Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of treatment that focuses on examining the relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. By exploring patterns of thinking that lead to self-destructive actions and the beliefs that direct these thoughts, people with behavior or emotional problems can modify their patterns of thinking to improve coping.  People who seek CBT can expect their therapist to be problem-focused and goal-directed in addressing the challenging symptoms of mental distress. Because CBT is an active intervention, one can also expect to do homework or practice outside of sessions.

CBT is a class of interventions and techniques with wide application and demonstrated efficacy in treating many psychological disorders.  Well-controlled research has produced more evidence showing that CBT, by a wide margin, works for specified disorders better than any other treatment.  For example, according to a review article in 2001 (Chambless & Ollendick, 2001), approximately 80% of the treatments for specific disorders (for both adults and children) that are supported by research fall within the CBT class. Hence, CBT predominates among empirically supported treatments (ESTs) for particular disorders including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse disorders, sleep disorders and psychotic disorders. CBT has been shown to be as useful as antidepressant medications for some individuals with depression and may be superior in preventing relapse of symptoms.  Studies have shown that CBT actually changes brain activity in people with emotional difficulties who receive this treatment, suggesting that the brain is actually improving its functioning as a result of engaging in this form of therapy.