What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a general term for a range of therapies that emphasize the role of thinking and self-awareness in a person’s thoughts, actions, and emotions. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy focuses on identifying and rectifying maladaptive thinking patterns, and encompasses features of cognitive therapy, rational behavioral therapy, and other therapeutic approaches.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy sessions are designed to lead to the patient toward an awareness and understanding of the negative thoughts that may be precluding him or her from achieving to his or her greatest potential. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is not an open-ended or ongoing process; cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions are usually designed to end after 12 to 15 meetings.

During Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy sessions, the therapist and the patient work together to meet defined goals related to the issues that the patient is dealing with. The Cognitive-Behavioral Therapist will help the patient identify problems, assess past responses, and develop and evaluate more productive future solutions.

The ultimate goal of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is to prepare the client to take a more active, positive, and responsible role in his or her life, and to respond to setbacks and challenges in a healthy and productive manner.

What are the Benefits of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

The National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists (NACBT) describes the overall benefit of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in the following terms:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations, and events.  The benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we think to feel / act better even if the situation does not change.


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy can lead to a range of benefits, including the following:

  • Identifying negative thoughts and emotions
  • Preventing addiction relapse
  • Managing anger
  • Coping with grief and loss
  • Managing chronic pain
  • Overcoming trauma and dealing with PTSD
  • Overcoming sleep disorders
  • Resolving relationship difficulties

(Source for above list: WebMD)


What Conditions/Disorders Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy has proved to be effective in helping people who are being treated for depression, panic/anxiety, addictions, behavior compulsions, eating disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, mood disorders, phobias, and similar behavioral, emotional, and mental health challenges.