What is a CBT Therapy?


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies (CBT) are psychological approaches based on scientific principles and whose research has shown to be effective in a wide spectrum of mental disorders and physical problems, and can be used with children, adolescents and adults. In CBT, patients and therapists work together to identify and understand patients’ problems in terms of relationships between thoughts/cognitions, emotions and behavior. This approach usually focuses on difficulties in the here and now, relying on therapist and patient developing a shared view of the individual’s problem. This subsequently leads to the definition of personalized and time-limited therapeutic goals and strategies that are continuously monitored and evaluated. If you are looking for the clinic for cbt therapy in London then City Psychological Services is the best option.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists or Psychotherapists are usually health professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists and child psychiatrists and share the principles mentioned above. Therapists may also refer to themselves as Cognitive Psychotherapists, Behavioral Psychotherapists and Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapists. These different titles often reflect therapists’ individual preference and training in different cognitive-behavioral approaches, including: cognitive therapy (based primarily on cognitive change), behavior therapy (based primarily on behavior change), or a combination of both. as in rational emotive behavioral therapy (and more recently in schema-focused therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, compassion-focused therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, among others)*. Whichever designation therapists adopt, the underlying approach is commonly referred to as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Most importantly, all therapists aim to help patients achieve the desired change in the way they think, feel, and behave.

Here is an example of how our thoughts, emotions and behavior can affect us:

The phone stopped ringing as D. Maria was ready to nod off since she waited so long to answer it. She has been suffering from anxiety and depression for some time.I thought about her daughter Isabel, who had just relocated to Lisbon. “Something must have happened to Isabel,” D. Maria reasoned. This was a phone call from the police informing me that Isabel had had a serious accident.” She felt distressed, her stomach revolted and her heart pounding at the thought that something could have happened to Isabel. Her thoughts raced wildly and she was afraid she was going crazy. She called her daughter Isabel several times but got no response. D. Maria considered this as additional evidence that something bad had happened to Isabel, she felt so terrified that she stayed up all night despite taking extra medication. She had terrible thoughts about all the things that could have happened, and she even thought about calling some hospitals in Lisbon. D. Maria learned from Isabel, the following morning, that she had spent the night at a friend’s house and that she was fine. However, she remained distressed and felt unable to go to work.”


In Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies, therapist and client work together to:

Develop a shared understanding of each patient’s problem;

Identify how each issue affects the patient’s thoughts, behaviors, emotions, and daily functioning.

Based on an understanding of each patient’s problems, therapist and patient work together to identify therapy goals and agree on a shared treatment plan. The focus of therapy is on enabling the patient to devise solutions to their problems that are more helpful and adaptive than their usual way of dealing with these problems. This often means that the patient uses the time between sessions to experiment with new solutions in context.

The therapy is organized in an agreed number of sessions. The number of sessions required will depend on the nature and severity of the patient’s problem. Typically, sessions are weekly, last one hour and are held over a period of 10 to 15 sessions, but this duration can be significantly shorter or longer. After the end of treatment, the patient and therapist usually arrange a limited number of follow-up sessions to maintain the progress achieved.


Research into cognitive and behavioral therapies has been carried out extensively in a variety of contexts. This research has shown that CBT is an effective form of psychotherapy, particularly in the following mental disorders and physical problems:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Phobias (eg, agoraphobia, social phobia)
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Eating behavior disorders
  • Sexual and relationship problems
  • Disorders of children and adolescents
  • general health problems
  • Chronic pain
  • Habit problems (eg, tics)
  • Anger
  • Substance use/abuse disorders (eg, alcohol or drugs)
  • schizophrenia and psychosis
  • Problems associated with learning difficulties
  • bipolar disorder
  • post traumatic stress disorder
  • sleep disorders

Alleviating human suffering requires powerful conceptual tools to analyze human complexity into manageable issues. It requires clinical creativity to lead to desired success in key domains and dimensions of human functioning. It depends on methodological tools that allow the development of generalizable knowledge from experience with different individuals. Two disciplines, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, share the same goal of alleviating human suffering. However, they operate with different paradigms and use different tools to achieve this goal.

In the early days of the behavior therapy movement, the late Gordon Paul, just a few years after his Ph. most effective for such an individual with such a specific problem, under what set of circumstances and how does it happen?” (Paul, 1969, p. 44). This spurred a new scientific approach to therapeutic intervention: specified and tested interventions for specific problem areas, tailored to the needs of individuals, and based on known processes of change.

This promising start, however, did not extend far into the field, because the early days of behavior therapy rested on principles and theories of learning largely drawn from the animal laboratory, in the absence of similarly well-developed theories of human cognition and emotion. Indeed, over-reliance on learning principles may explain why two years earlier Paul had not included the phrase “and how did it come about” in the original formulation of this question, focusing entirely on context-specific evidence-based procedures (Paul, 1967). Early behavior therapists generally assumed that learning laboratories could be relied upon to map the principles of change needed for intervention science (Franks & Wilson, 1967).