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CBT is a cognitive therapy focused on identifying and modifying thoughts, feelings and behavior.

Based on the cognitive model, CBT is a psychotherapy approach that recognizes that an individual’s reactions, either emotionally or behaviorally, are a result of how they perceive a given situation. One important part of CBT therapy is helping clients notice their automatic thoughts in order to change their unhelpful thinking and behavior. Once clients become aware of their automatic thoughts and how those thoughts lead to negative emotions and behavior, they can begin to experience lasting improvements in their mood and functioning (Beck, 2016).

CBT is outlined as follows:

  • Is based on the cognitive model where thoughts effect feelings and behavior.

  • Is briefer and time-limited.

  • A sound therapeutic relationship is necessary for effective therapy, but not the focus.

  • Is a collaborative effort between the therapist and the client.

  • Uses the Socratic Method which means a CBT therapist will ask a lot of questions.

Is structured and directive, where CBT therapists, along with the client, will establish an agenda and work towards meeting the goals established in the agenda.

Is based on an educational model where the client and therapist work toward unlearning unwanted thoughts and behaviors.

  • Theory and techniques rely on the Inductive Method where a client and therapist challenge thoughts using worksheets and homework in order to learn new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving.

Dr. Judith Beck Interview

Dr. Judith Beck is President of Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, a nonprofit organization which provides training and certification in CBT to health and mental health professionals around the world. Dr. Beck divides her time between teaching, clinical work, program development, research, and writing. Dr. Beck is also Clinical Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of the primary text in the field, Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Basics and Beyond, which is now in its third edition and has been translated into 20 languages. Dr. Beck’s other books include Cognitive Therapy for Challenging ProblemsCognitive Therapy for Personality Disorders, the Oxford Textbook of Psychotherapy, and The Diet Trap Solution. The online CBT courses she has developed at the Beck Institute have been taken by people in 130 countries.


Click the links below to find out more about CBT.

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