What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

CBT is a very powerful tool that can assist people in living lives that are more satisfying. CBT therapists are generally very active in treatment, meaning that they collaborate with their clients to help them understand and solve problems. Effective CBT therapists are empathic and work to understand their clients and what they are experiencing. They also help clients develop a focused plan for improving symptoms and functioning and feeling better. Although the factors that contributed to a problem developing (e.g., experiences in childhood) are often addressed in CBT, the main focus is usually on helping clients understand and change current behaviors. One reason for this is that often times the factors that led to a problem developing are not the same as the factors maintaining the problem in the present.

In order to be most effective, CBT typically requires clients to be committed to treatment and quite active in practicing new skills. CBT treatments almost always involve work and practice outside of sessions to facilitate the strengthening of behaviors and ways of responding. CBT, particularly for anxiety-related problems, often emphasizes helping people to approach things that they have been avoiding in life (e.g., objects, situations, difficult emotions). A good CBT therapist will coach you every step of the way to help you through the treatment and provide the support you need to be successful.