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What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an approach to therapy that challenges the intimate and reactionary relationship between our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. It works by helping people to focus on their thoughts, beliefs and attitudes that may be negative or irrational, and how these relate to behaviours and emotional problems.


The goal of CBT therapists and counsellors is to introduce healthy and positive ways of thinking, which consequently improves the way we feel and behave.

We are the sum of our experiences

The way that we react to the events in our lives is a function of a number of factors: from our childhood experiences, our interactions with our primary caregivers – our parents, teachers, friends, extended family, to our early adult years, our romantic relationships, our work life, etc. Our response to any situation is informed by everything that we’ve ever learned.

In other words, today we are the sum of all our experiences.

Automatic, Negative Thoughts

Inevitably in the process of living, there would have been negative experiences that eventually led to automatic thoughts when we are triggered.

For example, if a child is reprimanded or shamed because they had failed to do well in school, they may conclude that, “If I don’t do well, then I won’t be accepted or loved”. Later on in life, when they might have failed for example to get a job, or experience the end of a relationship, the automatic thought is that “I am not good enough”. Such a thought, if left unexamined and becomes chronic, can lead to anxiety, and depression.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy seeks to reframe negative and irrational thoughts such as “I am not good enough”, and to instal new and positive thoughts (such as “I am enough as I am” or “I will find love again”) so that individuals can respond in healthy and functional ways to the situations that they find themselves in.

CBT Counsellors Can Help with Anxiety, Depression and Other Issues

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is one of the most well researched therapies in the world since it was formulated by Aaron Beck in the 1960’s. Thousands of studies have concluded as to its validatiy and efficacy in treating emotional issues such as anxiety, depression, relationship issues, anger and stress management, and even drug and alcohol addictions.

When working with a CBT counsellor or therapist, your therapist would help you to identify and address specific irrational thoughts and beliefs that are leading to emotional issues.

Innova’s Coquitlam counsellors can help you today

If you are unsure about how CBT works, speak with a Innova counsellor today and do ask them to illustrate how CBT could work with a specific issue that you are currently experiencing.