What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Psychology Today?


Martha Robinson

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a widely used form of psychotherapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behavior. It is based on the concept that our thoughts, feelings, and actions are interconnected and can affect one another.

Understanding Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is a goal-oriented therapy that aims to identify and change negative patterns of thinking and behavior. It helps individuals develop coping skills to deal with difficult situations in a more positive way.

How Does CBT Work?

CBT involves working with a therapist to identify negative thought patterns and beliefs that contribute to emotional distress. The therapist then helps the individual challenge these thoughts by examining evidence for and against them.

For example, if someone has the belief “I’m not good enough,” the therapist may ask for evidence that supports this belief. They may also ask for evidence that contradicts this belief, such as past successes or positive feedback from others.

Once negative beliefs are challenged, the therapist works with the individual to develop more positive thought patterns. This can involve reframing negative thoughts into more positive ones or replacing negative thoughts with more realistic ones.

What Are The Benefits Of CBT?

One of the main benefits of CBT is that it can be highly effective in treating a wide range of mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and eating disorders.

CBT has been shown to be just as effective as medication for some mental health conditions. Additionally, it can provide individuals with long-lasting coping strategies that they can use throughout their lives.

What To Expect In A CBT Session?

In a typical CBT session, the therapist will work collaboratively with the individual to identify problematic thought patterns and behaviors. The therapist may assign homework between sessions such as keeping a diary of negative thoughts or practicing relaxation techniques.

CBT typically involves short-term treatment, with most people seeing improvement within 12-20 sessions. However, the length of treatment can vary depending on the individual and the severity of their condition.

Is CBT Right For Me?

CBT is a highly effective form of therapy that can help individuals overcome a wide range of mental health conditions. It may be particularly helpful for individuals who are looking for short-term treatment and want to develop long-lasting coping strategies.

If you are struggling with negative thought patterns or behaviors, it may be worth considering CBT as a treatment option. Speak to your healthcare provider to determine if CBT is right for you.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an evidence-based form of psychotherapy that has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of mental health conditions. By challenging negative thought patterns and developing more positive ones, individuals can develop coping skills that they can use throughout their lives. If you are struggling with negative thoughts or behaviors, consider speaking to your healthcare provider about whether CBT is right for you.