Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is a time-sensitive, structured, present-oriented psychotherapy directed toward solving current problems and teaching clients skills to modify dysfunctional thinking and behavior.

CBT is a psychotherapy that is based on the cognitive model: the way that individuals perceive a situation is more closely connected to their reaction than the situation itself.

One important part of CBT is helping clients change their unhelpful thinking and behavior that lead to enduring improvement in their mood and functioning.

CBT uses a variety of cognitive and behavioral techniques, but it isn’t defined by its use of these strategies. We do lots of problem solving and we borrow from many psychotherapeutic modalities, including dialectical behavior therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, Gestalt therapy, compassion focused therapy, mindfulness, solution focused therapy, motivational interviewing, positive psychology, interpersonal psychotherapy, and when it comes to personality disorders, psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Key Terms

Cognitive formulation – the beliefs and behavioral strategies that characterize a specific disorder

Conceptualization – understanding of individual clients and their specific beliefs or patterns of behavior

Cognitive model –the way that individuals perceive a situation is more closely connected to their reaction than the situation itself

Automatic thoughts – an idea that seems to pop up in your mind

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