Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psycho-social intervention[1][2] that aims to improve mental health.[3] CBT focuses on challenging and changing cognitive distortions (e.g. thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes) and behaviors, improving emotional regulation,[2][4] and the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems. It was originally designed to treat depression, but its uses have been expanded to include treatment of a number of mental health conditions, including anxiety,[5][6] alcohol and drug use problems, marital problems, and eating disorders.[7][8] CBT includes a number of cognitive or behavior psychotherapies that treat defined psychopathologies using evidence-based techniques and strategies.[9][10][11]

Cognitive behavioral therapy
The triangle in the middle represents CBT's tenet that all humans' core beliefs can be summed up in three categories: self, others, future.

CBT is based on the combination of the basic principles from behavioral and cognitive psychology.[2] It is different from historical approaches to psychotherapy, such as the psychoanalytic approach where the therapist looks for the unconscious meaning behind the behaviors and then formulates a diagnosis. Instead, CBT is a "problem-focused" and "action-oriented" form of therapy, meaning it is used to treat specific problems related to a diagnosed mental disorder. The therapist's role is to assist the client in finding and practicing effective strategies to address the identified goals and alleviate symptoms of the disorder.[12] CBT is based on the belief that thought distortions and maladaptive behaviors play a role in the development and maintenance of many psychological disorders,[3] and that symptoms and associated distress can be reduced by teaching new information-processing skills and coping mechanisms.[1][12][13]

When compared to psychoactive medications, review studies have found CBT alone to be as effective for treating less severe forms of depression,[14] anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), tics,[15] substance use disorders, eating disorders and borderline personality disorder.[16] Some research suggests that CBT is most effective when combined with medication for treating mental disorders such as major depressive disorder.[17] In addition, CBT is recommended as the first line of treatment for the majority of psychological disorders in children and adolescents, including aggression and conduct disorder.[1][4] Researchers have found that other bona fide therapeutic interventions were equally effective for treating certain conditions in adults.[18][19] Along with interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), CBT is recommended in treatment guidelines as a psychosocial treatment of choice.[1][20]