top of page

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or “CBT,” is a widely used and effective form of therapy used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It is meant to be a time-limited intervention through which a client learns coping skills for persistent feelings of anxiety and worry. Here are three highlights from CBT:

1. Challenging Assumptions: One of the main tenets of CBT is to closely investigate the immediate assumptions that we often make regarding situations. For instance, a person who wakes in the middle of the night to hear the faucet dripping may assume that the house will soon be flooded. The idea is to challenge the “catastrophic thought” that accompanies the fact that the faucet is merely dripping.

2. Re-framing: CBT teaches clients to “reframe” their automatic thoughts. Reframing can take the form of working to see situations from all sides rather than from just one side. In the example above, a reframe might look like, “I can call a plumber to investigate what is going on with the faucet.” This is a more rational response than the assumption that the house will soon be underwater. Reframing can help clients ground themselves and come back to the present moment rather than to get stuck ruminating and playing out potential scenarios.

3. Perception vs. Reality: According to Dr. Aaron Beck, the forefather of CBT, “a perception of reality is not the same as reality itself.” This is one of the key lessons of CBT; the idea that what we perceive or believe is not always factual can help us to question our anxious conclusions.

These and other skills are the cornerstones of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT is a good intervention to consider if you are struggling with anxious thought patterns.

By Phil Lane, LCSW

This post is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical diagnosis or treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

©2022 PL Therapy, LLC. All rights reserved.

13 views0 comments
bottom of page