Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a structured and solution-focused psychotherapy that has been scientifically tested in over 375 research studies and found to be effective for a wide range of psychological issues. Studies have shown that CBT can be as effective as medication for anxiety and depression. The premise of CBT is that thoughts (not situations and events) cause feelings and behavior. For example, when contemplating entering cognitive therapy, one individual may think, "Nothing can really help me. It is too difficult to try to make a change." As a result, this person will likely feel discouraged and may not attempt therapy. Another individual may think, "CBT sounds like it can be helpful. It is different than what I have tried before and may be able to give me some new skills." This person is likely to feel more hopeful and eager to try therapy. Thus, the same situation with different thoughts leads to different emotions and behavior.

CBT is collaborative and action-oriented, with the therapist and client working together to identify and solve problems. The therapist helps the client overcome current difficulties through changing his or her thinking, behavior, and emotional responses. Therapy is often time-limited and focused on the client developing skills that will last a lifetime. CBT can be used as an independent form of therapy or as an addition to general therapy to create a brief, focused intervention for a specific issue (e.g., weight loss, panic).

For more information about cognitive therapy, please visit the Academy of Cognitive Therapy web-site.