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What is CBT?

What Is CBT?

If you have recently started therapy or have been considering treatment for drug abuse, you're likely to hear about cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is an approach to treatment that was originally developed to treat depression but has been expanded to improve symptoms of various mental health illnesses and issuesincluding:

  • Addiction.

  • Anxiety.

  • Psychosis.

  • Trauma.

What CBT is NOT

Cognitive behavioral therapy should not be confused with the following:

  • Psychoanalysis - This Freudian approach aims to get at the bottom of subconscious determinants of your actions/behavior.

  • Person-centered/ humanistic therapy - This approach involves a mostly-passive therapist that says little during sessions in an attempt to have you resolve your issues independently.

A major component of CBT is that thoughts, feelings and behaviors are connected in a way that one influences and is influenced by the others. For example, feelings are impacted by your thoughts and behaviors, and your feelings impact your thoughts and behaviors. This notion gives some level of power to the client to improve the unwanted facet by addressing the other two.

So, if you have feelings that you do not like, you can modify them by changing your thoughts and behaviors.

VIDEO: The Institutes director, Dr. Robert L. Leahy provides an accessible introduction to the fundamental ideas involved in cognitive therapy in the AICT podcast for May 2007.

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