Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a goal-oriented, systematic approach to deal with dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, or thought patterns. It can be considered an umbrella term for a variety of different techniques based in behavioristic learning theory and cognitive psychology. CBT techniques have been shown to be effective in treating many different problems including, but not limited to, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and psychotic disorders.
CBT may take place in individual or group settings and may be adapted and used in self-help applications. These techniques can range from a predominantly cognitive approach to being almost entirely behavior oriented. In cognitive based approaches, the goal is to identify and monitor thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and emotions; and to identify those that are dysfunctional or unhelpful. The focus is to then replace them with more realistic and useful substitutes.
CBT was developed by merging behavior therapy with cognitive therapy. Though there are many differences between these two therapy options, they both share the common goal of symptom removal with a focus on the present time and place.