Find a CBT Therapist in St. Louis

Finding the right therapist for you is one of the most important parts of the therapeutic process.

In St. Louis we’re lucky to have many skilled Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) therapists. Choosing the one that’s the best match for your particular needs and preferences requires some searching. 

This post will help you understand CBT, why local therapy might be beneficial, and how to find the best CBT therapist for you in St. Louis.

Understanding CBT

CBT is a highly effective treatment approach that helps manage many forms of distress. This includes anxiety, depression, phobias, PTSD and others. By focusing on changing negative thoughts and behaviors, CBT empowers people to develop active coping strategies.

CBT is an evidence-based therapy. You’ll see the term “evidence based” used often and inaccurately. Many people will refer to a treatment as evidence based with just a small, single study supporting it. These studies often have no control group, so there’s no way to know if the therapy is actually any better than the passage of time. CBT, however, has many, many studies to support its effectiveness. If it’s important to you to receive a research based treatment, the American Psychological Association has a published resource for finding empirically supported treatments for specific symptoms.

CBT is also an active treatment. It’s designed to teach you practice strategies for changing your symptoms. Early in treatment your therapist will give you information and give you education on your symptoms. They will also talk to you about how treatment is meant to help you. This knowledge will help empower you to understand your experience.  Your therapist will teach you new exercises and give you tools to try outside the office. You’ll most likely have homework and worksheets.

Because CBT is well-researched, we have a basic understanding of how it works and its underlying principles. Knowing that actively targeting negative thoughts working to change your behaviors is a key part of CBT can help you set realistic expectations for your therapy sessions.

find a cbt therapist in st. louis

Why Choose a Local CBT Therapist in St. Louis

Choosing a local therapist offers several benefits. While online therapy has its advantages, meeting in person usually works best. 

  • Going to your therapist’s office guarantees that you have a private space to talk about your experience. 
  • Being with someone in person is also helpful for building up the relationship you have with your therapist. Being able to trust them sets the foundation for your work together, and this is often more difficult to do online. 
  • CBT therapists often invite clients to practice new skills in session, and this usually works better when we can be together in the office. 
  • Finally, a local therapist is more likely to understand the specific social and cultural environment of St. Louis, which can also influence your therapy experience.

What to Look for in a CBT Therapist

When searching for a CBT therapist, you might consider the following:

Qualifications and Credentials: Make sure that your therapist has the proper education and training. If finances are a concern, you might consider seeing a student trainee or someone who is pre-licensed, but be sure that they’re properly supervised by someone trained in CBT. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential therapist about their training and education with CBT. 

Experience: Look for a therapist who has experience dealing with your specific issues. Read through a potential therapist’s website and blog posts to get an idea of what experience they have and how they use CBT. If they don’t mention working with negative thoughts or changing behaviors, they may not be familiar with CBT strategies. Many therapists have a little exposure to CBT ideas but haven’t actually worked through CBT treatment plans with clients. Again, don’t be afraid to send a potential therapist questions or see if you can schedule a consultation call with them.

Personal Fit: The therapist’s overall style should make you feel comfortable and supported. At the same time, your therapist shouldn’t feel like a friend. Your therapist should have good boundaries and have ideas about strategies that can help you. If you’re just venting in session there’s no room to learn new skills, and CBT is an active treatment.

find a cbt therapist in st. louis

How to Find a CBT Therapist in St. Louis

Finding the right therapist involves several steps.

Research Online: Utilize directories to find licensed CBT therapists in St. Louis. You can use a search engine with your symptoms and your location to bring up websites of therapists who might be a good fit. Read through potential therapist biographies and websites to get a better understanding of who they help.

Reach Out to Healthcare Providers: Your primary care doctor, prescriber, or a local mental health clinic can provide referrals.

Ask Friends and Family: People you know who’ve worked with a therapist can offer insights into the therapist’s effectiveness and approach. 

Preparing for your First Session

Identify your main concerns. Your first session with a CBT therapist will likely involve the therapist asking you a lot of questions. It’s important that they do this so they can get a thorough understanding of you as a person. This includes your strengths and interests, and the areas where you’re having symptoms. This information will help the therapist choose a treatment plan that maps onto the areas you’re having trouble. They can then make any modifications to tailor that plan specifically to you and your situation.

Think about your goals for therapy. You don’t have to have your goals fully identified before the meeting. However, having a general sense of what you expect from therapy can help. From a CBT perspective, framing goals in terms of changes in thoughts and behaviors is especially helpful. CBT therapy is meant to be time-limited, action-oriented, and targeted toward your specific outcomes. It shouldn’t be open ended or ongoing. Think about how you would know therapy is over. 

Ask questions to  make sure the therapist is the right fit for you. Having an initial meeting with a therapist doesn’t mean you need to stick with them. For example, if there are specific things that you’re looking for in a therapist (someone who is direct vs more gentle), ask. Or if you have questions about the process, be sure to get the clarity you need.

Choosing the right CBT therapist in St. Louis is a significant step toward feeling better. With the right approach and some reflection on your needs, you can find a therapist who’s the best fit for you. 

If you’re ready to meet with one of our therapists here at Anxiety Specialists of St. Louis, please complete our contact form. We’re happy to help!