Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Program

Shona Vas, Ph.D.

Recent research suggests that CBT is a highly effective treatment for many psychiatric diagnoses and medical conditions (e.g. depression, anxiety, health problems, etc.) The basic premise of CBT suggests that the way we think about something influences the way we feel and behave. Thus, if we aim to change distorted or dysfunctional thinking patterns, we will experience improvement in negative emotions, maladaptive behaviors, and other related problems.

In general, CBT is a short-term, focused, goal-oriented type of treatment that requires collaboration between patient and therapist. A thorough initial evaluation is conducted to assess and measure symptoms, identify problems, and determine treatment goals. Ongoing assessment during the course of treatment is utilized to measure improvement and to amend the treatment plan as necessary. Each session is focused on learning new skills and patients will be given many "homework assignments" to utilize these strategies in their daily life. Cognitive-behavioral interventions include but are not limited to education, self-monitoring, cognitive restructuring, relaxation, exposure, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and stress management. Patient motivation and feedback are important in the success of CBT. While it requires a great deal of effort and hard work, the gains can be extraordinary and the skills are associated with improvement and prevention of relapse.

The CBT program at the University of Chicago provides assessment, diagnosis and empirically supported treatment for different disorders in adults. Treatment is provided by licensed clinicians and advanced trainees who have specialized training in CBT. If appropriate, referrals for medication are made and all providers work closely together to coordinate individualized care.