“It is a very effective method of Psychotherapy because you work on the cognitive area, on the behavioural area and you develop skills and coping mechanisms to apply in real life.” – Dr. med. Konrad Hitz, Operational Medical Director.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a short-term, goal-orientated treatment designed to help manage ones’ difficulties by identifying and changing negative patterns of thought or behaviour.
In the seventh episode of The Kusnacht Practice’s podcast, Philippe Rovere – Global Sales and Marketing Director talks with Dr. med. Konrad Hitz – Operational Medical Director about the power of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Dr. Hitz explores the benefits of CBT and its effectiveness in treating mental health issues, as well as its practical approach to problem-solving by providing the patients with the ‘tools’ to navigate the various obstacles in their lives.
Philippe Rovere: Good morning. This is Philippe Rovere, the Global Sales and Marketing Director here at The Kusnacht Practice. We’re here today to discuss the power of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with Dr. med. Konrad Hitz, the Operational Medical Director. Good morning Doctor.
Konrad Hitz: Good morning.
PR: How can actually talking about our problems help solve them?
KH: That’s a very good question. Listen, when we talk about our problems, it’s not only talking. We reactivate emotions, memories, physical sensations in the body. So we get reactivated. And usually, you’re right, only talking about our problems won’t solve them. And this we can do with friends or family, whoever we trust. The specific input comes from the therapist who knows, observes you and knows what certain states that he or she needs to intervene to actually induce a change in you. So only talking about problems might, short term wise, give you a little bit of an ease, but it will not solve it.
PR: And then how do you connect this to Cognitive Therapy? How does that work and what does a meeting look like?
KH: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is one form of Psychotherapy. And it’s a form of Psychotherapy where you actually work with your cognitions, how your cognitions influence your emotions and your behaviour. It’s a very structured way, or form of Psychotherapy. The therapist with the client, or the patient, looks in detail in specific situations of one’s life that might be challenging. And you really examine them in detail, It’s like a beam, like a ray of light on certain situations, and you totally deconstruct them, look in detail. It’s a very effective way to work, and a very effective form of Psychotherapy.
And the meeting looks much like any form of psychotherapeutic meeting. The therapist sits together with the client, and the two of them work on specific topics of the client, right? And, of course, the therapist explains what form of therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is, what it looks like, what is to be expected, and usually a session lasts about one hour.
PR: Brilliant. And then, basically to treat depression, anxiety and PTSD, what kind of Cognitive Therapy is especially effective in treating those conditions?
KH: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is very effective in treating anxiety, and anxiety-related diseases, depression, and also post-traumatic stress disorder. Due to its capacity to really look on in detail on specific situations, deconstruct them, and also in the ability to teach the clients different ways how to behave, how to think, and how to evaluate specific situations.
PR: Do you see any cases where the Cognitive therapy is not effective?
KH: I wouldn’t say that there are cases where it’s not effective. The form of Psychotherapy that you apply to an individual that you’re working together with as a team, of course, it needs to fit to that person. So not one type fits all clients and, as a therapist, you need to adapt to a certain degree the form of Psychotherapy that you have chosen for the patient.
So I wouldn’t say that there are cases where it doesn’t work. It’s more, there might be clients who need variation, a mix of different forms of therapy. So you do not only apply strictly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, but you might also involve some other forms, like ego states therapy or EMDR. It’s eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing, which actually is a part of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and trauma therapy. So, to be effective, it’s always important to customise the treatment to the individual needs of the client.
PR: What is the difference between Psychotherapy and Cognitive Therapy?
KH: Cognitive Therapy or Behavioural Cognitive Therapy is one form of Psychotherapy that a therapist can choose to apply. So Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a form of Psychotherapy.
PR: So why Cognitive Behavioural Therapy works best in the short term?
KH: I wouldn’t say that it works best in the short term. It is a very effective method of Psychotherapy because you work on the cognitive area, on the behavioural area and you develop skills and coping mechanisms to apply in real life. You get like a recipe at hand that you can apply, so it’s not a form of Psychotherapy, let’s say, where you need hours after hours before anything changes. You get the possibility to apply change practically in your life. You get tools, and that is effective in one’s life.
PR: Something that we often wonder is when is the point that a person should go and see a therapist in your opinion?
KH: Listen, already when one thinks about “How might it be?”, “ Might I profit from seeing a therapist?” This might be already a good intervention point because someone can actually really shine a light on you. What specific situation or life circumstances are needed to be looked at, what are your questions. So whenever you ask yourself that question, why not reach out and discuss and find out, right? Especially men, rather have the tendency to kind of wait too long before. Women rather reach out for support in time.
PR: And during such a session do you set goals for the future?
KH: Yes, of course. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a form of therapy where actually already when you begin with the therapy you know how many sessions more or less you will have with the therapist. When it will end and what are the goals. It’s a very structured way of applying Psychotherapy.
PR: What kind of problem-solving techniques do you use?
KH: Problem-solving techniques, you have specific formulas. How you look at specific life situations and the outcome, and what it does to you, like emotional cognitive body sensations, long and short term benefits of specific behaviour that you apply. Usually that’s also why Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is effective; you look on your specific behaviour from different angles, like short term and long term and, for example, very often with anxiety, what we do is we avoid certain situations. On a short term basis this is quite effective and good because we do not enter in having, or enter the state of anxiety. But actually long term-wise, our life becomes much more, kind of like a closet because you avoid social contact, you avoid specific situations and the mechanism of anxiety more and more locks you in the closet. So in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, you work a lot with kind of fighting or battling up against avoiding.
PR: Thank you Dr. Hitz for talking about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy this morning. We’re here at The Kusnacht Practice. Thank you very much.
KH: You’re welcome.