Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a psychological treatment or type of psychotherapy that treats a wide range of mental health issues and disorders. CBT is an umbrella term that covers many types of specific therapies such as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) for OCD and other anxiety disorders as well as Mindfulness Training and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most researched form of psychotherapy and based on thousands of research studies CBT has been found to be effective for many different mental health disorders. CBT is considered the gold standard treatment for OCD and Anxiety related disorders.

CBT is a time sensitive, structured therapy that is tailored to the needs of each individual client. CBT focuses on how thoughts, feelings and behaviors interact with each other. CBT therapists focus on helping clients with current problems and teaching them skills to change their thinking and behavior. An important goal of CBT treatment is to help clients learn to be their own therapist by practicing techniques they can use for the rest of their lives.

Cognitive Restructuring

As conscious beings, we continually interpret the world around us – and sometimes our brains make mistakes in that interpretation. These mistakes are known as Cognitive Distortions or “thinking errors.”

One example of a common cognitive distortion found in all anxiety disorders is Catastrophic Thinking, “when a person makes a sweeping negative conclusion without considering more likely possibilities.” An example is when someone who gets a headache assumes they have a serious illness, or when a student who takes an exam they were well prepared for assumes they failed it. These interpretations can cause a person to feel anxious when in reality they have not considered other possibilities, such as a more likely reason for the headache, or that preparing for the exam will likely means a good result.

Cognitive Restructuring is an evidence-based CBT technique that is an adjunctive treatment for OCD and related disorders. It refers to the act of identifying ineffective patterns in thinking, and then changing them to be more effective and skillful. Cognitive restructuring is not making thoughts more positive. Instead, it is learning the skill of becoming aware of unhelpful patterns of thought, and learning to broaden our perspectives on the thought and restructure it so it is rational, reasonable and balanced.