Why it's done

Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to treat a wide range of issues. It's often the preferred type of psychotherapy because it can quickly help you identify and cope with specific challenges. It generally requires fewer sessions than other types of therapy and is done in a structured way.

CBT is a useful tool to address emotional challenges. For example, it may help you:

  • Manage symptoms of mental illness
  • Prevent a relapse of mental illness symptoms
  • Treat a mental illness when medications aren't a good option
  • Learn techniques for coping with stressful life situations
  • Identify ways to manage emotions
  • Resolve relationship conflicts and learn better ways to communicate
  • Cope with grief or loss
  • Overcome emotional trauma related to abuse or violence
  • Cope with a medical illness
  • Manage chronic physical symptoms

Mental health disorders that may improve with CBT include:

  • Sleep disorders
  • Sexual disorders
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance use disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • PTSD

In some cases, CBT is most effective when it's combined with other treatments, such as antidepressants or other medications.