What is CBT? Meaning & Benefits of CBT Therapy

We'll explain the meaning of CBT: a therapeutic technique that can benefit those with anxiety, depression, stress, and more.


So you're interested in giving CBT therapy a shot? Excellent news!

Way to take charge of your mental health! Here, we'll explain:

  1. The meaning of CBT
  2. What CBT therapy can help with
  3. What happens in CBT therapy

Because there are a lot of types of therapy to explore out there. But Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - aka CBT - is a great, action-based therapy often used to:

  • Improve anxiety
  • Alleviate depression
  • Overcome fears
  • Improve self-confidence
  • Set & achieve goals
  • End self-doubt & self-sabotage

And don’t be intimidated by the name! It may sound complicated but CBT therapy is one of the most straightforward, effective, and efficient forms of “talk therapy”.

It's focused on thinking more positively now and taking action in the near future to help yourself feel your best.

So it's great for anyone that doesn't want to spend a long time talking their past or childhood.

So, let’s talk about CBT therapy!

What's the Meaning of "CBT" Therapy?

You might be asking yourself, what does CBT even mean?

The "C" in CBT

Cognitive is just another way of saying "related to your cognition" aka "related to your thoughts".

So the Cognitive in Cognitive Behavior Therapy just means that we're going to be looking at how you think.

The "B" in CBT

Behavioral - as you might've guessed - means how you behave; how you act or react.

The "T" in CBT

The "T" may be the most self-explanatory of the three: it stands for "Therapy".

And, as the last letter in the acronym, we can assume that we're looking a form of therapy that deals with both how we think and how we act, rather than only how we feel.

4 Benefits of CBT Therapy

1. Improved Self-Esteem and Confidence

As you start to examine your thoughts and “self-talk” you may be amazed at the negative things you say about and to yourself! Changing your internal self-dialogue is one of the most empowering things a person can do. And CBT therapy gives you the tools to do it!

How to use journaling to boost confidence & achieve goals →

2. Decreased Anxiety

CBT has proven time and time again effective at helping people with anxiety disorders identify and challenge the unhelpful and often unhealthy thoughts that cause anxiety attacks. With CBT therapy you can regain perspective when and wherever you need.

5 easy mindfulness exercises for a calmer life →

3. Tackle Depression

Thoughts that are held too long without being examined can eventually become beliefs.

Depression, while often having a chemical or organic cause, is made worse by entrenched beliefs and lowered self-esteem. Many people find that CBT helps them to correct harmful thought patterns and find the motivation to get further help they need to treat their depression.

Discover the science behind why journaling boosts joy →

4. Strength and Clarify Important Relationships

People need people. With a strong support system, a person is far more likely to get through the inevitable pitfalls of life. CBT therapy can be invaluable in helping you discover how your thoughts affect your all-important relationships.

How to overcome anxiety in relationships →

Putting it All Together

You know the old adage, “You are what you eat”?

Well, think of CBT therapy as starting with the belief, “You feel how you act and think”.

Many of us understand how events trigger our actions or reactions.

For example, let's look a common experience: making a mistake at work. When Jane Doe makes a mistake at work, she may start feeling not so great.

But let's take a closer look at why she may feel that way:

  • Jane Doe makes a mistake at work
  • She thinks to herself "I'm so bad at my job"
  • She feels stressed and disappointed
  • She acts with less confidence in her work
  • She actually starts doing a worse job, fulfilling the thought "I'm so bad at my job"

Notice the difference between thinking, feeling, and acting here?

CBT therapy trains us to identify and separate the 3. Because we can't always change how we feel. But we can influence what we think about and how we act.

With CBT therapy, our thoughts and actions become tools to correct negative thought patterns, encourage positivity, act more empowered, and - as a result - feel better and happier. ☺️

That's why after CBT therapy:

  • Jane Doe makes a mistake at work
  • She notices that she's thinking "I'm so bad at my job"
  • She corrects the negative thought, remembering "it was just one mistake" and "everyone makes mistakes"
  • She feels empowered to act, confronting the issue by apologize to coworkers and asking "how can I correct this?"
  • She acts to reconnect with self-confidence by choosing to do a task she's good at next

Why Try CBT Therapy?

Thoughts, feelings, and reactions are universal to all of us.

CBT therapy teaches you how to recognize and shine a light on negative or sabotaging thoughts and behaviors - by doing so - change how you feel.

In this type of therapy, your therapist isn't going ask “How does that make you feel?” but instead, “What do you think about that?”

As a result, you begin to see that how you feel about a situation doesn’t just come out of nowhere. And you can actually take charge of how you want to feel.

You no longer feel like you are a victim of your own emotions!

Better yet, you’ll learn how to develop new and healthier thoughts and behaviors.

Now, imagine how these same principles might be applied to other things in your life.

CBT therapy is extremely effective in treating topics like:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Phobias
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Self doubt
  • Relationship difficulties
  • And more...

And you don’t have to do it forever!

Like with anything new, you have to give yourself time to learn this new skill. But once you've practiced with a therapist for a while, you'll find you can apply the frameworks of CBT therapy on your own to a great many aspects of your life.

In CBT therapy, the goal is not for you to be in therapy for years and years, but to teach you to be your own therapist.

Want to Test CBT Therapy?

There are therapists specializing in CBT Therapy all over the world! All you have to do is search for one near you.

And if you want to test out the frameworks on your own first or aren't sure you want to pay to see a therapist, all questions in the Jour app implement CBT therapy techniques. Download Jour to start a therapeutic, guided journaling practice and see for yourself the difference CBT therapy techniques could make!