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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 4, 2022.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of mental health therapy. It is used to help you create more realistic, appropriate thoughts about yourself and your behaviors. CBT is short-term therapy that may last up to 20 sessions. You may work individually with a mental health provider, or in a group of others with similar disorders. CBT may be combined with medicines that help treat your disorder.

What happens during CBT?

Your therapist will help you identify unhealthy thought patterns and how they lead to negative actions. You will set goals for the behaviors you wish to change. You will be asked to keep a journal of your feelings, thoughts, and the result of your actions.

What are the most common disorders treated by CBT?

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Panic disorders and phobias
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You become more sad or fearful.
  • Your behaviors return or continue after treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You feel like hurting yourself.
  • You have done something on purpose to hurt yourself.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.