What is CBT?
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological treatment that is based on 3 core principles:
- Psychological problems are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking.
- Psychological problems are based, in part, on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.
- People suffering from psychological problems can learn better ways of coping with them, thereby relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives.
Numerous research studies suggest that CBT leads to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life. In many studies, CBT has been demonstrated to be as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications.
How Does It Work?
CBT therapy typically focuses on changing distorted or unhealthy thought patterns and maladaptive behaviors. The “cognitive” part of CBT centers on learning to identify and challenge cognitive distortions and reframe unhealthy cognitive perceptions. CBT emphasizes the use of behavioral symptom management skills for healthy coping including active self-care, positive activities, and relaxation techniques. In CBT, the therapist and patient work together, in a collaborative fashion, to develop an understanding of the problem and to develop a treatment strategy. CBT places an emphasis on helping you learn to be your own therapist. Through exercises in the session as well as “homework” exercises outside of sessions, patients are helped to develop coping skills, whereby they can learn to change their own thinking, problematic emotions and behavior.
CBT therapists emphasize what is going on in the person’s current life, rather than what has led up to their difficulties. A certain amount of information about one’s history is needed, but the focus is primarily on moving forward in time to develop more effective ways of coping with life.
Is CBT Right For Me?
CBT has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including:
- Panic Attacks
- Alcohol and substance use problems
- Marital problems
- Eating disorders
- Severe mental illness.