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What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

Updated: Mar 7

This article is part of a series of blogs that are meant to highlight the different modalities of therapy our Psychotherapists at Your Story Counselling utilize, check out our other articles to learn more about the various therapeutic models we use!

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a therapeutic model where the therapist and client work together to identify and change problematic behaviours, thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.

The term ‘cognitive’ refers to thinking processes, including perception, judgement, reasoning, and memories. The term ‘behavioural’ refers to the things we do, or don’t do. In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy the focus is on the way in which our thinking processes affect our feelings and our behaviour. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps us to understand how our thinking affects our feelings and how this might impact the choices we make in life.

​​When we experience challenges in our lives, it can be difficult to know what to do or how to cope. Psychotherapists can help us learn how to manage these challenges by helping us understand patterns in our thoughts and behaviours.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps us to understand how our thinking affects our feelings and how this might impact on the choices we make in life.


So, what is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

The core concept of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is that our thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical sensations all interact with each other and affect each other in complex ways. When we are struggling with an issue, such as anxiety, for example, there may be particular things we think about ourselves or our situation that make us feel more anxious and interfere with our ability to cope effectively. A Cognitive Behavioural Therapist will help us identify these patterns and help us find more helpful ways of thinking so that we can feel better about ourselves and our situation.

History of CBT

Aaron T Beck - Develop-Cognitive therapy

Cognitive therapy was first developed by Aaron T Beck in the 1960s. He observed that people’s thoughts often make them feel very distressed, even when there is no real danger or threat in their life. For example, someone driving along the motorway may find themselves feeling increasingly anxious about what would happen if they had an accident. They may have no rational reason to think this might occur, yet they start to feel more and more panicky as they drive along. Beck set out to map these cognitions and study their behaviour.

Through this process, he created the CBT technique to help people with their anxious thoughts and in turn revolutionized the field of psychotherapy and treatment planning.

Today, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has grown to be one of the most effective therapeutic models available today. It is used extensively in public mental health services, and community settings, and is also provided by many therapists like our clinicians in combination with other therapeutic approaches to find the best custom fit for our clients. CBT in essence is the original therapeutic approach, many curent psychotherapy models (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, etc) come from this branch of the psychological therapeutic approach.

More on CBT

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) works by changing people's attitudes and their behaviour by focusing on the thoughts, images, beliefs and attitudes that are held (a person's cognitive processes) and how these processes relate to the way a person behaves, as a way of dealing with emotional problems. CBT helps people learn new ways of thinking (cognitive skills) and behaving (behavioural skills), which can help them feel better about themselves, deal with difficult situations, solve problems more effectively, develop a greater sense of control over their lives, improve relationships with others and cope better with stress.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy focuses on helping you change how you think about yourself, the world and other people. When you are struggling or feeling stuck it can be helpful to talk to a trained professional. A psychotherapist who practices Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help you with many different issues including (but not limited to):

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Feelings of sadness

  • Worry, but not knowing wh

  • Relationship problems

  • Low self-esteem or self-confidence

  • Eating disorders

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Panic attacks.

How Can Therapy Help?

Online Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.I t involves identifying dysfunctional thought patterns which lead to negative emotions; challenging these thought patterns; replacing them with more balanced thoughts; using problem solving etc. Your therapist will walk with you in navigating and identifying these thought patterns and seek out the ways to change and challenge those thoughts and the behaviours that come with them.

Interested in learning more? Ready to find closure towards the past so that you can better plan and create your own desired future? Take a look at our team to see who offers Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and/or book a free 15 minute consultation with one of our therapists now!

Still, want more? Here’s a helpful video about CBT!


Learn more about our CBT Clinicians

Alana Sham
Amy Lee

Andy Mok
Charmaine Tong

Diane Hua Stewart
Dorothy Hsieh

Faiza Haroon
Linda Thai

Lux (Monica) Patel
Lynn Qi

Michelle Brenzel
Ratanak Ly

Robynson Paulwell
Yukta Gupta

Zahra Eizadi



Judy- founder and clinical director of Your Story Counselling Services

Judy is the founder and clinical director of Your Story Counselling Services, A private practice clinic in Vaughan Ontario servicing individuals, couples, and families across the Greater Toronto Area. As a Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor, Judy is passionate about creating change and making mental health services more safe and accessible to the public. Judy believes in working collaboratively with others so that they can get back to themselves and their preferred way of life and living.

To learn more about the Your Story Counselling Team and the services we offer click here.

If you have additional questions regarding the contents of this article please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to answer you.

Should you have questions or inquiries regarding counselling and the process of counselling, please visit our FAQ page. contact us to ask questions, or learn more about our team of therapists before signing up for a free 15 minute consultation.

Terms and Conditions of Use:

The information provided in this article is intended to be general knowledge and does not constitute as professional advice or treatment. This information is not intended for the use of diagnosis or treatment. Please do not share or distribute this article without the proper referencing or written/verbal consent of Judy Lui. Additional information can be found at or requested via



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