Just saying … I had a request to write about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I have lived experience with CBT. In the 1990s, I was assigned to a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) intern at a community-based agency in Santa Clara County. We spent months together in CBT sessions. She spent time focusing on my thinking and behaviors as I was dealing with a major mental illness and living in residential housing. She helped me align my thinking and behavior so I could function in the community without fear and intrusive thoughts that had no basis in reality. You might say, “She helped me start down the road to recovery”. I would not be working full-time today, if those practices, both evidence-based and community-defined, had not been researched and found to be effective in helping me heal.
Today, both mental health and substance use utilize evidence-based and community-defined practices that have helped behavioral health clients start down the road to recovery. Behavioral health clients are receiving therapy/treatment options that have a science and community base, which has helped us achieve real recovery and wellness as opposed to past asylum care and non-existent community options.
We must continue to help everyone understand that evidence-based and community-defined practices are not dark and evil witchery practices. Evidence-based and community-defined practices have brought hope to many devastated lives because by using these practices, we have built lives beyond the trauma often caused by uninformed and untrained systems of care, including the mental health and substance use fields. I am thankful, the field’s change agents, including advocates, have stayed the course for change, always remembering … it’s all about that hope!