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How does cognitive behavioral therapy work?

William B. Salt II., MD
Gastroenterology
Cognitive-behavioral therapy gives you a set of practical tools that allow you to become more aware of self-defeating thoughts or beliefs. Many self-defeating thoughts are buried in your unconscious mind. Cognitive-behavioral therapy gives you the tools to bring these unconscious thoughts into conscious awareness, where you can correct your thought distortions and self-defeating behaviors and bring about positive and lasting change.
Judith Beck, PhD
Psychiatry
At each therapy session, cognitive behavior therapists help patients specify the problems they have encountered during the week or that they expect to encounter in the current week. They then collect data to identify the ideas and behaviors that have interfered with patients' ability to solve problems themselves. Cognitive behavior therapists get patients actively engaged in deciding where to start working. Together, they develop an “action  plan” or homework for patients (to do during the week) to implement solutions to problems or to make changes in their thinking and actions. This process gets patients actively involved in their own treatment; they begin to recognize that the way to get better is to make small changes in how they think and what they do every day. When treatment ends, patients are able to use the skills and tools they have learned in therapy in their day-to-day lives.
Tamar Chansky
Psychology

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective way for patients to realize their true potential. In this video, Dr. Tamar Chansky, who specializes in anxiety, describes what a person can expect from this therapy.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.