ABC’s of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is an Evidence-Based Practice 

  • A program is judged to be evidence-based if (a) evaluation research shows that the program produces the expected positive results; (b) the evaluation is peer-reviewed by experts in the field; and (c) the program is “endorsed” by a federal agency or respected research organization and included in their list of effective programs.

CBT is a Time-Limited Treatment Approach

  • CBT programs average about 15 sessions.
  • Some patients may need additional sessions based on progress in the program.
  • Research indicates 50% of patients have shown “clinically significant change” within the first 10 sessions, and 80% have displayed “clinically significant change” within 15 sessions.

CBT Sessions are Structured

  • Sessions follow a set format throughout the treatment process, often guided by a treatment manual.
  • This structure allows both the patient and therapist to focus on what is most important and maximizes the use of time together in therapy.

CBT Emphasizes Collaboration and Active Participation

  • Therapy is viewed from a team perspective.  Both the patient and the therapist work together to create treatment goals, agendas for each session, homework, and treatment schedules.
  • The biggest predictors of recovery are patient participation, persistence and motivation for change.

CBT is Goal-Oriented and Problem-Focused

  • Progress is tracked session to session.
  • The therapist pays particular attention to the obstacles that prevent the patient from solving problems and reaching goals.
  • The therapeutic process is set up in such a way that creates gradual mastery of coping skills and problem solving, benchmarks for the patient and therapist to reach along the path to recovery.

CBT is Present-Focused

  • Treatment involves a strong focus on current problems and on specific situations that are distressing to the patient.
  • The aim is to reduce current symptoms and then begin to develop new coping strategies and problem solving skills.

CBT is Educational and Informative

  • CBT is based on the scientific assumption that most emotional and behavioral reactions are learned.
  • Therefore, the goal of therapy is to help patients unlearn their unwanted reactions and to learn a new way of reacting that is more adaptive and leads to a more functional life.
  • There is also an emphasis on relapse prevention, empowering patients how to utilize these skills for situations and experiences that challenge them in the future.