Why do we refer to CBT as ‘evidence based’?

Dec 5, 2023

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – commonly referred to as CBT – is a cornerstone of modern psychotherapy. It is widely supported and acclaimed for what is called evidence-based efficacy. It is prominently supported and practiced because a large body of research supports its effectiveness. CBT has been rigorously tested and has been found to be quite adaptable. This allows CBT to be used to treat a wide range of mental health conditions.

One of the main reasons CBT is considered evidence-based lies in its roots in empirical research. Empirical means that something is verifiable by direct observation or experience, rather than being purely based on theory or logic. And, from its inception, CBT has been grounded in psychological thinking that supports empirical investigation. A large number of studies have consistently demonstrated the effectiveness of CBT across a wide range of psychological disorders, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3584580/

CBT has also gone through rigorous testing, and this is another aspect that contributes to its evidence-based status. This testing has included clinical trials, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and meta-analyses. The results of this testing has consistently demonstrated that CBT is at least as effective as, if not more effective than, other therapeutic modalities. The scope and rigor of these studies only serves to enhance the credibility of CBT.

CBT is an adaptable and versatile treatment. Therapists don’t think of CBT as a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, it is a flexible therapeutic framework that can be modified to address the unique needs and circumstances of an individual client. This natural adaptability allows CBT to be applied to a broad spectrum of mental health issues, which further supports its evidence-based credentials.

To sum up, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’s evidence-based status is supported by empirical research, rigorous testing, and adaptability. Because there is a wealth of evidence supporting CBT efficacy it is a preferred and widely endorsed therapeutic approach which provides individuals with a scientifically validated means of addressing and overcoming various mental health challenges.

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