CBT - Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT for short, is a research-based form of psychotherapy. Because there is so much evidence demonstrating its effectiveness, it is “the gold standard” for the treatment of anxiety and depression. The research shows that in many cases, a 12 to 16-week course of CBT is just as, or more effective, than medication alone.
CBT is a “here and now” type of therapy. In other words, your CBT therapist will not spend a lot of time focusing on the past or looking for the root cause of your symptoms but will instead focus on the present day and on teaching you the techniques and tools that will get you feeling better as quickly as possible.
For example: If you have a fear of driving over bridges, there may very well be a reason from your past that this has become the case. And while it may be interesting to identify the root cause, the research shows that knowing the reason is not enough to cause a change in terms of the thoughts and behaviors that occur around the fear of driving over a bridge. CBT targets the current thoughts and behaviors that are keeping you from driving comfortably over a bridge.
CBT is also a very active and collaborative form of therapy. Since it is a skills-based approach, you and your CBT therapist will spend time examining the thoughts and behaviors that are contributing to the problem and you will develop a plan to change those thoughts and behaviors. You will be given “assignments” to practice the skills outside of session and in follow-up sessions, you will talk with your therapist about how things went and develop a plan for the following week.
The goal of CBT is to teach you to be your own therapist so that you feel confident in managing your own anxiety or depression.