Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic approach that emphasizes the connection between thoughts and behaviour. The goal of the therapist is to assist the client in learning how to recognize the unhelpful negative patterns of thinking and behaviour and understand where they are coming from and then to replace the negative thoughts with new and healthier ways of thinking. How we think about something affects how we feel emotionally, and how we feel physically, will affect how we behave.
CBT also takes into consideration that beliefs about others, the world and us are learned and engrained from childhood experiences. Sometimes it is necessary to do work with these underlying belief systems. Our beliefs about ourselves often come from our past experiences. Some of these beliefs may be outdated and might have been learned from our childhood, but still operate and form rules that we live our lives by as adults. For example, if a person is told as a child he is not smart and he receives a lot of criticism, he may develop a belief about himself that he is a failure and cannot get very far in life. CBT can help identify some of these underlying beliefs, and help recognize that this belief may not actually be fact. The person may then begin to learn new ways of thinking that will challenge and enable change to these beliefs.