CBT – What Is It Really About?

At Ottawa South Resiliency Clinic, we teach cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in both individual and group therapy sessions. It is a wonderful framework for understanding problems and working together as a team (client and therapist) to determine what to work on first.
Resiliency Clinic - Michelle Sorensen, M. ED

Aaron Beck founded the CBT approach and other leaders in our field have moved this work forward. I was lucky in my early years of practice to receive a lot of training from two psychologists trained and mentored directly by Dr. Beck (Dr. Christine Padesky and Dr. Brian Shaw) and I feel passionate about helping other therapists and clients practice this amazing approach.

In our group program, Resiliency Bootcamp, we use the Mind Over Mood manual for CBT, written by Dr. Christine Padesky and Dr. Dennis Greenberger, to teach us about the process of changing our thoughts in order to change our moods. In individual therapy, we are always paying attention to how thoughts drive moods like depression, anxiety, anger, guilt, and shame. Over the course of our lives, we develop thoughts and beliefs that can fuel and maintain problematic behaviors and physical symptoms.

We cannot just make the negative thoughts go away, we need to gradually balance and replace them with more realistic thoughts.

CBT is not about just “positive” thinking, but about developing more balanced and realistic thinking.

In CBT, we look at the patterns in someone’s life across five components: their environment, thoughts, moods, behaviors, and physical symptoms. We then try to figure out where to start making the changes that will spark a more positive interaction amongst the other components. For example, someone who is feeling depressed may need to make a behavior change, like taking their medication every day or going for a walk, in order to stabilize their mood. Then, perhaps, they can start working on changing thoughts. Someone else who is really anxious may need to start off by balancing thoughts before changing a problematic behavior like avoidance. Every client and every problem is different, requiring a customized approach every time.

Therapy Services

Our thoughts are complicated, and yet in some ways change is really simple.

A little bit better is still better, so we start with realistic goals and celebrate the successes. Then we build on each success to help you reach your overall goal in therapy. It is a real honor to see our clients grow and develop long-term skills to help them feel better!

By Michelle Sorensen, M.Ed., Clinical Psychologist

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2200 Prince of Wales Drive
Units #100 and #702

Ottawa, Ontario K2E 6Z9

We are located on Prince of Wales Drive, just south of Hunt Club Road. There is free and convenient parking behind the building, both in the parking lot and on O’Donnell Court.

2200 Prince of Wales Drive
Units #100 and #702

Ottawa, Ontario K2E 6Z9

We are located on Prince of Wales Drive, just south of Hunt Club Road. There is free and convenient parking behind the building, both in the parking lot and on O’Donnell Court.

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Covid-19 safety and support During these hard times, we do offer sliding scale services by Masters level interns for those in financial need. Sessions may be offered in person, over the phone or via secure video platforms. Please reach out for more information!

Some clients prefer the face to face contact or may not reach out if they cannot meet in person. Fortunately, many of our therapists also provide in person support using the appropriate safety standards as determined by Ottawa Public Health. We ask that you wear masks in the common space as mandated by Public Health, please wash hands upon arrival in the clinic (washroom and open kitchen are to your right when you enter into either clinic location) or use the hand sanitizers that are available in the waiting areas. There is room for social distancing if another client is in the waiting area at the same time as you. The therapist you meet with will be seated 6-10 feet away from you once in session as our offices are set up like living rooms, not medical offices!  This in person option is available once you and your therapist have met virtually or spoken by phone to review safety standards and determine if this option is best for your mental and physical health. 

We are all in this together!