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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a popular therapeutic method for treating anxiety, depression, addictions and PTSD. CBT concentrates on patterns of abnormal thinking and distorted beliefs that are the underlying causes of irrational emotions and dysfunctional thinking patterns that can lead to mental illness and addiction. This widely supported treatment typically yields results after a few short months.

The key concept for this type of therapy approach is the idea that thoughts and feelings are directly related to behavior. Therefore, gaining control of one’s thoughts and emotions can better dictate behavior. Negative thoughts are often ingrained in us since early childhood and, over time, they become automatic, resulting in dysfunctional behaviors.


Mental health and substance use disorders are often caused by deep-rooted, underlying emotional and mental triggers, such as trauma, low self-esteem, personality disorders, poor relationships, and devastating conflict resolution skills. Cognitive behavioral therapy specifically works to help eliminate these negative aspects and develop positive coping skills by fixing abnormal thought processes. CBT is also an effective form of therapy for depression, mood disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and anxiety.  CBT has also been shown to help with anger issues, low self-esteem, and physical health problems, such as pain or fatigue.

What are the stages of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is generally a shorter-term treatment option (five to ten months) compared to other types of therapy, however, this is a therapeutic approach where each phase must be completed successfully before an individual can move on to the next phase: 

  • Functional Analysis - The stage of CBT where the individual is learning to identify problematic beliefs. 

  • Actual Behaviors-The second stage of CBT where new skills are learned, practiced, and applied to real-world situations. 

  • Behavior Change - The final phase of CBT that encourages an individual to take steps towards implementing a developmental transformation.

What does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy entail?

  • CBT is a short-term therapy focused on the here and now. It uses a collaborative approach between the therapist and the client.

  • The treatment plan is established after an initial assessment. This allows the therapist to develop a case conceptualization to share with the client and together decide on the goals for treatment that the client would like to achieve.

  • CBT educates clients about their specific issues from a psychological perspective. This is called psychoeducation. The therapist starts by providing psychoeducation about the specific disorder that the client presents so they can understand how things work and why they unfold in a certain way. This new insight helps people to adjust behaviors that they didn’t know were actually feeding their problem.

  • Clients are introduced to particular exercises and techniques that proved to be helpful through research studies to many people with similar issues or disorders. These exercises walk people through the mechanism of changing their unhelpful beliefs by replacing them with new ones that will spark a more positive outlook and change their emotional response.


What will you do in your CBT Sessions?

  • In each session, you will agree with your therapist on your agenda for the session. You may include situations that happened during the week that you didn’t know how to handle, events that are going to happen in the next few days or you have concerns about or things from the past that still come to your mind and would like to address.

  • Usually, you will review the homework from your last session to have the opportunity to acknowledge your gains from the last session and understand the things that did not go very well.

  • There is also a time to discuss your thoughts about the previous session and if something bothered you about it

  • You will talk in-depth about one of the issues that are connected with your goals and discover together with your therapist new aspects of each situation that you were not aware of before.

  • Figure out options to do things differently and learn new skills to help you advance towards your goal

  • Plan how to apply your new learning between sessions to incorporate that new knowledge into your daily life


What are the benefits of Cognitive Behavior Therapy? 

CBT is a practical, goal-oriented form of therapy. It is a collaborative effort between the therapist and patient that can help the patient improve many aspects of their life. Treatment is individualized, so cognitive behavioral therapy may look different for different people. CBT has been shown to be beneficial in treating anxiety, depression, and even ADHD. It is also a form of short-term therapy, with weekly sessions typically lasting 7-10 months. 

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