Cognitive behavioural therapy, also known as CBT or cognitive therapy, is a type of therapy that focuses on the relationships and connections between your thoughts, your feelings and your behaviour.
Although in cognitive behavioural therapy we recognize that factors from the past may contribute to the development of the issues you’re dealing with, rather than focusing on your past, the emphasis in CBT is on what's going on in your life in the present.
Cognitive behavioural therapy helps you make lasting changes that improve your current situation, make it less likely that problems return in the future, and give you strategies to deal with any issues that do recur and any new challenges you may face.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is based on the notion that our thoughts, behaviours, emotions and physical reactions are closely connected. What goes on in each one of these areas also affects the others. For a more in-depth explanation please read on my blog about CBT.
When there are difficulties or negative changes in one of these realms, it tends to have a negative effect on the others, creating a vicious cycle that makes you feel worse. But positive changes in any one of these realms tend to have a positive affect on the others, reversing the cycle and helping you feel better.
In CBT and cognitive therapy, we explore each of these areas, focusing on the cognitive (your thoughts) and the behavioural (your actions), for ways in which you can make positive changes that will reduce whatever pain or struggles you're experiencing and lead to positive changes in the other areas as well.
Cognitive behavioural therapy gives you concrete tools and strategies to deal with the difficulties you're going through so you can start feeling better and living a more satisfying life.
Cognitive behavioural therapy and cognitive therapy are empirically supported, evidence-based practices. This means studies have found cognitive behavioural therapy and cognitive therapy to be effective in treating a number of issues including depression, anxiety, stress, trauma and anger. According to the Society of Clinical Psychology, cognitive behavioural therapy and cognitive therapy are the type of therapy with the most empirical support.
I'm a Guelph therapist who specializes in cognitive and cognitive behavioural therapy. You can read more about cognitive therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy on my blog, where you'll also find posts about CBT for Depression and CBT for Anxiety.
For more information about therapy for depression, here's a sample treatment plan for depression you can download that outlines some of the things we'll often work on if you're struggling with depression.