Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was conceptualized by Dr. Aaron Beck, a professor emeritus from the University of Pennsylvania. Aaron Beck was initially trained in psychodynamic theory and began focusing on cognition and behavior after researching the etiology of depression.

CBT focuses on maladaptive thinking and posits that if you can change your thought you can change your behavior. In order to change our thoughts CBT teaches the client how to change their perceptions and beliefs. This change occurs by teaching patients how to examine the rationality of one’s beliefs as well as the consequences of having such beliefs.

Those who are receiving CBT treatment are encouraged to monitor their thoughts and keep records to track the frequency and duration of maladaptive thinking. Due to an increase in empirical support this form of treatment is gaining popularity among treatment providers and consumers for most non-psychotic disorders. Interventions include (but are not limited to): a review of external triggers, avoidance strategies and functional analysis.
CBT is currently utilized to treat a variety of problems/disorders and has been shown (using results from a recent metanalysis) to be effective with the following : adult/adolescent uni-polar depression, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

Key Difference between Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behvarioal Thearpy (DBT)

DBT stresses the acceptance of experience, without attempts to fix, alter, suppress, or otherwise avoid the experience vs. CBT – an attempt to fix, alter and suppress a thought/emotion or feeling and replace it with a “better/different/more acceptable” thought/emotion or feeling.


Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association (2009). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): A Summary. CBT- summary

Butler, A.C., Chapman, S.E., Forman, E.M. & Beck, A.T. (2005). The Empirical Status of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Clinical Psychology Review, 26, 17. Empirical Status of CBT

Bhor, S.S. & Beck, A.T (2009) Treatment Integrity of Studies that Compare Short-term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Clinical Psychology Practice, 16 (N3), 370-378.Treatment Integrity – Psychodynamic and CBT

Hollon, S. D. (2010). Aaron T. Beck: The cognitive revolution in theory and therapy. In L. G. Castonguay, J. Muran, L. Angus, J. A. Hayes, N. Ladany, T. Anderson (Eds.) , Bringing psychotherapy research to life: Understanding change through the work of leading clinical researchers (pp. 63-74). Washington, DC US: American Psychological Association. Aaron Beck- chapter