Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - Neuropedia

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a form of psychotherapy that aims to alleviate common physical and mental conditions through modifying attitudes, thought patterns, and behavior. 

CBT differs from other types of psychotherapy by focusing on present thoughts and behaviors rather than looking to the “root” of the problem.[1] [2]  

CBT was pioneered by psychoanalyst Dr. Aaron Beck in the 1960s.[3] Since then, CBT has undergone extensive research in adults, couples, families, adolescents, and children. It’s also scientifically validated for treating non-psychiatric disorders like insomnia, migraines, chronic pain, and autoimmune conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.[4] 

In fact, CBT may be used to mitigate a wide range of conditions, from depression and anxiety disorders to alcohol and drug addiction to eating disorders and severe mental illness.

Other conditions include:[5]  

  • Symptoms of mental illness
  • Symptoms of medical illness
  • Coping with stressful life situations
  • Prevention of mental illness relapse
  • Emotional trauma of different degrees
  • Identifying emotional management
  • Coping with grief
  • Symptoms of chronic physical symptoms
  • Conflict resolution and developing communication skills

CBT for Mental Illnesses 

Cognitive behavioral therapy can be used to address some mental illnesses like:[6] 

  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Phobias
  • Sexual disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Substance use disorders
  • Schizophrenia

Limitations of CBT

The risks involved in cognitive behavioral therapy include:[7] 

  • Emotional discomfort during sessions
  • Physical drain
  • Temporary stress and anxiety

The effects of cognitive behavioral therapy are not always apparent. It takes time and may not cure the condition immediately. For example, it may not take away an unpleasant situation immediately, but it will give the patient a head start into feeling better about their life and situation.