Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy of which the main tenet is that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected. In this treatment approach the way we think or feel about something will impact the action we take and the choices we make. The CBT therapist believes that the client can learn to shift unhelpful thought patterns, change patterns of behavior and acquire new coping skills which will then alleviate symptoms. The focus of this treatment is on the person’s current life, rather than on the past, and aims to help the client gain healthier coping strategies.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was founded by Dr. Aaron Beck in the 1960’s. At this time behavioral therapies had become well known and were effective at treating some conditions like phobias and Anxiety. Beck noticed that the depressed clients he was working with often held negative views about themselves, others and the world. He found that Freudian psychoanalysis, which emphasizes exploring the past, was not effective in shifting these negative thought patterns and began to explore the impact this had on depression. Since then CBT has been proven to be an effective treatment for multiple mental health concerns including Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Phobias.
Clients can expect to attend weekly talk therapy sessions combined with homework assignments that allow them to practice new skills in their daily lives. At the conclusion of treatment the client should gain an awareness of their negative thought patterns and unhealthy behaviors and how these contribute to their distress. Clients will feel more control over their thoughts, feelings and behaviors and will have learned tools and strategies to better cope with life’s stressors.