What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
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What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a highly validated mental health treatment model.

Read more Below to see if CBT is right for you.




What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is a popular approach to mental health counseling. The Clinical Psychology Review published a meta-analysis (a way to statistically reviewing the literature) and found CBT to be an effective way of treating a variety of psychological issues. A researcher at Dartmouth writes that CBT believes that changing attitudes, beliefs, and thoughts promotes and maintains specific problems.




What can I expect during from a CBT session?


That same researcher from Dartmouth highlights the importance of identifying central thinking patterns, called “schemas.” These schemas are beliefs about yourself that fuel problematic/maladaptive behaviors.


Your therapist and you may explore the schemas that are fueling your attitudes and beliefs about yourself.


As part of this process, you and your therapist may also explore what are called cognitive distortions (see section below). Additionally, a CBT therapist will likely give you homework to work on outside of sessions.


CBT can be short term, long term, and can be applied to both thoughts and behaviors that are associated with mental illness or other concerning mental health conditions.





What are cognitive distortions?

The easiest way to think about a cognitive distortion is to break down the name. Cognition, or thoughts, that are distorted, blown up beyond accuracy.


For instance, a common cognitive distortion is called “Black and White Thinking,” which means that you are looking at things in absolutes (i.e., good or bad).


A common example of “Black and White Thinking” would be that things are either “good” or “bad.” See the “Can I do CBT on myself” section for an example of how you can check your cognitive distortions on your own.


Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

Does CBT really work?

 Yes, yes it does! Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that CBT is effective at treating a variety of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety disorders, panic disorders, social phobias, and childhood depression and anxiety. There is also a version of CBT for couples therapy and has been found to be effective at improving marital quality.


CBT has also been shown to be effective at treating eating disorders.


CBT is one of the most medically reviewed and validated mental health treatment modalities.




Can CBT make you worse?

Growth and change can be uncomfortable. Meaning it can sometimes feel like things are getting worse before they get better. However, a NIH study on CBT and depression stated that there are no mental health diagnosis they believe would be a bad fit for CBT.


The study also stated that special training or expertise using CBT may be needed to work with some personality disorders or individuals with intellectual disabilities.





What is CBT not good for?

            Like many therapeutic approaches you need to find one that is not only effective but is a good fit for you and an individual. CBT has a lot of literature that shows it is effective, but that does not mean that it would be effective for you. It is always okay for you to check in with your therapist about their approach (like CBT) and let them know if you are feeling like their approach is not working for you.



What is the difference between behavioral therapy and CBT?

CBT is an approach that grew out of behavioral therapy. A book chapter on this topic states that behavioral therapy was influenced by B.F. Skinner and his theory on operant conditioning.


Operant conditioning believes that behaviors that are reinforced will be repeated, while ones that are punished will go away (or be extinguished). For instance, as a kid many people were given gold stars when they did well at school, which is a type of operant conditioning.


It is trying to reinforce a specific behavior. Behavioral therapy focuses primarily on behaviors, where as CBT is focused on thoughts and beliefs in addition to behaviors.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy



How much does CBT cost?

CBT is a type of therapy and the approach of therapy does not impact how much it costs. Costs for therapy vary by providers (therapists) and where you live. The average therapy session in Minnesota costs $60-120. Costs of care at