Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most well researched psychotherapies in practice today. It was developed in the 1960’s by Dr. Aaron T Beck, as a treatment for people experiencing depression. To date, there is research evidence documenting its effectiveness for a wide range of disorders, including major depressive disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and insomnia, to name a few. In contrast to some other types of therapy, CBT is generally a time limited, “present-focused” therapy that aims to help you approach the real life problems that you are facing in a systematic way and discover and implement solutions that will result in a more values driven life.
CBT is based on the theory that the way we interrupt the events in our lives influences how we feel and in turn, how we behave. Unfortunately however, there are times that our interpretations of events might be biased based on our past learning history, the intensity of our emotions or environmental factors. Thus, the goal of CBT is to gain insight into the types of biases that we are individually prone to, and learn how to make our interpretations more accurate and helpful, which can impact the intensity of our emotions. At times, learning strategies to accept the presence of distressing thoughts can be helpful. Another goal of CBT is to gain insight into maladaptive behavior patterns that may be contributing to or reinforcing distressing emotions and teach more adaptive behaviors that will facilitate coping.