Lisbon Clinic of Psychotherapy and Counselling
Clínica de Psicoterapia e Aconselhamento

For the English speaking community

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    What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

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    What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?


    Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a combination of two forms of psychotherapy: cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy.

    In cognitive therapy, the focus is especially on the influence of our thoughts (cognitions) on our feelings and behavior. The therapist and client are exploring, in close cooperation with each other, if the client's thoughts could maintain his problem, and if his way of thinking is realistic. Together they will try to find a more helpful way of thinking. During this process, specific cognitive exercises and homework arrangements will be used.

    In behavioral therapy, the focus will be on the client's behavior. How someone acts, determines largely how someone feels. The therapist and client will identify problematic behavior and explore the circumstances in which this behavior occurs. Next, the therapist helps the client to invent and practice new, more appropriate behavior to respond to those circumstances. For this, various exercises and homework are used.

    So, being a combination of these two forms of therapy, CBT is focusing on learning to think differently' besides ‘learning to act differently’.

    Treatments are complaint- or problem-oriented and generally consist of 10 to 25 sessions. Treatments are focused on present-day problems, and less on problems that existed in the past.


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