What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a popular, evidence-based, form of psychological therapy. One of the basic messages of CBT is that what you think and do affects the way you feel. What Is CBT? is a one-page information sheet which gives and explanation of the basic principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and explores how our (well-intentioned) behaviors often result in unintended consequences. Importantly, it emphasizes that CBT is a collaborative form of therapy which requires active participation in order to be helpful.

This is a Psychology Tools information handout. Suggested uses include:

  • Client handout - use as a psychoeducation resource
  • Discussion point - use to provoke a discussion and explore client beliefs
  • Therapist learning tool - improve your familiarity with a psychological construct
  • Teaching resource - use as a learning tool during training
  • Beck, A.T., Rush, A.J., Shaw, B.F., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford.
  • Beck, J. S. (2011). Cognitive behavior therapy: basics and beyond. New York: Guilford.


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