CBT RESEARCH

RESEARCH STUDIES

Numerous research studies have shown that CT or CBT are very effective in the treatment of panic, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety, social anxiety/phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), specific phobias, chronic anger, and other problems with fear, worry, or stress.  Repeatedly, studies have shown that CT/ CBT are just as effective as medications (such as Prozac) for these conditions and in some ways are superior to medications (see Academy of Cognitive Therapy).  For example, CT does not have the side effects that are typical with medications, and, some studies suggest that patients receiving CT or CBT do not tend to have as much relapse after treatment is concluded.  This outcome may be because clients learn coping skills that can be used in the future, and because they often change underlying dysfunctional beliefs and related patterns of thinking and behaving (such as self-criticism, worry or avoidance).  They may thereby be reducing a “cognitive vulnerability” to their condition.  Thus, clients who receive CT may become more emotionally healthy, more resistant to life stressors and less prone to anxiety, depression, or other problem areas in the future.

WHAT ABOUT MEDICATIONS?

CT has been developed and researched as a treatment that can usually occur completely on its own for depression, panic disorder, other anxiety disorders, and many other conditions.  CT can also be used in conjunction with medication treatments.  Many of our patients are taking medications while receiving Cognitive Therapy.  Some choose to continue the medications even after therapy is completed, while many others are able to successfully reduce or discontinue the medications during a course of Cognitive Therapy.

HOW IS CBT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER THERAPIES?

Cognitive therapy (CT) employs a positive, active, educational approach that focuses on how to change and on seeking solutions rather than just simply talking about your past, or “exploring” your feelings and problems.  CT is typically provided within an emotionally supportive, empathic relationship, giving opportunity to express feelings and receive caring in addition to working directly on positive changes in your thinking behavior, and your life.  The treatment is often short term, because it is more focused on specific goals and treatments techniques, and because it is based in a clear cognitive conceptualization that guides the treatment process.  CT emphasizes a collaborative relationship between the therapist and the client wherein they work together to specify goals and to implement the treatment strategies.  Each client is assisted in using CT/CBT techniques that will help in resolving current areas of difficulty as well as learning skills that will be useful in preventing relapse and in dealing with future life challenges.