CBT Key Principles

Dr. Anna Breytman

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Dr. Anna Breytman

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Key Principles of CBT for Adults

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Transformation and Empowerment Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

By recent estimates, one in five adults have experienced mental health problems, with anxiety and depression being the most common. A tremendous amount of research demonstrated that Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective and powerful treatment option for adults who are struggling with their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

Core Principles of CBT

Fundamentally, CBT is a time-limited, goal-focused psychotherapy approach with an emphasis on the interplay between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Based on the premise that our beliefs and perceptions influence how we feel and consequently, how we behave, it helps individuals develop an understanding of their core beliefs and how these affect one’s emotional experience. By identifying and challenging negative thought patterns, individuals can influence their emotions and have more flexibility in their behavioral choices.

A. Cognitive Restructuring: CBT emphasizes increasing awareness of and challenging irrational and maladaptive thought patterns. By examining the evidence supporting these thoughts and replacing them with more accurate and balanced ones, individuals can experience a positive shift in their emotional well-being. This shift can provide an opportunity to respond to stressful situations in a more adaptive and flexible style.

B. Behavioral Activation: CBT encourages individuals to engage in activities that bring them a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, even when they might be struggling with mood, motivation, and worry. This approach breaks the cycle of avoidance and withdrawal that often accompanies mental health challenges.

C. Skills Development: CBT focuses on the development of practical coping strategies and skills to manage symptoms effectively. This may include emotion regulation skills, relaxation techniques, problem-solving, assertiveness training, interpersonal effectiveness, and communication skills among others.

Techniques in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

Self-Monitoring or journaling is often one of the first skills developed in a CBT session. Logging their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, individuals progress to an awareness of their patterns, triggers, and automatic negative thoughts. This awareness forms the foundation for subsequent interventions.

Another fundamental set of skills is cognitive restructuring. Therapists work collaboratively with clients to identify and challenge their distorted thoughts and core beliefs. By questioning the evidence supporting these thoughts and generating alternative, more adaptive thoughts, individuals can reduce their distress and improve their overall well-being.

Exposure and Response Prevention is a technique particularly useful for individuals seeking help with anxiety disorders. It involves gradually exposing individuals to situations that provoke fear while preventing habitual avoidance, ritualization, or safety behaviors. While engaging in this practice, patients are guided by their therapist on how to cope with their unpleasant emotions. Over time, individuals learn that their fears are unjustified or exaggerated leading to reduced anxiety and improved functionality.

How can CBT help you?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has consistently demonstrated its efficacy in treating a wide range of mental health conditions. Its collaborative and structured approach empowers adults by providing them with the tools and strategies to address their challenges in an effective manner. Individuals learn to identify and modify maladaptive thought patterns, regulate their emotions, and develop healthier behaviors. This leads to increased self-awareness, improved coping skills, enhanced problem-solving abilities, and an increased sense of empowerment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a powerful and evidence-based intervention for adults navigating the complexities of mental health treatment. By reshaping negative thought patterns and modifying behaviors, individuals can experience lasting positive changes in their emotional well-being and overall quality of life.

We provide CBT therapy for adults here on the west side of Manhattan in NYC, and we also have an in-person therapy practice in Princeton, New Jersey. Plus we also provide remote therapy.

Call today for an in-person or teletherapy appointment:

Phone: 201.694.2129
Please leave a message or email:
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Two Office Locations:

New Jersey office location:
194 North Harrison Street
Princeton, NJ 08540

New York City, Manhattan,
Upper West Side:

27 West 86 Street, Suite 1B
NYC, NY 10024


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