Cognitive-behavior therapy is often abbreviated as CBT. This form of therapy is used to treat many different types of mental health problems. The aim of this type of therapy is to change the way that you think, the way that you feel, as well as the way that you behave. This is actually a combination of two schools of therapy. Cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy.

Briefly, cognitive therapy is a type of therapy in which the therapist helps the client understand current thought patterns, especially to identify any harmful, unhelpful, and 'false' ideas or thoughts that make the person depressed, anxious, etc. The goal is to change the ways in which the person thinks to avoid these ideas. It is supposed to help make the thought patterns be more realistic and helpful. Behavior therapy focuses on changing harmful or simply unhelpful behaviors. Cognitive behaviour therapy combines those two therapies because how we behave is often a reflection of how we think.

There are many conditions that are treated with CBT. This type of therapy has been used to treat phobias, panic attacks, panic disorder, and other anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, OCD, anger, PTSD, sexual and relationship problems, tics, alcohol and other drug abuse, and some sleep problems. The more specific the problem is the more likely cognitive behavior therapy is to help. The reason for this is because it is a practical therapy which focuses on particular problems and aims to overcome them.

This type of therapy is often used in combination with medication, but not always. This depends on the type and the severity of the condition being treated. It has been shown in research studies that Cognivite behavior therapy is as effective as medication in treating depression and in certain anxiety disorders.

The first session with a CBT therapist will usually include time for the therapist and client to develop a shared understanding of the problem. The reason is mainly to identify how the patients thoughts, ideas, feelings, attitudes, and behaviors affect day-to-day life. At this point a treatment plan and goals to achieve are worked out. The number of sessions most likely needed is worked out. Each of these sessions lasts fifty minutes to an hour usually. Most CBT clients go once a week. A common amount of time is 10-15 weeks but can be longer or shorter depending on the issues being treated. In order for this type of therapy to be successful the patient has to take an active part. They are usually given “homework” between sessions. These homework assignments are specific ways of applying the techniques taught in situations to real life situations.

Cognitive behavior therapy is a form of psychotherapy, sometimes called a talking treatment. In some talking therapies the patient is allowed to talk freely about anything. They are often allowed to dwell on events in their past in order to gain insight into their emotional state of mind. This is NOT one of those therapies.

CBT is a “here and now” type of therapy. It’s focus is on how your current thoughts and behaviours are affecting you, now. This type of therapy does recognize that events in your past, particularly your thought patterns and the behaviours you learned in childhood, have shaped the way that you currently shape and behave. In CBT, though, one is not to dwell on the past. It aims to find solutions to how to change your thoughts and behaviors that you can function better in the future. There are different approaches to Cognitive –behavioural therapy. These include: Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Rational Behavior Therapy, Rational Living Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, and Dialectic Behavior Therapy.


Sources: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT): http://www.patient.co.uk/showdoc.asp?doc=27000424
Cognitive behavior therapy: http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Cognitive-behaviour%20therapy
Psychology Seventh Edition by Carole Wade and Carol Tavris
The World of Psychology Fourth Edition by Samuel E. Wood and Ellen R. Green Wood