Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been around for a long time (80 years) and is an effective method to relieve many mental health issues.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

It’s a combination of cognitive and behavioral therapy treatments that Aaron Beck developed in the 1960s. 

It’s based on the belief that our thinking (cognition), actions (behavior), and how we feel (emotions) are connected and control how our lives turn out. 

The main goal of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is to shift your thinking from negative to positive. It also focuses on helping you overcome self-defeating behaviors to avoid recurring episodes of depression and anxiety.

CBT gives practical ways for dealing with stressful situations. And it’s known to help reduce anxiety levels. 

A CBT therapist guides clients to shift their negative thought patterns to be more positive and hopeful of regaining control of their lives, regardless of what they’re facing. 

While CBT is suitable for most types of mental and emotional health issues, it’s typically used to treat the following: 

  • Depression
  • Anger management
  • Specific phobias, such as agoraphobia
  • Various disorders, such as PTSD, or panic disorders
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Anxiety and mood disorders

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Goals

As already mentioned, the goal of CBT is to help you take charge of your life instead of being manipulated and shaped by external forces and circumstances. Clients are encouraged to place their attention on the present instead of dwelling on the past. 

Typically, therapists assign homework or tasks to clients to do between sessions. The goal is for clients to change their thought patterns and establish healthy coping methods. 

A Typical Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Session

Here’s a general outline of what you can expect to happen in a CBT session:

  1. Assess the client’s mood 
  2. Review the previous week and identify negative thoughts
  3. Review the homework or task to see which goals were met and which weren’t 
  4. Work on reshaping thinking patterns that may be contributing to the problem
  5. Choose a new goal for the upcoming week
  6. Assign a new task

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Pros and Cons

Although CBT effectively treats mental health issues, like everything else, there are pros and cons. 


  • It is considered short-term compared with other forms of therapy
  • Works great in cases where medication alone is ineffective
  • CBT techniques are available in books, group therapies, and apps
  • Offers practical coping methods you can use in everyday life, both during and after treatment


  • It isn’t suited for those with learning difficulties or complex mental health issues
  • It doesn’t delve into past problems, which could be the underlying cause of the problem
  • Regular CBT sessions and tasks can be time-consuming
  • It involves facing your anxiety, which can be difficult for some people

Final Thoughts

We live in stressful times; many people could benefit greatly from therapy or counseling. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has become a popular treatment method because it’s effective for many mental health issues and can be individually customized to your needs.

If you feel you could benefit from therapy, consider adding CBT to your list of options and find a knowledgeable therapist who can customize the right CBT techniques for you. This kind of personalized treatment will bring about positive changes that will help you unlock your best life. 

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

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