Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
A form of psychotherapy that has been scientifically tested and found to be effective in over three hundred clinical trials for many different disorders. In contrast to other forms of psychotherapy, cognitive therapy is usually more focused on the present, more time-limited, and more problem-solving oriented. Indeed, much of what the patient does is solve current problems. In addition, patients learn specific skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. These skills involve identifying distorted thinking, modifying beliefs, relating to others in different ways, and changing behaviors.
Cognitive therapy is based on the cognitive model, which is the way we perceive situations influences how we feel emotionally. For example, one person may think “I can solve my problems with this therapy” and feel happy and energized. Another person may think, “I have tried other therapy without any results” and feel sad and discouraged. CBT posits that it is not a situation which directly affects how a person feels emotionally, but rather, his or her thoughts in that situation. When people are in distress, they often do not think clearly and their thoughts are distorted in some way. Cognitive therapy helps people to identify their distressing thoughts and to evaluate how realistic the thoughts are. Then they learn to change their distorted thinking. When they think more realistically, they feel better. The emphasis is also consistently on solving problems and initiating behavioral change.