Cynthia Schmidt Turner, LSATP, LCSW is an addiction therapist in Ashburn, VA specializing in addiction therapy, counseling and social work.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a form of psychotherapy or treatment for mental illness. It comes in a variety of methods, but the basic concept behind all CBT is the same -- thoughts cause feelings, which cause actions. If someone wishes to change problematic behaviors or emotions in their lives, they need to start by changing their thoughts. CBT examines ideas and looks for patterns that may be causing harmful actions. The therapist helps patients modify those thought patterns and, in doing so, helps them feel better and cope more effectively.
CBT is one of the most widely studied forms of psychotherapy, and it has been shown to be extremely effective for a variety of mental illnesses. Some of the issues that respond well to CBT include mood disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse, sleep disorders, and psychotic disorders. In some cases, CBT has been shown to be as effective or even more effective than medication. One of the interesting things that the scientific study of CBT has shown is that CBT actually changes the way the brain works, physically improving its function.
CBT differs from traditional psychotherapy in a few key ways. One of the most important distinctions is the emphasis on the power and responsibility of the patient in CBT. The patient will be encouraged to be the one asking the questions in CBT therapy, and most patients are assigned homework to complete outside of therapy sessions. There is a concept in CBT that everyone has power the power to change how they feel, even if they cannot control the situation, and this can be very empowering for patients. Because of this power shift, the therapist-client relationship is not as critical to success in CBT as it is in other modes of therapy. Patients should still get along well with their therapists, but they do not need a deep, dependent emotional connection to them. Finally, because CBT often treats a specific issue or problem, it is usually shorter in duration than traditional therapy. While some therapies may continue for years, CBT lasts on average just 16 sessions.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT, is a form of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) that was originally developed to help the most severely mentally ill and depressed patients accept therapy. It relies on the same concept in CBT that examines the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and actions, but in DBT the emphasis is first on acceptance rather than change. There is also an emphasis on mindfulness, 'being in the moment,' and relaxation techniques such as yoga. These are combined with a great deal of validation and encouragement from the therapist.
The word 'dialectical' means acting through opposing forces, and this word refers to a few different opposing concepts in DBT:
Dialectical behavior therapy was developed when therapists attempting to use CBT techniques on the most seriously ill patients ran into a problem. When they suggested that a patient change their thoughts, these very vulnerable patients would become overwhelmed and turn aggressive or suicidal. DBT was developed to support these patients with acceptance and validation while still guiding them towards changing problematic thoughts. Although also used for suicidal and self-harming patients today, these days, DBT is mainly used to treat borderline personality disorder. It is one of the few effective interventions for this serious illness.
DBT has been shown to be very effective at reducing self-destructive behavior. It can also be used to teach new coping skills and increase a patient's self-esteem and motivation to become healthier.
Eating disorders are mental and physical illnesses that impact behavior, emotions, and thoughts about eating, food, body appearance, and weight. These disorders are characterized by preoccupations with food and physical size, resulting in dramatic lifestyle changes and adverse health effects. In the past, eating disorders were often diagnosed using BMI (body mass index), or by assessing someone's weight. Eating disorders specialists now recognize that eating disorders may occur in people of all sizes. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder (BED).
Anorexia nervosa, frequently referred to as anorexia, is a disorder where people severely restrict the types and quantity of food they eat. Those with anorexia have an extreme fear of eating and gaining weight and may repeatedly weigh themselves or engage in harmful behaviors such as excessive exercise or starvation. Those with anorexia often find themselves preoccupied with food, but unable to consume a healthy amount of it. This results in symptoms such as abnormally low BMI, vitamin deficiency, fatigue, fainting, and amenorrhea (lack of menstruation in women). Anorexia may cause bluish discoloration of the hands, brittle and falling out hair, yellowish skin, and lanugo (fine, downy hair). Left untreated, anorexia can lead to organ failure, brain damage, and even death.
Bulimia nervosa, typically called bulimia, is a disorder where people binge (eat large quantities of food) and purge the food that they just consumed by vomiting, laxative abuse, fasting, or excessive exercise. This behavior is usually motivated by a feeling of powerlessness over eating and a fear of weight gain or desire for weight loss. Bulimia can occur in underweight, normal weight, and overweight people. Symptoms of bulimia include acid reflux, intestinal distress, dehydration from purging, amenorrhea, and dental erosion from vomiting. Some people with bulimia have swollen parotid glands (salivary glands near the cheeks) and red scars and marks on the backs of their knuckles. Electrolyte imbalance from bulimia can be particularly severe and may lead to heart attack or stroke.
Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder. People with BED feel that they are unable to control the amount of food they eat and may continue to binge after reaching a point of fullness. BED binges (consuming large amounts of food) are often accompanied by feelings of sadness, guilt, and shame. Symptoms of BED include obesity, acid reflux, weight gain, and dissatisfaction with one's body. People with BED tend to experience cycles of negative emotions and binges. Binges or BED episodes can be provoked by stress, boredom, restrictive dieting, depression, and other triggers.
Other common eating disorders include:
Many people with eating disorders do not consciously develop them, and have difficulty seeking treatment. For this reason, it's important to detect and treat eating disorders as early as possible. Treatment for eating disorders can vary from therapy visits to inpatient treatment, depending on the disorder and its severity. Treatment aims to not only restore physical health and correct negative behaviors, but to also promote psychological well-being and self-confidence.
She has a state license in Virginia.
Licensed In: Virginia
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Ms. Cynthia Turner practices social work, counseling, and addiction therapy in Ashburn, VA. Ms. Turner's areas of expertise include infidelity issues, phobias, and diagnostic evaluation.