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What is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was developed by Aaron Beck in the early 1960s to serve as a shorter-term, structured treatment for depression. Since then, it has been extended to use in the treatment of many psychological disorders, including anxiety. The techniques used in this treatment approach have been tested extensively and shown to be very effective.


CBT focuses on identifying specific thought and behavior patterns which underlie the problem and teaches techniques to bring about change. These techniques target the “dysfunctional” or “distorted” thoughts and behaviors and systematically teach the patient how to look at situations differently and learn new thought and behavior habits.


Sessions are typically 45 minutes in length and involve active participation of both the clinician and the patient. In many cases, therapeutic homework will be assigned between sessions and patients should be prepared to commit themselves fully to attending weekly sessions and completing the homework for maximum treatment effectiveness.

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