As the student director of a psychology clinic at my graduate school for the past year, I noticed that many potential clients called to specifically ask about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) more than any other type of therapy.

If you google any mental illness, chances are you will find information about CBT, And if you google CBT, you will get hundreds of thousands of hits providing detailed information about this type of therapy.

What is making everyone so interested in the cognitive behavioral therapeutic approach?

The Appeal of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Here are 4 reasons why psychologists and clients are drawn to CBT:

  1. CBT is based on thousands of research studies. CBT is known as an evidence-based practice, and it is shown to work on a number of mental disorders, as well as physiological disorders.
  2. CBT is meant to be short-term. While some therapies last for years, CBT can be as short as 6 sessions, depending on the individual’s therapeutic goals.
  3. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches clients the skills they need to eventually become their own therapists. This also helps contribute to making CBT a short-term therapy. Instead of staying in treatment for years, CBT therapists teach clients skills that help them both in and outside of therapy sessions.
  4. CBT is semi-rigid and structured. Though some people come to therapy to talk about everything and anything, many people come to therapy to actually improve in some area of their lives. CBT is structured in a way to make sure these goals are achieved, while still allowing time to cope with more immediate issues that arise throughout the week.

Though CBT may not be right for everyone, it is becoming increasingly popular for some very good reasons.

It is important to note that many therapists identify themselves as “cognitive behavioral,” but their approach to therapy is really more of a blend of therapeutic philosophies. For example, some psychologists are trained in both psychoanalysis and CBT, but they gravitate more toward the behavioral approach.

If you are unsure about which therapy may be right for you, try speaking to a CBT therapist to see if they understand you and your goals.

More Resources on CBT

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Mayo Clinic

Beck Institute