What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and how can it help?:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), largely influenced by the research and practice of Dr. Aaron T. Beck, is one of the few methods of psychotherapy that is Evidence-based. This means it has been tested in clinical trials, in its various modalities, and found to be effective.
The work is based on the conceptualization of the interaction between a person’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Individuals are generally unaware that the distress they feel is a result of these interconnections. The primary interventions in the Cognitive area of CBT focus on assisting clients in identifying their unhelpful thinking and modifying it. Behaviorally, CBT interventions are aimed at changing the current behaviors that influence and maintain a client’s distress. After an evaluation, the therapist assists in teaching the client alternative and consistent ways of change that are in line with their objective. In turn, clients develop a sense of mastery over their functioning, an ability to handle situations that used to emotionally overwhelm them or leave them feeling out of control. Both areas of intervention work to change clients maladaptive core beliefs about themselves, others, and the world and how it functions, to more realistic beliefs.
In comparison with other more traditional forms of psychotherapy, CBT generally focuses on the present, can be time limited, and emphasizes problem solving skills and techniques. CBT is more effective than medication alone, in terms of relapse prevention.
Here are some helpful videos of Judith Beck, Ph.D. discussing CBT: