CBT Stands for Cognitive Behavior Therapy and the American Association of Cognitive Behavior Therapy says there is no single definition of it. One way to understand it is to think of CBT as an umbrella for many different types of empirically supported treatments, techniques, and protocols. Most CBT treatments are “manualized”, that is, the steps the therapist uses are published as part of a manual that guides them as they help clients. One reason therapists follow manualized treatments is their high degree of efficacy.
What the consumer should always be aware of is that there is wide diversity among those people who call themselves cognitive therapists, Behavior Therapists, or Cognitive-Behavior Therapists. The therapists themselves may say they practice cognitive therapy, or behavior therapy, or cognitive-behavior therapy, or some other approach, all of which fall under the umbrella of CBT, but not have any actual training in any of these areas.
The following definition is from the Association of Cognitive Behavior Therapy and gives you a basic idea of what we mean by CBT:
CBT is typically a short-term, problem-focused therapy that relies on scientific research. The focus is on the difficulties in the present, although in understanding these difficulties occasionally early life experiences are discussed. The goal of therapy is to teach the individuals to be their own therapists by providing strategies to evaluate their thinking and manage problematic behaviors. The emphasis is on providing you with the tools you need to make progress towards the goals you set.
At CriticalPath Counseling we use empirically supported manualized CBT protocols listed below:
- Problem Solving Therapy
- Prolonged Exposure Therapy
- Exposure and Response Prevention
- Behavioral Activation
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy
- And other evidence based practices.
Melinda Carlisle Brackett, M.A has extensive experience and training in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy, a form of CBT.