Bangkok Hypnosis

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Efficacy: Fact or Fiction?

Posted by Sun on March 6, 2012

by  A. S. Petridis, Ph.D.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is considered one of the fastest acting psychotherapy methods and is very popular today. It focuses on replacing negative patterns of thinking and behavior with positive ones. However, research evidence shows that the effectiveness of CBT is a myth.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

It is a form of psychotherapy that aims at changing at how people think (“Cognitive”) and act (“Behavior”), for the purpose of making them feel better. CBT is based on the model that our feelings and actions are caused by our thoughts, not by external situations.

How does CBT work?

CBT helps the patient break down the problem into smaller parts:

  • Situation
  • Thoughts
  • Emotional Feelings
  • Physical Feelings
  • Actions

Then it is easy to see how they interact and how they affect the patient.  People are taught to question and change their negative thoughts.  Here is an example:

Situation: You go to work and somebody you know seems to completely ignore you.
Negative Positive
Thoughts: He ignores me.  He does not like me.  People do not like me. He looks a bit worried.  Maybe something is troubling him.
Emotional Feelings: Disappointment, rejection, sadness. Concern for the other person.
Physical Feelings: Low energy, headache. Feel comfortable.
Action: Avoid people. Talk to him, make sure he is OK.

Depending on how people think about the same situation, it can have a completely different outcome.

CBT acts fast

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focuses on the “here and now” problems and difficulties, instead of focussing on the genesis of the psychological problem in the past. With clients receiving an average of 16 sessions, CBT is considered one of the fastest methods to bring positive results, while psychoanalysis could take years. This is attributed to CBT’s instructive nature and the use of homework assignments.

Who can benefit from CBT?

According to CBT practitioners and associations, CBT has demonstrated effectiveness in the following areas:

  • Anger and Stress Management
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Bi-polar Disorder
  • Child and Adolescent Problems
  • Child Anxiety Disorders
  • Child Depression
  • Chronic Pain
  • Couples/marital problems
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders (bulimia)
  • Generalized anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Panic
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Somatic Disorders



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