What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a scientifically supported treatment that can help you or your child to feel better by focusing on the links between what you think, how you feel and what you do. CBT at Boston Children's Hospital helps decrease negative feelings and behavior by teaching you (or your child) how to change your negative thoughts. You'll learn to change the way you think and feel—allowing you more time and energy to do the things you enjoy, even if a difficult situation in your life does not change.
What happens in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Specific treatment plans are individualized, so you'll learn a variety of different skills that will help you best cope with your particular symptoms. In general, you will learn:
- what causes your symptoms
- which skills will best help you cope with your symptoms
- how to identify negative thoughts that make you feel worse
- how to change negative thoughts into more helpful ones that make you feel better
You'll get a chance to practice the skills you learn in sessions and in your daily life. Together with your therapist, you will track your progress, and you will learn to reward yourself for making positive changes in your thinking, mood and activity level.
Who does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy help?
Research demonstrates that CBT has been helpful in treating a number of common childhood problems—like coping with pain, stress and worries, adjusting to an illness, and dealing with problems at school or with friends or family. In fact, some recent research studies have shown that CBT can be more effective than medicines in treating pain and negative feelings.
CBT is effective for children as young as 8 years old, and also works well for teenagers and adults.
How is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy different from other treatments?
CBT is skills-based and structured. You and your therapist will focus on learning specific skills that can help you feel better. CBT also tends to be short-term (typically 8-16 sessions) and problem-focused.