What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)?
CBT is an effective, short-term type of psychotherapy. It is an evidence-based therapy for many of common problems such as depression, general stress, anger, PTSD, and different types of anxiety. Evidence-based therapies or “EBPs” are “[treatments] that have been evaluated in research and have been shown to lead to therapeutic change.” In other words, EBPs are types of therapy that are supported by actual data rather than simply the judgment or preferences of the therapist.
In general, CBT is:
- Client-centered, meaning that the client’s unique goals and presenting issues dictate the course of treatment
- Focused on figuring out and targeting the thoughts, feelings, and habits that are making it hard to achieve important goals
- Developing new and healthy ways of coping with emotional pain.
- Changing unhelpful habits such as procrastination, avoiding thinking and talking about important subjects, and not taking action on important things because it might be uncomfortable
- Taking action to resolve practical problems such as challenges at work and relationship issues
What is the goal of CBT?
The ultimate goal is to teach the client to become his or her own therapist. CBT is effective in the long term because clients can continue to use their skills once therapy is over. Treatment is completed the client’s unique goals have been reached.
What is it like to do CBT?
CBT is similar to physical therapy in some ways. Both types of therapy are:
- Focused on targeting specific problems
- Designed to teach new ways of dealing with problems in therapy sessions
- Often require short term discomfort to achieve long term change
- Require the client to practice new skills at home between sessions
Therapists teach clients ways to manage emotional pain and to solve their practical problems in the lives right now. It is a very engaging and active form of therapy.