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What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy takes a practical, present-focused approach to life difficulties. CBT focuses on the relationships between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The basic idea is that thoughts we have about ourselves, others, and the world can affect how we feel and act, and vice versa.


When we feel down or depressed, our mind tends to be self-critical and make bleak predictions about the future (thoughts). This can lead to feeling slowed down, sad, empty, or hopeless (feelings) and in turn makes us want to withdraw, sleep, hide out from the world (behaviors). These behaviors often only further increase depressive thoughts and feelings. 


When we feel anxious, our mind tends to search for threat and sends out a bunch of panicky “what if” questions (thoughts). This can lead to feeling keyed up, on edge, tense, or worried (feelings) and in turn makes us want to seek reassurance, avoid, or cling to safe places or objects (behaviors). These behaviors may provide some comfort in the short-term, but tend to fuel more worry thoughts and anxious feelings over the long-term.


CBT involves helping people understand and break down these self-perpetuating cycles. 

What will we be doing in treatment? 

CBT incorporates many different treatment strategies but can include any of the following: 

  • Self-monitoring of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors

  • Identifying thoughts that keep showing up and getting in your way

  • Getting a new perspective on your thoughts

  • Learning to develop more flexible ways of thinking

  • Learning to respond differently to physical sensations (racing heart, body tension) that cause you distress

  • Problem-solving 

  • Actively facing your fears in and out of session through exposures

  • Role-playing a difficult conversation or practicing assertiveness

  • Planning activities that will bring you a sense of pleasure or mastery and committing to taking action

  • Setting goals and troubleshooting how to navigate obstacles that come up along the way


What problems does CBT address? 

CBT has been identified as a top treatment for anxiety, depression, and other areas of difficulty across decades of scientific research. At Flatiron CBT, we use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to address a range of common mental health concerns, including:

  • Panic Disorder (with or without Agoraphobia)​​

  • Social Anxiety​​

  • Generalized Anxiety (Chronic Worry)

  • Specific Phobias

  • Perfectionism

  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder

  • Performance Anxiety

  • Insomnia

  • Depression and/or Low Motivation

  • Disordered Eating


Want to learn more? Request a 15 minute phone consultation. 


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