What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that treats problems and boosts happiness by modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. Unlike traditional Freudian psychoanalysis, which probes childhood wounds to get at the root causes of conflict, CBT focuses on solutions, encouraging patients to challenge distorted cognitions and change destructive patterns of behavior.

Recent Posts on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Withdrawal and Inactivity Feed Depression

If you're depressed, it's natural to feel like withdrawing from others and it can be hard to motivate yourself to do anything. Unfortunately, giving into these behaviors is likely to make your mood worse, not better. Here are some small tips on how to get back on course to mental health and happiness.

How to Stop Beating Yourself Up

How to stop being your own worst bully.

Does Change Come from Within?

The environmental location of causality—change comes from without rather than from within—is awfully convenient for therapists, who happen to find themselves in their patients’ environments.

Is the Taboo Against “Blaming Victims” Over?

By Izzy Kalman on July 27, 2015 in Resilience to Bullying
The politically correct anti-bullying academic anti-bullying field has been shunning approaches to bullying that focus on teaching victims how to solve their problems because they don't want to be accused of "blaming victims." Researchers, discovering that the bully-focused approach doesn't work, may finally be ignoring the taboo against blaming victims.

Social Anxiety Diminished by Brain Signals and Re-Thinking

Social anxiety and its treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy can be studied with advanced brain imaging. Both the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala are involved.

Beyond Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 21, 2015 in How To Do Life
CBT needs to move from THE Therapy to being just one tool in the tool box.

17 Minutes a Day?

How many minutes is too many minutes to spend focused on your cellphone?

The Anxious Stories We Tell Ourselves

Stop jumping to conclusions.

For Depression: Mindfulness Therapy Works as Well as Drugs

Mindfulness therapy may offer you relief—without any unwanted side effects.

Ninety Minute Therapy Sessions

By Isadora Alman MFT on July 06, 2015 in Sex & Sociability
Psychtherapy sessions, like other intense encounters, must have a length that satisfies all parties involved.

A Waking Dream

By Greg O'Brien on July 06, 2015 in On Pluto
The barkers have started selling new cures. Praise the Lord and pass the Aricept!

Why Your Time in the Shower Is Vital to the Rest of Your Day

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on July 02, 2015 in Think, Act, Be
Experiencing your shower in a different way might change your day.

Is This a Portrait of a Narcissist?

By Donna Barstow on June 30, 2015 in Ink Blots Cartoons
Maybe you shouldn't say no - to anything - until you know yourself a little better.

Will Kennedy LeRoy’s Suicide Have Been in Vain?

By Izzy Kalman on June 25, 2015 in Resilience to Bullying
I recently suggested that our anti-bullying efforts are failing LGBTQ kids. The truth is that they are failing all bullied kids. Sixteen-year-old Kennedy LeRoy committed suicide in the hope of preventing other bullied kids from doing the same. But the suicides won't cease until we stop trying to protect kids from bullying and start teaching them to handle it on their own.

The Secret Behind Panic (and How to Escape It)

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on June 25, 2015 in Think, Act, Be
The catastrophes we fear aren't real.

How to Face Your Fears, One Step at a Time

Whether you’re terrified of shaking hands because you’re afraid of germs, or the thought of public speaking makes you weak in the knees, it’s possible to overcome your fear once and for all.

My Religion Is Kindness

By Tara Brach Ph.D. on June 17, 2015 in Finding True Refuge
One of the wonderful teachings of the Dalai Lama, something he says quite regularly, is “My religion is kindness.” When we hear that, it resonates, because it points to something at the core of all spiritual and humanistic paths. If we just dedicated our lives to kindness, to the qualities of friendliness and care, we would be directly serving peace on earth.

9 Reasons You Procrastinate (and 9 Ways to Stop)

By Pamela D. Garcy Ph.D. on June 16, 2015 in Fearless You
Researchers tend to agree that the reason any particular individual procrastinates can vary. The best cure is usually to respond to whatever reason might be specific for you.

Tackling the Emotions in Borderline Personality Disorder

People with borderline personality disorder have one of the most challenging psychological problems to treat. Furthermore, if you or someone you know is in a relationship with someone who has this disorder, you know how difficult it can be to live with the disorder. Mentalization-based therapy, focused on emotions, may provide an important new approach.

Earth to Humans: Why Have You Forsaken Me? Cognition

By Kenneth Worthy Ph.D. on June 15, 2015 in The Green Mind
What are the psychological roadblocks that explain why we’re not trying hard at all to solve global climate change—a phenomenon that threatens the core of our society? The first post in a seven part series.

"How?" Is Why You'll Eliminate Panic Attacks

By Hal Mathew on June 14, 2015 in Unagoraphobic
Ask yourself and others questions that begin with the word "How?" Doing this means you are ready to solve your problems.

Anxiety with Adult ADHD: What to Do

Why is Anxiety Common with Adult ADHD and What Can You Do About It?

Dr. Jones Tapia Takes On Mental Health in Prisons

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on June 11, 2015 in Brick by Brick
Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia is a psychologist and the newly appointed executive director of the Cook County Jail in Chicago, one of the biggest prisons in the country. She shares how her plans to address the mental health needs of prisoners in order to reduce recidivism and promote healthy re-entry into society.

Overcome Self-Doubts And Fulfill Your Life

Can a no-failure approach to defeating self doubts be used to build self-confidence? Try a unique experiment and see if this helps.

Resolving Guilt in Therapy

By Ryan Howes PhD, ABPP on June 05, 2015 in In Therapy
Dr. Martin Hsia describes his compassionate CBT intervention for resolving guilt in this Moments of Meaning video.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) for Addiction

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) posits addictions are caused by the interplay of cognition, behavior, and images.

Therapists Tell Therapy Stories

By Ryan Howes PhD, ABPP on June 02, 2015 in In Therapy
What really happens behind the closed doors of a therapy session? Six therapists share stories.

BA's In-Flight Meditation: Good PR. Bad Psychology

Meditation can help a person keep anxiety-producing thoughts out of mind. It works only if the flight is smooth. If turbulence begins, no matter how deep the meditation, when the plane drops, stress hormones are released that push whatever is being focused on out of awareness, and refocus the person on thought of possible danger

How to Fix Broken Sleep

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on June 01, 2015 in Think, Act, Be
What works for insomnia might surprise you--and your doctor.

Freedom From Self-Doubts, Anxiety, And Procrastination

Self-doubts, anxiety, and procrastination commonly occur together and each adds to the misery of the other. There is a way to exit this triple trouble pattern.