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Understanding Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: All You Need to Know

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy where you work alongside a therapist or mental health counselor to treat common mental health problems such as depression, PTSD, or eating disorders. It can even be used to learn how to manage normal stressful situations in a better way.



CBT is based on the belief that our thoughts, emotions, and behavior all interact with our thoughts, determining the rest. Hence, unrealistic or negative thoughts can cause our distress, skewing our interpretation of situations and having a further negative impact.

How does it work?

By making people become more aware of whenever they’re exhibiting behavioral patterns that reinforce distorted thinking and making negative interpretations. This helps people develop alternative methods of behaving and thinking, aiming to reduce psychological distress.

This umbrella term covers therapies of similar elements such as Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and Cognitive therapy developed by Albert Ellis and Aaron T. Beck, respectively.

CBT steps

These are the main steps included in CBT:


This step involves identifying all the troubling conditions and situations in your life. These can include medical conditions, grief, divorce, anger, or mental health disorder symptoms. You can discuss your priorities and goals with your therapist at this time.


In this step, you will be encouraged to share your thoughts with your therapist. This includes observing your inner thoughts directed at yourself about your experiences, along with the interpretation of your situations and your beliefs about events and people. Your therapist might advise you to journal your thoughts.


After making your thoughts clear about a matter, it’s time to recognize any negative thinking and behavior that contributes to your problems. Your therapist will encourage you to pay close attention to your emotional, behavioral, and physical responses to various situations and identify their patterns.

Your therapist will then make you question yourself about whether your situational views are based on facts or inaccurate perceptions. This is one of the most difficult steps since it’s hard to challenge long-standing methods of thinking about your life. However, it gets easier with practice, and helpful thought patterns will become more of a habit than a conscious thing.

Length of CBT

CBT is usually considered as a short-term therapy, generally ranging from 5-20 sessions. Your therapist will take several factors into consideration when deciding how many sessions will work best for you. These can include:

· Severity of symptoms

· Type of situation

· Length of symptoms

· Rate of progress

· Amount of stress

· Family and friend support

If you have any more questions about CBT, Stem Wellness’s highly experienced mental health therapists can help resolve all of your queries. Our sessions last for forty-five minutes and involve the use of professional therapy techniques that can help you improve your mental wellbeing. Our services include psychotherapy counseling using CBT and EFT, marriage or relationship counseling, individual therapy, and family therapy in New Jersey.

Contact us to book an appointment today.

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