“Behavior therapy has given me the tools to recognize and fight unhealthy thoughts and actions. I’ve been using it for years and would recommend it to anyone seeking to develop a more positive view of themselves or the world.” – G
Cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT) work from the assumption that by changing your thoughts, you can change your life. They focus on identifying thought and behavior patterns that aren’t working and then changing those patterns to better fit your needs.
This form of therapy focuses on problems as they present themselves, and therefore is rooted in the present. Though core issues may be identified, CBT focuses on observing and shifting one’s response to them, as opposed to resolving the core beliefs themselves (for the latter, see psychodynamic therapy).
There are several therapies that are based on the principles of CBT, including DBT and ACT.
Dialectical-Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT incorporates the teaching of cognitive behavior skills with individuals who experience emotional dysregulation. It helps clients improve their awareness, ability to tolerate distress, and other aspects of their emotional reactions. You can learn more about DBT here.
DBT is an evidence based treatment for borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, complex trauma and for individuals with self-harming behaviors, suicidal ideation, addictions, eating disorders and other behaviors related to impulsivity.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Like CBT, ACT assumes that anxiety and depression can be treated by teaching skills to shift thinking and behavior. It uses a combination of classic CBT strategies with newer skills and thinking strategies. You can learn more about those here.
Even as a “newer” therapy, it’s still been around for 35 years, and there is extensive research showing its efficacy with a number of populations.
CBT and its derivatives are among the most researched mental health treatments. They have been found to be effective for almost every category of mental health disturbance: anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, complicated grief, substance abuse, trauma recovery, eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia.