Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

By Emily Peck, SSW Intern

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that views thoughts, feelings and behaviours as all related. CBT proposes that since they are all on the same dimension, if there is any significant change in one it will in turn have a therapeutic effect on the other two dimensions. CBT examines negative thought patterns or harmful mind traps such as should lists, fortune telling, black and white thinking, over-generalizations and catastrophizing. CBT uses cognitive interventions such as thought stopping; as well it employs the use of behavioural interventions such as mindfulness or relaxation. By using these interventions CBT disputes those negative thoughts and works towards changing feelings and behaviours in accordance.

There are numerous applications for CBT, it can be used in stress management, addictions counselling, career counselling, eating disorder therapy, mental health counselling, assertiveness training and many more.  The effectiveness of CBT is well documented, even after treatment ends the skills that are learned through the course of the therapy remain with clients (Patterson, 2009). CBT has been shown to help improve levels of anxiety in children, help with behaviour at school and at home and even has parents noticing positive changes in their children after CBT therapy (Minde, Roy, & Hashemi, 2010).  It is this success of CBT that has it being used so widely today.


Minde, K., Roy, J., Bezonsky, R., & Hashemi, A. (2010). The effectiveness of CBT in 3-7 year old anxious children: Preliminary data. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 19(2), 109-115.

Patterson, M. (2009). CBT in practise: Part science, part art. BC’s Mental Health and Addictions Journal, 6(1), 6-8.


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