About Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)



Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that teaches you to manage the thoughts (cognitions) and behaviors that contribute to your difficulties.  By learning new coping skills and techniques, you can change the way you feel, overcome your problems, and enhance your life.


Goal-oriented. Together with your therapist you set specific, measurable goals for treatment and monitor your progress. 
Active.  In session, your therapist works actively with you to address your concerns and to give you constructive feedback.  Outside of sessions, the more you practice your new skills, the more you will benefit.
CollaborativeYou and your therapist work together as a team to solve problems.  Your therapist respects your ideas about how treatment should proceed.
Present-focused.  While it may be important to understand how past experiences have shaped current beliefs and behavior patterns, emphasis is on resolving present difficulties and building a brighter future.



Research has found CBT to be effective for:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry  
  • Panic Attacks and Agoraphobia
  • Social Anxiety
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar Disorder (with medication)
  • Eating Disorders
  • Substance Abuse
  • Chronic Pain
  • Personality Disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Relationship Distress
  • Self-Esteem Issues
  • Procrastination
  • Stress


A list of references is available at the Academy of Cognitive Therapy www.academyofct.org

Advantages of CBT:

Evidence-Based.  A wealth of scientific research has repeatedly documented the powerful effectiveness of CBT. For many disorders, clinical outcome studies have shown that CBT is more effective than other forms of psychotherapy and at least as beneficial as medication.

Efficient.  Cognitive behavioral therapy is typically shorter in duration than traditional psychotherapy. Homework assignments help clients learn self-help skills more quickly, thus keeping therapy to a manageable length.

Lasting Results.  Since CBT teaches effective coping strategies that can be used in the future, therapeutic benefits continue long after therapy ends. 

Cost Effective.  The skill-building approach of CBT promotes client independence and reduces both the length of treatment and the risk of relapse, minimizing overall cost.