What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

CBT is an umbrella term for therapeutic approaches that combine elements of behavior therapy with cognitive psychology. It is goal-oriented and systematic, with the therapist providing guidance in a structured, time-limited sequence of sessions to help alleviate symptoms. Some key features of CBT are:

  • Connecting thoughts, emotions, and actions
  • Focusing on the “here and now”
  • Emphasis on replacing maladaptive thoughts and behaviors
  • Develop healthy coping skills
  • Skills learned in therapy are practiced between therapy sessions
  • Collaborative effort between the therapist and client


When Is it Used?

Cognitive behavioral therapy has been used to treat an array of mood, behavior, personality, and anxiety disorders, including, but not limited to:



-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

-Body Dysmorphic Disorder

-Eating Disorders

-Generalized Anxiety Disorder

-Borderline Personality Disorder

-Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

-Substance Abuse


More on CBT:

Because CBT employs both behavior and cognitive approaches to therapy, it actually encompasses a variety of techniques, including exposure therapy, relaxation training, or dialectical behavior therapy.

Prior to beginning therapy, a therapist gathers all the relevant information regarding a client’s presenting symptoms to determine an appropriate CBT treatment plan.

Sometimes, CBT is more cognitively oriented while other times it is more behaviorally oriented, depending upon the specific needs of the client.

CBT can also be used in individual or group settings.

For a more in-depth look at CBT, visit: http://www.nacbt.org/whatiscbt.htm