Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the interaction of our thoughts, feelings, and actions. It is based on the notion that when we experience different situations (triggers), our interpretations or thoughts about that experience affect the type and intensity of emotions we experience. This then influences how we choose to respond (our actions), which then influences the outcome. In short, people and events don’t make us feel a certain way, our thoughts and actions do.
TRIGGER → THOUGHT → FEELING → ACTION → OUTCOME
Thus, CBT aims to increase an individual’s self-awareness by having them monitor their thoughts, feelings, and behavior in order to identify irrational thought patterns and dysfunctional behaviors. We then work to bring about more balanced, rational thinking and appropriate behavioral skills.
CBT is an evidence-based therapy in that, research has consistently shown that it is an effective and promising intervention for treating various psychological problems in adults and youth. These include generalized anxiety, phobias, depression, interpersonal problems, social anxiety, and even management of pain.
For more information regarding CBT and evidence-based treatment, check out this link.
Kara Meyer, Ph.D.
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