Cognitive Behavioral Therapy  

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)? 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy rooted in the concept that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are intertwined. Each impacts the others, beliefs and thoughts cause emotional responses which affect our choices and behaviors. If a person holds negative beliefs, these can lead to unhelpful thoughts, in turn bringing maladaptive reactions, creating a feedback loop that reinforces the underlying beliefs.  

If one can recognize and change their thought patterns, they can both diminish negative emotional responses and choose healthier behaviors. Students learn lifelong skills to interrupt that feedback loop and have improved outcomes. A central part of CBT and learning these skills is Cognitive Restructuring.  

Thoughts – Feelings – Behaviors 

Changing any of the three will impact the others. 

Thoughts: Everything we say to ourselves, and the way we make sense of the world around us. 

Feelings: This also relates to the sensations emotion causes, rather than just the emotion itself. Increased pulse, shaking, blushing.  

Behaviors: What we do and don’t do. These can reinforce our thoughts in a negative (or positive) feedback loop.  

What is ruminative thinking?  

Most of us have experienced ruminative thinking at some point: thoughts running in a circle, repeating in our minds. Often in reaction to an event, circumstance, or anxiety. When an unhelpful filter, or cognitive distortion, is added to that loop, these thoughts can become counterproductive and harmful. 


Learning to recognize and observe when we fall into these distortions is the first step in changing the filter through which we interpret our world. It helps us become present, to disengage from ruminative thinking, and focus on what is happening here and now, both internally and externally.  

Socratic Logic and CBT 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy uses logic and reason to examine beliefs, thoughts, and cognitive distortions to help students reframe their experiences. To change the script, so to speak. Learning to focus on logic and reason facilitates the shift from emotions taking control of our thoughts to us taking back control of emotional responses through our thoughts.   

What conditions have Cognitive Behavioral Therapy been shown effective for?

  • Depression 
  • Anxiety disorders  
  • Depression  
  • Bipolar disorder 
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) 
  • Eating disorders 
  • Personality disorders 
  • Substance use disorders 
  • Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders 
  • Somatoform disorders 
  • Insomnia 
  • Aggression, anger, and criminal behaviors 
  • Stress in general 
  • Distress due to medical conditions 
  • Chronic pain and fatigue 
  • Female hormonal conditions  
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) 
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) 
  • Phobias