What Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Do?

Medically Reviewed on 11/16/2022
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence-based psychological treatment where you talk openly with a mental health provider.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychological treatment that helps people live with new patterns of thought and is effective against problems such as:

Cognitive behavioral therapy removes all negative thoughts and improves the quality of life. Many studies have reported that cognitive behavioral therapy is more effective than any other psychological therapy or medication.

Usually, cognitive behavioral therapy takes 5 to 20 one-to-one sessions; however, some may take more sessions or group sessions.

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps in treating various emotional challenges, which include:

  • Managing symptoms of mental illness
  • Treating mental illness when medications are not the right option
  • Learning ways to cope with mental stress
  • Finding methods to overcome emotions
  • Helping communicate in a better way
  • Resolving relationship issues on their own
  • Overcoming physical abuse, violence, and emotional trauma
  • Coping with grief or loss
  • Managing chronic medical conditions such as chronic pain

What are the conditions that can be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an important therapy that effectively treats various psychological and emotional health issues. This therapy can be used in all age groups, including children.

The following are the conditions where cognitive behavioral therapy is used:

Studies have reported that cognitive behavioral therapy also helps treat non-psychological conditions, such as:

Cognitive behavioral therapy also works effectively in solving personal issues, such as:

  • Relationship problems
  • Divorce
  • Work-related issues
  • Grief caused by the loss or death of a close family member or friend
  • Adjusting to new medical conditions or new changes in life


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How does cognitive behavioral therapy work?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence-based treatment where you can talk comfortably and openly with the mental health provider (a trained professional who helps solve your issues). 

Cognitive behavioral therapy takes almost 12 to 20 weeks, but each individual is different and mental illness is a complex thing. Depending on the issue, the number of sessions may also increase.

You cannot expect the results immediately. You should cooperate with your healthcare provider for better results.

Cognitive behavioral therapy works by:

  • Understanding the issues: During your first session, you will discuss your challenges and the symptoms you are bothered about. If diagnosed with mental illness, inform your therapist. This first stage of the therapy helps set goals for the treatment.
  • Asking different questions: The therapist may ask you various questions depending on the situation, such as discussing events that occurred in the past, any fears or phobias, troubling thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. You may get the answers required, and this helps you fight against the challenges in life.
  • Identifying the problems associated with your thoughts and behavior: Through an interactive session, the therapist will better understand the issues that you are going through. The therapist will work on unhealthy emotions, beliefs, and behaviors that cause problems.
  • Managing your thoughts and behaviors: Your therapist helps control your unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. They may help change your perspective by helping you adapt to a positive thought process, which may help you overcome future problems.

What are the risks of cognitive behavioral therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy has very few side effects, but during the sessions, your therapist may explore the previous situations that sometimes make you revisit the past, making you feel emotional, upset, and angry. Sometimes, you may even cry or feel physically drained. However, working with a skilled therapist may reduce the risks.

Cognitive behavioral therapy may improve or worsen the condition, but it increases your power, helps you face and fight the challenge, and makes you feel better.

Medically Reviewed on 11/16/2022
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