Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a research supported therapy. It is highly effective for depression, anxiety, anger, stress, self-esteem, and compulsions. CBT is a state-of-the-art therapy that is structured and focused. The duration of treatment is relatively short (8 to 16 sessions). Usually, clients experience relatively rapid relief and enduring benefits.
In the 1970s, Aaron T. Beck, MD was a practicing psychoanalyst (Freudian). He was frustrated by the painfully slow progress of his patients. He endeavored to develop a more potent approach to therapy. The fruits of his efforts have evolved into what is become widely known as CBT.
Through the CBT process, clients learn how to recognize and correct specific distortions in what he or she is thinking that produces negative or painful feelings. These distorted thoughts and perceptions affect a person’s behavior and emotions, and cause maladaptive choices or reactions. Cognitive Behavioral Therapists have found that, when changes are made in thinking (automatic thoughts, assumptions, and core beliefs), changes in emotions and behavior follow. Therapists use behavioral strategies and activities as needed to enhance the treatment outcome (i.e., behavioral activation, anger management, relaxation training, graduated exposure to feared situations, assertiveness training).
Although the premise sounds simple and the experience is intuitive for the client, effective CBT requires an experienced and skilled therapist.