What is CBT?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy, also sometimes called cognitive therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy, or CBT, is a type of psychotherapy that is:

  • Collaborative 
    the client and the therapist actively work together as a team to understand and address the client’s difficulties and life problems
  • Goal oriented 
    the focus of the therapy is to make progress on your life in the present (as opposed to the past) and to move toward your goals. Therapy goals are different for each client, but sometimes include reducing your anxiety, depression, or stress, or increasing your ability to cope with medical illness or pain.
  • Relatively Short-Term
    therapy often lasts between 12 and 20 sessions. Our goal is to leave you with the skills you need to survive and thrive in your life.
  • Empirically supported 
    the use of cognitive-behavioural therapy is supported by hundreds of scientific studies demonstrating its effectiveness for a variety of problems. Most studies suggest that this form of therapy is at least as effective as medication, and may be more useful in the long-term than medication for preventing relapse.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy involves both cognitive strategies and behavioural strategies. Cognitive strategies are used to help identify patterns of thinking that are related to distressing emotions and other symptoms and to modify them so that thought patterns are more adaptive.

Behavioural strategies are used to change behaviours that are not working, and involve techniques such as relaxation training, problem solving, assertiveness training, scheduling of pleasant activities to improve mood, and confronting feared situations. Cognitive and behavioural strategies are used together in CBT.