Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based, structured, goal-oriented, time-limited intervention for psychological disorders. CBT integrates behavioral and cognitive principles and therapeutic strategies; practitioners and clients work collaboratively to identify patterns of behaving and thinking that contribute to the persistence of symptoms, with the goal of replacing them with more adaptive alternatives. In the treatment of anxiety problems, the primary focus of CBT is on reducing avoidance of feared stimuli (e.g., spiders) or situations (e.g., public speaking) and modifying biases in thinking (e.g., the tendency to interpret benign situations as threatening). At its broadest, CBT is an umbrella term; it describes a range of interventions targeting cognitive and behavioral processes—ranging from early, traditional CBT protocols to more recently developed approaches (e.g., mindfulness-based cognitive therapy). CBT protocols have been developed for the full range of anxiety disorders, and a strong evidence base supports their efficacy.
Michelle L. Moulds, Jessica R. Grisham, and Bronwyn M. Graham
Alan E. Kazdin
Research in psychotherapy has developed a number of treatments, numbering well over 300, that have a strong evidence base. These treatments can be applied to a broad range of psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and others) as well as other sources of impairment in psychological functioning among children, adolescents, and adults. This article provides an overview of evidence-based psychotherapies, including current advances in how treatments are applied. Examples of treatments for depression and autism spectrum disorder are provided to illustrate the diversity of procedures in use and how they are applied. Key challenges related to evidence-based psychotherapies are highlighted, and these include disseminating the research findings, so that effective treatments are being used in clinical practice, and devising novel ways of delivering treatment to reach the large number of individuals who are in need of psychological services but do not yet receive care.