The key to getting better was learning about my illness, knowing what triggers my symptoms and how I can control them.

– former Skyland Trail client

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Our evidence-based CBT treatment program, combined with our holistic wellness approach, makes Skyland Trail one of the best treatment centers for depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. Our CBT residential treatment program may be the best next step for someone leaving a hospital or inpatient psychiatric treatment program. Our CBT day treatment program in Atlanta may help someone who is struggling with traditional outpatient psychotherapy or who is experiencing repeat psychiatric hospitalizations.

Evidence-based CBT treatment for major depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders

Individuals who enter the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) treatment program at Skyland Trail through either our residential or day treatment program often feel like they have tried everything to feel better and are emotionally exhausted. Many have lost their jobs, friends and social connections, and some have been hospitalized. They often have unhealthy sleep patterns and poor nutrition habits. 

Clinically, individuals assigned to CBT often have been diagnosed with a mood disorder (e.g., bipolar disorder or major depression) or an anxiety disorder.

As one of the top CBT treatment centers, the CBT treatment program at Skyland Trail is led by clinicians with specialized expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy. Each client meets one-on-one with a dedicated CBT primary counselor each week. Each client also meets individually each week with a staff psychiatrist with specialized CBT expertise. And each day, clients meet with a consistent group of 10-15 peers in their CBT recovery community to discuss progress, challenges and goals.

Not a one-size-fits-all approach, this specialized CBT program ensures that our clients receive the best clinically appropriate care. Clients who fully engage in our CBT treatment program in Atlanta learn how to manage symptoms and apply skills to prevent relapse and stay healthy.

What is CBT?

Developed by Dr. Aaron Beck, CBT is one of the most researched psychotherapy approaches. The key idea behind CBT is that what you THINK and DO affects the way you FEEL.

Sometimes, through no fault of their own, people get “stuck” in vicious cycles: the things they do to solve a problem can inadvertently keep it going. CBT is about finding out what is keeping us “stuck” and making changes in our thinking and actions in order to improve the way we feel. It is a collaborative therapy and needs the client's active participation in order to be helpful.

The goal of CBT use of observable data to change unhealthy thought and behavior patterns to improve how we feel. CBT is present-focused and looks at the "here and now." Homework assignments and peer group reflections help in that process. Ultimately, clients learning CBT develop skills to prevent mood problems, intrusive thoughts, and problematic behaviors from diminishing their quality of life.

CBT also helps clients develop more effective communication skills. Learning to use assertive communication skills instead of relying on aggressive or passive-aggressive communications can help clients better communicate their needs in personal and professional relationships.

Watch Video: CBT for Mood & Anxiety Disorders

Skyland Trail psychiatrist Dr. Mary Burns describes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and how it is used to treat depression, bipolar illness and anxiety.
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Expressive therapies, vocational services, and integrated wellness combine with CBT for a holistic path to wellness

In addition to intensive one-on-one and group therapy sessions, our clients have access to nutritional counseling and wellness services. We are one of very few mental health residential treatment programs in the country to integrate primary care with psychiatric care. Our integrated mental and medical health model makes Skyland Trail one of the best mental health residential treatment centers for adults with depression or anxiety and co-occurring medical illnesses.

Clients also have opportunities to rebuild self esteem and positive social interactions through our horticultural, art, music and recreational therapy programs. Activities on campus and out in the community provide opportunities to explore new interests or rekindle old passions.

And group sessions or one-on-one coaching in our vocational services program helps clients consider their approach to how they pursue a career, education or volunteer effort. Could a different approach improve your mental health? Are their barriers to getting to the next level? Could you potentially use your new CBT skills to address those barriers?

Progress comes in small steps. At Skyland Trail, clients can practice their new CBT skills in a patient and supportive environment. We support their gradual recovery as they advance through our levels of care, with the goal of helping them stabilize their mood, build positive relationships and manage stress appropriately.

Listen: The CBT Program at Skyland Trail

CBT Program with Emily Wall

Primary Counselor Emily Wall, LMSW, explains the CBT Program at Skyland Trail.
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Effective CBT treatment provides tools for a healthy future

Graduates of the CBT recovery community at Skyland Trail have a toolbox of strategies to keep them healthy. They are better able to recognize unhealthy thoughts and behaviors early and successfully change them before they impact mood. We help connect graduates with professionals in the community who can continue to support their progress and remind them of the great strides that were made in CBT at Skyland Trail.

Watch Video: Lisa's Journey

Lisa completed the psychiatric treatment program at Skyland Trail, learning skills to help manage her diagnosis of depression and anxiety. 
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What is an example of CBT?

Studies show that deeply entrenched maladaptive thoughts can lead to negative emotions, such as depression or anxiety. In CBT therapy sessions, we first try to identify the unhealthy thoughts and then use logic and data to rethink those thoughts. 

For example, a person may think, “I’m worthless. I can't do anything right. I’m going to get fired from my job.” Using CBT skills, a client would first identify the thought and then figure out what emotions that thought generates. In this case, the thought of losing a job may be linked with feelings of fear, despair, or powerlessness. 

After identifying the associated emotions, we collect data and examine the thought. Is it valid or true? Is there evidence to support it? Is there data to support a different interpretation? For example, we ask the individual to consider “How have you performed at your job in the past?” and “What feedback have your received from your supervisor?” or "Acknowledging a few mistakes, can we also identity successes at your job." 

After collecting data, we look at the probability of the client actually getting fired. The client may discover that he or she is unlikely to be fired. By using CBT skills to evaluate the situation, the individual becomes less despairing and fearful. The client also may identify actions he or she can take to feel more in control  - in this example maybe improving punctuality or documenting successes.

On Our Blog: Recovery is Possible

"I am most proud of learning to let go of outside expectations and self-imposed pressure and to be unapologetically myself. Now I feel, for the first time in my life, that I am happy. Rather than reaching for things or people to make me feel complete, there is a layer of solid acceptance underneath all the chaos of life that makes me feel secure in the knowledge that who I am is enough."
Read Audrey's Story >

Contact our admissions team today to learn more about our CBT residential treatment and day treatment programs

Not sure if CBT treatment is right for you? Call and speak to an admissions counselor about your needs and concerns. We will listen and answer your questions about our mental health residential and day treatment programs. We can help you consider the best next steps to a healthier future for you or your loved.

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