Cognitive Behavior Therapy, also referred to as CBT, is an evidence-based psychological treatment proven to be effective through rigorous scientific research. This means that CBT treatment is not based on what people think might work, but what has been proven to work.
Evidence-based treatment can increase the chance that a problem is identified accurately and treated effectively. This can prevent the problem from being drawn out unnecessarily and decrease the chances of it coming back (i.e., relapse). Research has shown that CBT is an effective treatment for a wide range of problems (e.g., depression, anxiety, chronic pain, disordered eating, low self-esteem, anger problems, addiction, & personality disorders).
In particular, CBT has been shown to be effective in the management of anxiety and depression, and is as (if not more) effective as treatment with medication alone. Research also shows that people experiencing anxiety and depression are less likely to relapse when treated with CBT: They tend to get better and stay better!
As the name suggests, CBT focuses on the way people think ("cognitive") and act ("behavior"). The concept behind CBT is that our thoughts about a situation affect how we feel (emotionally and physically) and how we behave in that situation. As human beings, we give meaning to events that are happening around us. However, we often don’t realize that two people can give two very different meanings to the same event.
As you can see, it is the meanings we assign to the situation that affect how we feel and act, not the situation itself. These meanings are not always accurate, realistic, or helpful. Unhelpful thoughts lead to unpleasant emotions and unhelpful behavior (e.g., avoidance) that reinforces our negative thoughts and maintain the problem. In other words, our thoughts, feelings and behavior can interact and influence each other to create a vicious cycle. We all have negative thoughts every now and then, but if we consistently apply negative meanings to events, then we are likely to experience problems with anxiety and/or depression.
CBT may be for you if:
You are looking for a practical, goal-oriented type of therapy that will focus on the problems you need help with in a time-efficient manner.
You want to get better and are willing to invest time and effort doing work in between sessions.
You like the idea of an evidence-based therapy that has been validated in hundreds of research studies.