Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Techniques, Uses, and Benefits

This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

As exciting and rewarding as life can be, it’s also often full of stressors ranging from marital issues to mental health struggles to problems at work or school. Without intentional effort and the right support, it can be difficult to work through these concerns and create positive change. For this reason, many people begin attending therapy to get tips and guidance from a professional. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Techniques, Uses, and Benefits

Mental health professionals like therapists and counselors use many different approaches to help their clients, making sure to tailor their treatment methods to the individual’s unique needs. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is one of the most common therapeutic methods utilized today, as it has been proven to be effective in treating a range of concerns. 

Keep reading to learn more about cognitive behavioral therapy, including some of its most prominent techniques, its uses, and the benefits of employing this approach. 

CBT Techniques

Therapists may use a variety of techniques when treating their clients with cognitive behavioral therapy. Below are five of the most common techniques.

  1. Cognitive restructuring: Cognitive restructuring seeks to help people learn how to identify their unhelpful, automatic thoughts and replace them with more productive patterns of thinking. With this technique, the idea is to challenge irrational thoughts that lead to emotional distress or harmful behaviors and choose healthier thoughts instead—thereby promoting more constructive behaviors and beliefs.
  2. Reframing: Reframing refers to the process of actively seeking to view one’s circumstances in a different light. Instead of seeing life through a negative lens, reframing teaches people how to interpret situations through a more logical, productive lens. 
  3. Thought stopping: Thought stopping is exactly what it sounds like. Individuals using this technique learn how to stop negative thoughts in their tracks, disrupting patterns of negative rumination and distress.
  4. Mindfulness: Mindfulness encourages observation and acceptance of one’s thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations while making an intentional effort to stay in the present moment. The idea is to develop a deeper level of self-awareness and learn how to experience a range of emotions without judgment or overwhelm.
  5. Constructive worry: Constructive worry is a tool people can use before bedtime to actively think through their concerns and problem-solve. This technique promotes stress reduction and logical thinking while also helping people save valuable time that could be spent on more productive activities.  

This list is not exhaustive, and therapists may employ many other techniques to help their clients find healing with CBT. 

What Is CBT Used For?

CBT might be utilized to address a wide variety of concerns, including: 

  • Mental disorders: Mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and PTSD can be treated using CBT because this technique promotes constructive thinking, effective problem-solving, resilience, and positive self-esteem. Learn more about the efficacy of CBT for concerns like anxiety at
  • Chronic pain: CBT can be useful for physical conditions and concerns, such as chronic pain, as it helps people reduce their worries about their pain, manage flare-ups with a more balanced mindset, and experience a greater sense of control over their body and mind.
  • Addiction: Substance use disorders and other addictions like gambling, compulsive spending, or pornography use can often be treated successfully through CBT as this approach teaches people to recognize how their thought patterns are contributing to their behaviors. 
  • Sleeping problems: Sleep issues like insomnia or oversleeping may be corrected with CBT because people can learn how to relax and get into the right mindset for a healthy night of rest. Techniques like mindfulness can promote slow, deep breathing, while constructive worry can help ensure a clear mind at bedtime. 

CBT may also be applied to other situations in which there is a need for behavioral or emotional change or improvement. 

Benefits Of CBT

People may experience a variety of positive outcomes from implementing CBT into their daily lives. Some of the benefits noted by researchers include:    

  • Reduction in stress levels 
  • Enhanced self-esteem
  • Heightened confidence
  • Improved emotional regulation
  • Healthier communication skills
  • Development of effective coping strategies
  • Improved outlook on life
  • More productive thought patterns
  • Enhanced problem-solving skills
  • Relapse prevention
  • Increased sense of hope
  • More rational thought processes

Beyond these benefits, studies show that CBT can significantly improve quality of life and overall functioning, giving people the ability to experience fulfillment in different areas of their lives. 

More Than A Therapeutic Approach

The power of CBT lies in its versatility and ability to be applied to a multitude of problems, worries, and situations. Once CBT techniques are learned in therapy, they can be implemented and mastered in daily life.

This can lead to improved well-being and overall satisfaction with life regardless of the specific concerns an individual is facing. CBT is more than a therapeutic approach; rather, it’s a life skill that can bring personal growth, healing, and transformation.