Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Journal
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that seeks to alter people’s thoughts, feelings and behavior. It has become effective for treating various mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder – with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often recommended as one of its applications.
CBT, developed in the 1960s, is based on a cognitive model of mental illness which states that people’s emotions and behaviors are determined by how they interpret events rather than by what actually happened. It’s a problem-oriented brief intervention with structured approaches for changing negative thoughts and behaviors which may be delivered individually or in group sessions.
Focusing on the present, with mutually agreed SMART goals as a guide for treatment. These should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-limited so they can be accomplished during one therapy session.
Goal-directed therapy emphasizes setting achievable objectives that are reviewed and revised throughout the process. These objectives may also be tied in with self-reporting or tailored to each person’s unique situation, creating a part of the patient’s individualized treatment plan.
This approach has been found to be successful for a range of psychiatric disorders and is now being applied to physical illnesses as well. Additionally, it’s being increasingly integrated into other psychological treatments like dialectical behavior therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy.
In addition to traditional forms of CBT, mindfulness-based interventions are becoming increasingly popular. Studies have reported that these short and internet-based treatments can be successful at treating stress, anxiety, pain and other physical symptoms with long-term follow-up demonstrating significant effects.
Mindfulness-based interventions are similar to mindfulness-based stress reduction, but they also incorporate cognitive therapy techniques that help patients recognize and alter automatic negative thought patterns. They have been found particularly effective at relieving symptoms of PTSD as well as being as effective or better than other treatments in terms of relieving back pain in the short term.
However, these approaches tend to be brief and not always taught or practiced by qualified professionals. Furthermore, they don’t address all underlying mental processes or ways people can develop problems that are hard to change, plus they haven’t been proven as successful at improving patients’ quality of life as more comprehensive therapies such as CBT do.
These limitations have led to a growing call for multiple psychotherapies, including CBT as well as other scientifically sound methods that can address all forms of human suffering and are tailored specifically for each individual.
Despite its widespread acceptance and extensive evidence base, some critics have questioned whether CBT truly represents the gold standard in psychotherapy. Furthermore, some studies show that its high cost does not always correlate to its efficacy.