Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is rooted in the exploration and analysis of the relationships between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Therapists who conduct this type of therapy actively work with the patient to modify thinking patterns and thus improve coping and prevent self-destructive behavior. Cognitive behavioral therapy often is described as “problem focused” and “action oriented.” It also places great emphasis on recognition and focus on the “here and now.” Those undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy are encouraged to record their thoughts for later analysis and discussion with their therapist. This type of therapy is effective in treating a variety of mental illnesses, including mood, anxiety, personality, substance abuse, sleep, eating, and psychotic disorders. In fact, it has been shown to be as useful as antidepressant medications in some cases, and it actually might be better when it comes to preventing relapse. There are six phases of cognitive behavioral therapy: assessment, reconceptualization, skills acquisition, skills consolidation and application training, generalization and maintenance, and post-treatment assessment and follow-up. It can be administered in both individual and group settings, which some techniques being more behaviorally oriented and others being more cognitively oriented. In some cases, it can be delivered as part of outside plans of care—including physical therapy and primary care—often in the form of an online-based program.