Saul Rosenthal, PhD

Boston Area Health Psychologist

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach that is probably the most comprehensively researched of the psychological treatments for children, adolescents and adults. It effectively helps depression, anxiety, OCD, sleep problems, chronic pain and many other conditions, both mental and physical. 

The basic premise of CBT is that thoughts, behaviors and emotions are interconnected. Happiness, depression and anxiety do not come out of thin air. Rather, they are the consequence of thoughts and beliefs. When our patterns of thinking are consistently unrealistic, unhealthy or unhelpful, we may experience chronic anxiety, depression or even physical symptoms.

Collaborating for better health

CBT is an effective, pragmatic, collaborative and proactive. I work with my clients to uncover and understand the mental patterns that lead to distress. Oftentimes these patterns are automatic and undetected – we are aware only that we feel badly, not that our thinking patterns are problematic.

Treatment is personalized for each client, based on their needs. Together we work to understand and modify the thought, behavioral and physiologic patterns contributing to the problems at hand. For example:

  • A mother who is seriously depressed might constantly blame herself whenever her children have difficulties. For example, if one trips and falls, she might chastise herself for lack of vigilance. On the other hand, if the child has difficulties separating, the mother might also blame herself for hovering too much.
  • Perfectionistic students might put much more work than necessary into a project in order to avoid a ‘bad’ grade. They can learn more realistic approaches to producing their best work and can feel good about it.
  • Individuals with social anxiety might engage in practice interactions and learn that their fears about social rejection are unfounded.
  • A person with chronic pain might fear that ‘too much’ activity will be harmful. They can learn to balance activity, rest and stress reduction. 

Expecting the best while accepting what comes

Modern CBT increasingly integrates mindfulness and acceptance into treatment. Sometimes an unpleasant belief, expectation or interpretation is accurate. People with chronic pain are really in pain. People who constantly expect failure do sometimes fail. While uncovering and changing unhealthy cognitions is often important, it is equally important to recognize and accept that life is full of a wide variety of experiences. 

Mindfulness and acceptance teaches us to focus on what is happening in the moment and to understand it is a singleexperience within the context of a life full of experiences. We cannot avoid all discomfort in life. However, we also do not need to focus only on discomfort.

CBT, mindfulness and acceptance-based treatments are effectively used to treat a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Pain and Medical Conditions
  • Depression
  • Hair Pulling
  • Insomnia
  • Technology Overuse
  • Tics
  • Trauma

I have studied, practiced and taught Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness for over 15 years. I am particularly drawn to the approach because it is research-based, flexible and focuses on empowering the individual. I want my clients to grow and change to the point where they no longer need me. My job is to give you the tools for achieving success as quickly and efficiently as possible.