Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is...
Many patients treated with CBT finish treatment in as few as 6 - 12 sessions. Once the patient feels significant symptom relief and has the skills he/she needs to avoid relapse, treatment can be ended. However, not all patients make significant progress in just a few months, and may need additional therapy to reduce symptoms and create lasting change. Patients with serious, chronic psychological problems may need anywhere from six months to several years of treatment. However, even in these cases, CBT is generally more effective and of shorter duration than traditional talk therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy for most people focuses on present problems and current situations that are distressing them. This here-and-now focus allows for current problems to be solved more quickly and effectively.
Cognitive behavioral therapy requires the client and therapist to work as a team, collaborating to solve problems. Rather than waiting for problems to get better after talking about them repeatedly from week to week, the client takes an active role in his/her own treatment, using self-help assignments and CBT tools between sessions to speed up the process of change.
Unlike a lot of talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy is a problem-solving therapy aimed at helping the client achieve his/her goals. The goals can be anything from getting a job to finding a romantic partner to reducing feelings of anxiety or depression. Once the goal is met, the therapist and client collaboratively decide whether there is anything remaining to work on, or to end treatment.
The most widely researched therapy that exists, over 500 studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of CBT for numerous psychological and medical problems. It is one of the few therapies that is scientifically proven to be effective. For more information on the kinds of problems CBT can be used to treat, explore this site using the navigation bar at the top. Follow this link to a chart comparing the effectiveness of CBT to other treatments.
Making big changes can be difficult. Cognitive behavioral therapists take this very seriously, and are dedicated to helping the client along this process at the client's pace, offering CBT tools in an environment of warmth and caring. With the foundation of a supportive relationship, clients feel more comfortable stepping outside of their comfort zone to achieve their goals.
For more information about what CBT is, what it is used to treat, and the methods it uses, explore our site using the navigation menu at the top of this page.
For more information: New York Times Article: "Evidence That Therapy Works"
Information about different cognitive behavioral therapy exercises.