What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?
CBT is a type of psychotherapy that has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of anxiety, depression, AD/HD, and a host of other problems.
As you might expect, it has twin areas of focus:
- Cognitive approaches. Our feelings and behavior are largely shaped by our understanding of the world--our expectations, beliefs, assumptions, and biases. Often, these mental models serve us well. But sometimes, we fall into patterns of thinking that hold us back. In this approach, you will learn techniques for recognizing and changing the patterns that keep you anxious and stuck.
- Behavioral approaches. We all have ways different ways of dealing with stress and anxiety, some more effective than others. Often, we are not fully aware of how our behavior affects these emotions. In CBT, we try to understand how our habits keep us stuck, and we come up action plans to change those habits.
Comprehensive research has demonstrated that this therapy is effective for a host of problems, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, OCD, and eating disorders. It can also be helpful for relationship and work-related issues.
How is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy different?
If you haven't been to therapy before, or if you only worked with more traditional practitioners, you may be surprised how different this approach is.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is...
- Skills-focused. You will learn a new skillset for managning your stress and taking effective action.
- Targeted. We will work toward concrete, specific goals that are meaningful and important to you.
- Action-oriented. Therapy sessions are important, but the real changes occur when you leave the office. I will assign you exercises and activities and provide support when these are difficult.
- Data-driven. We will carefully and systematically measure your progress toward your goals.
- Research-based. CBT has been undergone extensive research, and has consistently proven its efficacy.
- Collaborative. The therapist plays a role similar to that of a consultant or coach, helping guide you toward the changes you want to make.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy used to treat?
CBT has been indicated in the treatment of a host of problems, including...
- Anxiety disorders, such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder
- Depression and other mood disorders
- Chronic health problems, such as back pain, Irritable Bowel Syndrom (IBS), and tinnitus
- Sexual dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction (ED) and premature ejaculation
Where can you learn more about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
- Forbes magazine article on CBT
- National Alliance for Mental Illness brief description of CBT
- Judith Beck, a leading CBT expert, explains "Why I chose CBT" on Huffington Post
- Association for Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies (ABCT) introduction to CBT
- New York Times article on the shift from traditional psychodynamic therapy to CBT
- Wall Street Journal article on how CBT can help you harness your anxiety and be more productive
- MensHealth article: The Psychology of Back Pain. Provides a nice explanation of CBT, and discusses the science behind psychological approaches to pain management.
- After Aaron Swartz. Reuters article discussing potential utility of CBT for hackers.