Of the many different psychotherapy approaches, I was drawn to cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) when I was training to be a psychologist. It was straightforward and had strong scientific support, and I saw over and over as a therapist what a difference it could make. And yet I felt like something was missing in my clinical work.
Around the same time I began to sense that something was missing in my own life, as well. Long hours of research and grant writing to advance my academic career took me away from my growing family and consumed my nights and weekends. Of all my time at work, only the few hours a week treating men and women with crippling anxiety and depression felt like time well spent.
After a decade in academia, I had an experience I can only describe as an awakening. I encountered an approach to living based in a present-focused embrace of life as it is. This mindful approach not only became invaluable in my work as a therapist but helped me to align my life with what was most important to me.
Along the way I realized quietly and with complete clarity that I could not stay in academia, and decided to focus my efforts on work where I found a deep connection. I left my assistant professor position at Penn and opened a practice in psychology where I could provide CBT and mindfulness-based therapy.
I also came to see that waking up is not a once-and-for-all experience. Even when we know the path we want to be on—whether to face our fears, to leave behind addictions, to stay present, or anything else—we need reminders to think and act in line with our best intentions. Mindfulness-Based CBT provides three such reminders:
Think: Fostering patterns of thought that serve us well
Act: Planning our behaviors to match our goals
Be: Opening to our present experience just as it is.
I want to make these practices available as widely as possible, even if a person doesn’t need to see a CBT therapist in person or doesn’t have access to one. On this website you’ll find information on the fundamentals of CBT for a variety of conditions, guided mindfulness meditations, links to books, as well as the Think Act Be blog. I’ll continue to add material each week; please let me know if there are other resources you’d like to see.
Whether you’re facing a challenge like anxiety or depression or you simply want to be more in your life, I hope you find something useful here.