfully.

Relationships, Family and Anger Management Issues

Intimate relationships and family issues are fertile grounds for powerful emotions, including anger. When we are hurt, it may seem natural to direct anger at the person we believe is at fault for upsetting us! Sometimes the most emotional and loving people seem to feel free to inflict severe emotional pain on loved one's through poorly restrained anger. This can compromise or destroy the emotional security that is necessary for relationships to grow or event to survive.

If you have grown up in the New York Metro area, as I have, experience may have taught you that a sharp, angry response on your part is justifiable and necessary in many circumstances. As a cognitive-behavioral psychologist and couples therapist, I recognize we often do this because we do not know any other way to relate when we feel overwhelmed, threatened, vulnerable, hurt or small. I teach my clients CBT methods to short circuit destructive anger and evoke positive, relationship building responses.

Anger Management Counseling in Couple Therapy and Marriage Counseling

When a couple has a communication problem, it may be necessary to teach them to take a chance and open up and express their feelings. When a couple's communication is hampered by an anger problem, the partners' underlying feelings of fear and humiliation, shame and resentment will make the problem worse. Authentic dialogue inevitably leads to more alienation, resentment and anger. The worst thing for a couple with anger management issues is to be permitted or encouraged to indulge themselves in freely expressing their feelings rather than learning how to control anger and communicate effectively.

I often find that the best treatment plan for couples anger management issues is to counsel the partners individually on how to communicate with their partner and how to control anger and provocative behaviors and then resume couples therapy. Cognitive behavioral anger management counseling, CBT for stress management counseling, intimacy issues, and other psychological issues is a key part in my work with couples.

Find Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Counseling in Midtown Manhattan and White Plains, NY

Effective psychological treatment requires that we really understand a client's particular condition and situation to address the concerns which brings a client to therapy. We need to grasp the nature and cause of the problem in order to choose the best psychotherapy treatment strategies and modalities.

My training and experience as a clinical psychologist enables me to evaluate the client's key issues and develop an effective treatment plan. I find cognitive behavioral therapy for behavioral problems, depression, anger, or anxiety symptoms or disorders to be very effective as a primary therapeutic modality.

I also find that Cognitive Behavioral Psychology, when used in a secondary role with psychodynamic, interpersonal, existential, or family systems approaches, enhances my effectiveness as a therapist, counselor, and coach. I selectively pick CBT techniques in order to implement change and accelerate treatment, since fundamental insights need to be put into action in order to produce substantial results.

As a licensed clinical psychologist, I offer Cognitive Behavioral treatment for Depression, Anxiety and other clinical issues from two accessible practice locations.

In New York City you can find Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Counseling in midtown Manhattan at my Park Avenue and 38th Street location; or choose the Westchester practice location for Cognitive-Behavioral treatment services. I have a new office practice providing psychotherapy and counseling in Greenwich, CT as well.

Please give yourself the time to explore this website or call me personally at (212) 213-6593 or (914) 997-7458 for more information about my solutions focused approach to psychological treatment and how CBT counseling methods can help you to overcome symptoms and achieve your goals.

Greenwich Counselor - CT Therapy
2 Benedict Place
Suite 2E
Greenwich, CT 06830

(914) 980-6961
New York Psychologist Manhattan
71 Park Avenue
Suite 1D
New York, NY 10016

(212) 213-6593
Westchester Therapist
499 North Broadway
Professional Suites
White Plains, NY 10603

(914) 997-7458

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© Robert M. Fraum, Ph.D., 2002 - 2015
Connecticut and New York Licensed Psychologist
Licensed Psychotherapist Connecticut - 003154
Licensed Psychologist New York - 005306