Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a broad class of theories that share the common basic assumption that psychological disorders are characterized by dysfunctional thinking based on dysfunctional beliefs. It is a widely used and practiced model because its methodology aligns well with the western model of medicine, more so than many other psychological approaches. CBT techniques have been proven in evidence based studies and is grounded in the scientific method.
Because techniques are structured and results are measurable, they are favored highly by insurance companies.CBT is a very pragmatic approach, it can be effective at treating many different types of disorders through a variety of intervention techniques. The techniques are often highly structured and teachable to clients. Techniques that help a client deal with unwanted or dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors can be learned in a relatively short amount of time compared to the time it takes other therapies to achieve results.
The techniques can also be learned from many different formats such as books and group therapy. When a client learns a technique, it can also help with their overall strategy of thinking; they can continue to see benefits as they deal with life situations in the future that it pertains to.Although CBT is proven to be effective, it has limitations. One possible complication is that the therapist or teacher must often take on the role of an authority figure.
The client must believe that the techniques and strategies that can be learned are of value and the therapist knows something they do not. The client must then actively participate, understand and apply the techniques which could take up a significant amount of their time. A therapist may be able to teach a technique quickly, but it may take the client a considerable amount of time and effort to reinforce and apply. Also, because CBT focuses on current problems it might not help a client discover the underlying issues or causation of their dysfunctional beliefs.
Lastly, because the techniques focus on the individual, it does not address family structures which are often an important component, especially if client is from a more collective culture.