Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short-term psychotherapeutic treatment approach that helps clients to understand how thoughts and feelings influence behavior. The goal of CBT is to show clients that while they can’t control everything that happens in the world around them, they can control how they interpret and deal with their environment. CBT is a classification of psychotherapy that covers a wide array of therapeutic methods used today, including cognitive therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, multimodal therapy, rational behavior therapy, rational emotive behavior therapy, and rational living therapy.
CBT was developed from the combination of behavioral therapy (first established in the early twentieth century) and cognitive therapy (refined by psychologist Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s). CBT is used to treat a range of mental health disorders including anxiety, depression, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, behavioral disorders such as an eating disorder, and substance abuse and addiction.
Unlike open-ended psychiatric and some psychological therapies, CBT lasts an average of 16 sessions. Patients have a capped amount of sessions and are encouraged to keep up with their treatment on their own with therapist-assigned homework.