Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

We use CBT within the framework of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.   Like Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, CBT also is a scientifically-tested, evidenced-based therapy.  Dr. Aaron Beck at the University of Pennsylvania first developed CBT.  All of St Louis DBT’ therapists have training in CBT.

The premise of CBT is that how we think influences our behaviors and emotions. For example, one person hearing the diagnosis of diabetes might think, “This is an opportunity to get healthy – start eating right and exercising.”  This leads to feeling empowered.  Another person may think “I can’t handle this” and feel desperate.  So it is not a situation that directly affects how people feel emotionally but their thoughts in that situation. When people are in distress, their perspective is often distorted and their thoughts may be unrealistic.

Cognitive behavior therapy helps people identify their distressing thoughts and evaluate how realistic those thoughts are. Then they learn to change their distorted thinking. When they think more realistically, they feel better.  Simultaneously, the focus is on solving problems and initiating behavioral change.

CBT identifies and addresses automatic thoughts (e.g., I can’t do anything right), assumptions about how the world works (e.g., no one is trustworthy), core beliefs (e.g., I am worthless) and distorted patterns of thinking (e.g., all or nothing). For a concise description of CBT, go here.  For an extensive description of CBT, go here