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Cognitive behavioral therapy

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Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a term for a set of psychotherapeutic techniques. Rather than trying to repair the root causes of the patient's problem, CBT attempts to fix reactions to perceptions and the associated thought patterns - it focuses on alleviating behavioral symptoms.

In the UK, CBT is the recommended treatment of choice for problems including post-traumatic stress disorder, OCD, bulimia nervosa and clinical depression. Randomised controlled trials have even shown computer-based CBT to be beneficial.[1]

It is not effective for everyone. It doesn't fix bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. (It can help some bipolar patients with problems caused by the bipolar if the bipolar is being kept under control by medication.)

It is also getting criticism in the UK from non-CBT psychotherapists suspicious of the NHS and NICE having swooped upon it with great glee on account of it being relatively cheap and somewhat effective, because it is not in fact the answer to everything. (That said, the waiting list is typically measured in months to years.)


  1. "Depression and anxiety - computerized cognitive behavioral therapy." NICE guidance. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. 22 February 2006.