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Young man in a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Session

The Cognitive Psychology Approach in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a psychosocial intervention that concentrates on improving mental health. Hand in hand with a cognitive psychology approach, CBT opens the eyes of an individual to inaccurate, irrational, or negative thought patterns—helping people respond to real-life situations in healthier and more effective ways. There are many types of CBT; all it takes is to find the right fit for your needs.

Young man in a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Session

What is the Cognitive Psychology Approach?

Cognitive psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy are like peanut butter and jelly. One complements the other. Using the cognitive psychology approach in CBT means your therapist will use evidence-based knowledge, as well as years of mental health experience, to investigate and evaluate your mental health. By doing this, your therapist will be able to orchestrate a therapy treatment program that fits you best.

Cognitive Psychology is an investigation of human cognition based on scientific evidence. Human cognition is all of our mental abilities; the way we think, learn, remember, reason, perceive and understand. The definition of a cognitive psychologist is a mental health professional who studies the nature of the human mind and thoughts, in hopes to gain a better understanding.

Our primary practitioner and founder at Miami Hypnosis and Therapy Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M, is incredibly qualified in the mental health field. As a licensed mental health therapist, Anna Marchenko specializes in effective and innovative CBT practices, drawing from neuro-linguistic programming and hypnotherapy, among other modalities and techniques.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Used to Treat?

In conjunction with neuro-linguistic programming and hypnotherapy, CBT can be used to treat:

  • Anxiety – Feelings of high intensity and worry. Anxiety may cause increased blood pressure and avoiding certain situations due to being worried.
  • Phobias – A type of heightened anxiety and fear response; excessive fear of certain objects, foods, animals, or situations.
  • Trauma – Deep emotional or physical anguish following a stressful event or time.
  • Addiction – Having a dependency on a substance or activity.
  • Eating & Mood Disorders – Having an unhealthy preoccupation with food, exercise, body weight, or shape.
  • Self Esteem – One’s self-respect or confidence within themselves.
  • Relationship Issues – Having tension, trauma, or toxic behaviors in a relationship, whether it’s a personal or professional relationship.

With a cognitive psychology approach, CBT can be successful in treating the issues above. Transform your life now and feel the difference within yourself, your relationships, and your everyday life.

Understanding the Different Types of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy – A short-term psychotherapy that helps you identify negative thoughts and feelings that are self-defeating. After those thoughts are identified, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy guides you into challenging the rationale of those thoughts and helping you to replace them with positive and healthy ones.


  • Cognitive Therapy – This form of therapy is intended to guide you into developing healthy problem-solving skills. Cognitive Therapy usually focuses on present-day behaviors and communications, instead of the past.


  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy – This form of therapy is an evidence-based psychotherapy that is proven to be useful in treating individuals who may struggle with mood disorders, self-harm, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.


  • Cognitive Processing Therapy – This form of therapy has been proven to successfully treat individuals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD can be developed after someone endures a traumatic event, such as physical or psychological trauma caused by abuse, family conflict or separation, natural disasters, unexpected change or loss, or war.


  • Stress Inoculation Training – A common type of psychotherapy that aids in the identification of negative thoughts that may influence your behavior throughout your everyday life.


  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy – This form of therapy uses mindfulness meditative practices and a cognitive psychology approach to guide individuals in relapse prevention, particularly those with major depressive disorder.


  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – This form of therapy helps individuals to move forward from difficult emotions from the past and focus on the present.


  • Motivational Interviewing – This form of therapy is completely client-centered and tailored to influencing behavioral changes in an individual by raising awareness of contradicting ideas or thoughts about a person or thing.


  • Habit Reversal Training – This form of therapy is a type of awareness training. It is used to bring attention to troublesome behaviors and treat them by teaching an individual how to identify when a habit is about to take place. Thus, giving an individual an opportunity to practice healthy coping methods, in place of troublesome behaviors.

There are many different types of CBT, and we’ve listed many of them above. At Miami Hypnosis and Therapy we pride ourselves on being innovative and up to date in all of our practices and therapy methods. When you work with us through whatever challenges you’re facing, you’ll experience a cognitive psychology approach in your CBT sessions. To learn more and get started on a clearer path, give us a call today.

Young person shaking head fast with hair across her face

5 Symptoms of An Acute Stress Reaction

We all know what stress feels like, regardless of how minor or major the stressor was. How we respond to those stressors, though, is what matters. Some can experience an external event and process their stress response effectively. Others may not have the same mechanism in place, which is where what was an acute stress reaction could develop into something deeper.

Causes of an Acute Stress Reaction

An acute stress reaction is an initial response to a major event that triggers the body’s natural stress response. In response to a traumatic experience, this may lead to a long-term response known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unlike ongoing PTSD, an acute stress reaction typically lasts 3 to 30 days following the event.

Approximately 5 to 20 % exposed to a traumatic event will develop an acute stress reaction. When a traumatic event occurs, the body has a built-in stress response that kicks into either a fight, flight, or freeze mode, and traumatic events can be caused by many things.

A few traumatic events that can cause an acute stress reaction include:

  • Death of a loved one
  • The threat of severe injury or death to oneself or a loved one
  • A motor vehicle accident
  • Sexual assault, rape, or domestic abuse

Trauma of any sort can affect a person differently depending on how they handle the stress emotionally, physically, and mentally, and the symptoms can also range in severity. So, what are the five symptoms of acute stress?

Psychological and Physical Symptoms of An Acute Stress Reaction

The psychological symptoms of an acute stress reaction can vary in intensity from person-to-person, and include the following five main categories:

  1. Intrusion Symptoms – These symptoms occur when a person cannot stop thinking about the traumatic event through flashbacks, memories, and dreams.
  2. Dissociative Symptoms – These symptoms include an altered sense of reality and feeling numb and detached without a clear recollection of the event.
  3. Arousal Symptoms – These anxiety-like symptoms can involve sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, easily startled, agitated, and extremely tense.
  4. Depressed Mood Symptoms – These symptoms may encompass negative emotions such as feeling worthless, broken, sad, depressed, and potentially suicidal thoughts.
  5. Avoidance Symptoms – These acute stress reaction symptoms include purposely avoiding anything that reminds that person of the traumatic event, such as thoughts, feelings, people, or places.

Physical Symptoms of An Acute Stress Reaction

When stress occurs, the body has a physical response by releasing adrenaline (epinephrine) as well as putting the nervous system into overdrive, causing the following:

  • Heart palpitations and or a pounding heart
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Sweating

These physical symptoms tend to develop within minutes to hours and may last for weeks. In some cases, symptoms can be even more severe, especially if a person has any risk factors present.

Some people are at a higher risk of developing an acute stress reaction.

  • Any prior confrontation, experience, or witnessing of a traumatic event
  • A personal history of having acute stress reactions or PTSD
  • Being under 40 years of age
  • A history of other mental health disorders

Acute Stress Reaction Versus PTSD

Besides the timeline of acute stress reaction taking place sooner and PTSD occurring later, for PTSD to be diagnosed, the person’s symptoms must persist for more than 30 days or first appear more than one month after the traumatic event occurred.

Managing Acute Stress Reactions for Balanced Coping Strategies

Woman stretching and holding the back of her neck at a coffee table

Regardless of the severity of an acute stress reaction’s symptoms, there is hope! The treatment plan should include ways to reduce the symptoms, improve coping mechanisms and prevent PTSD from occurring.

One of the best forms of treatment for an acute stress reaction is trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which effectively develops solid coping skills. CBT also helps the person affected identify and challenge irrational and unwanted thought patterns.

At Miami Hypnosis and Therapy, we offer a wide variety of therapies, including CBT. We create individualized treatment plans because we know each person has unique needs in their quest for wellness. We may also incorporate other forms of therapy, such as hypnotherapy which can help clients attain treatment goals faster.

The benefits of therapy can be an extraordinarily life-altering experience. Not only can you learn how to cope with debilitating fears, but you will also acquire the ability to have a better handle on future events that may cause an acute stress reaction. Find help for reframing whatever life throws at you with a more neutral and balanced approach, and rediscover joy!

Take that first step in living a more joyful and stress-free life, and book your appointment today so you can conquer anything tomorrow!

Woman closing her eyes focusing on her breath outdoors

Finding Help for Emotional Abandonment

Healthy human development requires physical and emotional care, and if these needs are unmet, the result can lead to feelings of abandonment.

The psychology of abandonment stems from experiences or perceived experiences of ongoing loss during the childhood years. Growing up without feeling protected physically or emotionally can create intense fear that is often internalized, leading to feelings of shame. This may lead to children who grow up more inclined to feel “unimportant”, less valued (regardless of positive feedback to suggest the opposite is true), and more inclined to be reactive to what they perceive as threatening both personally and professionally. Fears of abandonment rooted in childhood experience do impact future relationships, including intimate, social, and professional.

The Psychology of Emotional Abandonment

Emotional abandonment occurs when a parent or caregiver is physically present but emotionally absent, leading to abandonment issues later in life. This could have been experienced in a myriad of ways and may not always be intentional on the parent or caregivers’ part, depending on their own mental health and situation. This creates an internal sense of “lacking” in something, which can manifest later as anxiety, depression, disordered thinking, disordered eating patterns, or other issues relating to fractured ways of perceiving external stimuli. The sense of “lack” that emotional abandonment can cause deep-seated fear, consciously or subconsciously, around building trust in relationships and workplaces as an adult.

Signs and Symptoms of Emotional Abandonment in Children

Child sitting alone at a bench waiting for a parent

When a child feels emotionally abandoned, fear sets in and may manifest into other negative feelings and behaviors. A few of the signs and symptoms of what emotional abandonment is for a child can include

  • Separation Anxiety – This sense of deep loneliness can occur whenever there is a separation from the parent or caregiver from the child, such as being dropped off at school or daycare, and anxiety or panic sets in.
  • A Fear of Being Alone – This fear can be overwhelming and can occur whenever the child is alone for any given time, including bedtime.
  • Clinginess – This sign in the psychology of abandonment can be extreme, especially when the parent or caregiver first appears after being absent from the child for any amount of time.

As the child goes into later stages in life, these uncontrollable feelings go with them and influence relationships and interpersonal relations along the way.

Long-Term Effects of Emotional Abandonment Into Adulthood

Often, we are unaware of the long-term effects because our behaviors are reactions from triggers due to feeling abandoned during childhood. Some of the powerful long-term effects behind the psychology of abandonment include:

  • Low Self-Esteem – Feeling as if you are not good enough as a child stays embedded within the subconscious part of the mind and can sabotage positive and flourishing relationships in the future.
  • Anxiety – Abandonment anxiety in relationships can cause a person to pick fights for no reason, push their partner away, and test boundaries either with friends or co-workers.
  • People Pleaser – The intense need to please others to feel better about themselves due to their low self-esteem and insecurities.
  • Codependency – A dysfunctional relationship where one person is the caregiver and the other person takes advantage, and they both cannot function independently.

So, what is emotional abandonment? It can ultimately hold a person back from truly enjoying life and having satisfying relationships with others.

Therapy for Emotional Abandonment

Woman staring down at reflection of herself

The psychology of abandonment helps to understand where the fear originates and what you can do when you sense your anxiety rising.

Without treatment, abandonment issues in adults and children can manifest and make it more challenging to form positive relationships with others and lead a fulfilling life.

The primary form of treatment is through therapy, where the person can learn to identify negative thought patterns and replace them with more realistic and healthier choices. Learning how to create healthy boundaries helps that person avoid getting into codependency or people-pleasing behaviors.

At Miami Hypnosis and Therapy, we offer individualized treatment plans based on the psychology of abandonment that gets to the root of the childhood issues. We offer a wide range of therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), and hypnotherapy, which are often integrated to expedite the treatment course.

Contact us, and let us help you see the light at the end of your dark tunnel and resolve what emotional abandonment is for you. Take that first step to feeling confident in yourself and know that you are valued, and you do deserve to be happy. Don’t let the mistakes of others from your childhood or your adolescence hold you back any longer. Discover a more fulfilling life when you work with a therapist as your guide.

Young woman smiling after a counseling and psychology session in Miami

How Counseling Psychology Can Bring Peace To Your Life

Embarking on your path toward clarity and balance with counseling can be overwhelming. What can you expect? What is counseling psychology and how does it work for your specific situation? We’ll explore this and more in this blog.

What is Counseling Psychology?

A counseling psychologist helps people with mental health issues by improving their sense of well-being, alleviating feelings of distress, and resolving crises. Counseling psychology is considered to be a specialty within professional psychology that focuses on personal and interpersonal functioning.

Benefits of Psychology Counseling

Counseling provides a safe space to explore feelings, behaviors, and beliefs and work through memories that may be causing current distress. This highly effective form of therapy can help people identify daily habits and thought patterns that may be self-sabotaging the pursuit of one’s goals and happiness.

There are a multitude of benefits when a person undergoes psychological counseling, depending on the issues you are working through. Let’s explore different scenarios below:

  • Grief and Los – Managing the residual scarring left from grief and loss can take some time. And, sometimes it’s not always a physical loss you may be contending with. In the psychology of counseling, therapy for grief and loss provides you the tools needed to help move past the pain and rediscover serenity.
  • Anxiety – Whether it’s temporary stress or a deeper, ongoing anxiety disorder, therapists and psychologists work with clients to help find peace instead of panic.
  • Depression – With effective psychology counseling, a therapist can help you with the following:
      • How to pinpoint, understand and manage the root causes of depression
      • Different ways to identify negative or distorted thinking patterns that may be contributing to depression
      • Look into other learned thoughts and behaviors that may be creating conflict and contributing to ongoing issues
  • Obsessions and Compulsions – Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can derail your everyday life, with intrusive thoughts that make seemingly routine tasks daunting. Utilizing cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) through psychology counseling is one of the best ways to alleviate OCD and find more life-affirming, positive habits.
  • Eating Disorders – Working with a therapist and psychologist for eating disorders is key to finding a sustainable road to recovery, and the road can often be long for these issues. With an array of causes and triggers, each situation is unique. Counseling can help you find ways to shift your relationship with food while doing deep work to uncover the disorder’s origins.
  • Relationships – There are many reasons that relationships break down, but with the proper counseling, communication lines can be restored and strengthened. Some of the various relationship therapies offered include:
  • Substance Abuse – Substance abuse often goes hand-in-hand with many of the above issues, but not always. Working with a psychologist or therapist can help you and your family find ways to cope, overcome, and manage the daily ups and downs that come with this condition. Through talk therapies like psychotherapy, group therapy, and working with an addiction specialist, there is a light at the end of this tunnel.
Silhouettes of people staring at the sunset

At Miami Hypnosis and Therapy, we offer a wide range of therapies through our psychology counseling offerings. We combine integrative therapies from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), hypnotherapy, and other counseling modalities to serve our clients for each individual need.

Don’t allow stress, depression, or any of life’s difficulties to cause you to feel despair. Start living the joyous life you were meant to live, and contact us to get started on finding that bright light in your life again.

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