About Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

What is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive therapy (also known as cognitive-behavioral therapy) helps people examine their self-defeating thoughts and to solve problems in their daily life. It does this by helping them analyze and change thinking that is negative or distorted, which can lead to problems like depression, anxiety, interpersonal and relationship problems, alcohol or drug abuse, or stress. Cognitive therapy does not focus only on negative thinking, but instead helps people gain a better understanding of the relationship between their thoughts, feelings, and actions. As a result, cognitive therapists focus on helping people change destructive and unhealthy behaviors to more positive and adaptive ones.

Cognitive therapy is a problem-focused therapy that helps people change their thoughts, feelings, and actions by using proven treatments that are firmly based on scientific research. Cognitive therapy has been shown to be effective for a wide variety of psychological and interpersonal problems and for some problems (e.g., anxiety), it is the treatment of choice. Cognitive therapy usually focuses on current situations and problems and it is often effective in a brief period of time.

Settings Where Cognitive Therapy is Used
Because it is a flexible and practical approach to helping people change their maladaptive thoughts, feelings, and actions, Cognitive Therapy is used by Mental Health Professionals for a diverse range of psychological conditions. Cognitive Therapy was initially developed as a treatment for depression and over the past 20 years it has been extended and adapted for an extensive array of problems that include anxiety and phobias, personality disorders, marital discord, bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, and even schizophrenia. Cognitive therapists work with individuals, couples, families, or groups of people who have psychological problems. Cognitive Therapy is performed in a variety of settings that include outpatient clinics, schools, hospitals, or nursing homes. Sometimes, people have more than one problem and in these circumstances cognitive therapists often work closely with other professionals, including teachers, physicians, probation officers, and nurses. When treatment involves the combination of Cognitive Therapy and medication, cognitive therapists usually work closely with a psychiatrist or other physician (for example, a pediatrician or primary care physician).