What is CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy)? Anxiety Treatment Review Series

What is CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy)? Anxiety Treatment Review

What CBT is | The basic idea behind CBT | How CBT works | Where CBT comes from | CBT Therapies | Evidence

What CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy) is

CBT or Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is a term which embraces a wide range of therapeutic and research approaches to helping people deal with and solve emotional, salessales shopshop behavioural and cognitive (thinking) issues and problems. CBT is not really a method as such but rather a broad collection of research, physicianphysician techniques and ways of thinking about emotional, behavioural and thinking problems people get such as anxiety, phobias, OCD (obsessive compulsive behaviour), some forms of paranoia, depression, borderline personality disorder (BPD) and a whole range of other similar psychological issues.

The basic idea behind CBT

The basic premise CBT works on is that there are strong connections between

  • The emotions we experience,
  • How we behave,
  • How / what we think, and
  • The word we use (language)

How CBT works

CBT works on the principle that you can change any one of the above four elements and the other 3 will have to change. Many CBT methods operate on changing how we behave, think and talk to bring about  changes in our emotional state.

Where CBT comes from

CBT is based on a combination of research and therapeutic practice from both the behavioural and cognitive science disciplines.

Therapies that are CBT based

The list of therapies that comes under the banner of cognitive-behavioural therapy is quite long and includes :

  1. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  2. Anxiety Management Training
  3. Applied Behavioral Analysis
  4. Behavioral Activation
  5. Behavior Modification - the term originally used by Edward Thorndike in 1911.
  6. Behavior therapy
  7. Cognitive Therapy
  8. Computerised Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  9. Cognitive Analytic Therapy
  10. Cognitive-Behavior Modification
  11. Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy
  12. Contingency Management
  13. Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  14. Direct Therapeutic Exposure
  15. Exposure and Response Prevention
  16. Functional Analytic Psychotherapy
  17. Interactive Cognitive Subsystems
  18. Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy
  19. Multimodal Therapy
  20. Narrative Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
  21. Problem-Solving Therapy
  22. Rational Emotive Therapy
  23. Prolonged Exposure Therapy
  24. Rational Behavior Therapy
  25. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy - formerly called Rational Therapy and Rational Emotive Therapy
  26. Rational Living Therapy,
  27. Rational Therapy
  28. Reality Therapy
  29. Relapse Prevention
  30. Self Control Training
  31. Self Instructional Training
  32. Self-talk Identification, Questioning & Revision (SIQR)
  33. Stress Inoculation Training
  34. Systematic desensitization
  35. Systematic Rational Restructuring


There is a lot of research evidence which supports the use many of the techniques which come under the umbrella of CBT and particularly in the areas of emotion regulation, emotional resilience, many types of depression and anxiety related issues and has become a standard series of interventions with health organisations like the NHS.


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