What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a researched based, empirically supported approach used to treat psychological issues. It is based on the belief that thoughts, feelings, and behavior interact and influence our functioning and quality of life. Psychological problems arise from unhelpful thoughts and patterns of behavior which establish and maintain psychological symptoms (e.g., thoughts that the future is hopeless and behavior such as staying away from social activities). CBT aims to reduce psychological suffering while learning problem solving methods to overcome mental health issues and life obstacles.


A psychologist using CBT helps clients reduce the impact of unhelpful thoughts, learn and practice new coping skills, and acquire new behaviors to replace the maladaptive ones. The overarching goal is to have the client use these new skills in the future, encounter positive outcomes based on skill use, and rely less on the need of the psychologist.

CBT has been shown to be effective in treating depression, anxiety, insomnia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with adults, obsessive compulsive disorder, disordered eating, and more severe mental illnesses.