Frequently asked questions about cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)

Q 1: What are the objectives of PACT?

To introduce & promote culturally and religiously relevant Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, based on sound indigenous research integrated with existing evidence based interventions.
To lay the foundations for quality education and structured training in CBT.
To develop the guidelines and standards for sound and ethical practice of CBT.
To provide a platform for sharing views and knowledge about relevant aspects of CBT among members of all helping professionals.
To spread CBT beyond clinical setting in to the community to promote mental health, child rearing practices, resilience, productivity and a vibrant and happy society.
To publish a newsletter, imPACT- The bulletin and other publications aimed at disseminating research and information about the applications of CBT.
To establish contact with various public and professional bodies nationally and internationally to achieve its aims.

Q 2: What are the aims of CBT?

The aims of CBT are:

To help you to change the way that you think, feel and behave.

To treat people with a wide range of mental health problems.

To eliminates the distress which comes as a result of negative and unrealistic thoughts.

To help people in having awareness of their negative interpretations, and of behavioral patterns which reinforce the distorted thinking.

Helps to develop alternative ways of thinking and behaving to reduce their psychological distress.

To help individuals to achieve a remission of their disorder and to prevent relapse.

To help individuals in solving their real-life problems.

To educative the patients about cognitive, behavioral and emotional-regulation skills so they can become their own therapists.

Q 3: What are the similarities between cognitive therapies and behavioral therapies?

Similarities between cognitive therapies and behavioral therapies are as following:

The therapist and client work together with a mutual understanding that the therapist has theoretical and technical expertise, but the client is the expert on him/ herself.

The therapist seeks to help the client discover that he/she is powerful and capable of choosing positive thoughts and behaviors.

Treatment is often short-term. Clients actively participate in treatment in and out of session. Homework assignments often are included in therapy. The skills that are taught in these therapies require practice.

Treatment is goal-oriented to resolve present day problems. Therapy involves working step-by-step to achieve goals.

The therapist and client develop goals for therapy together, and track progress toward goals throughout the course of treatment.

Q 4: What are the benefits of joining PACT/having membership of PACT?

Membership for five years.

25% discount in fee in all workshops, conferences and seminars of PACT.

Access to PACT Future activities.

Access and 20% discount in CBT Certification course /Diploma program.

Online access to library of e-Books.

You can get help with your projects related to CBT (This includes technical and financial help).

Small funding initiative for trainees. This will include upto 50,000 per year for a research project that explores effectiveness of CBT

Opportunity to join our ongoing teaching and research projects.

Priority will be given in publishing with our Bulletin.

Q 5: What are different types of cognitive therapy?

Cognitive therapy (CT) is a type of psychotherapy developed by American psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck. CT is one of the therapeutic approaches within the larger group of cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT) and was first introduced by Beck in the 1960s. Cognitive therapy is based on the cognitive model, which states that thoughts, feelings and behavior are all connected and that individuals can move toward overcoming difficulties and meeting their goals by identifying and changing unhelpful or inaccurate thinking, problematic behavior, and distressing emotional responses. Shifting cognition is seen as the main mechanism by which lasting emotional and behavioral changes take place. Treatment is very collaborative, tailored, skill-focused, and based on case conceptualization. Rational-emotive therapy (RET) It is based on the belief that most problems originate in irrational thought. For instance, perfectionists and pessimists usually suffer from issues related to irrational thinking; for example, if a perfectionist encounters a small failure, he or she might perceive it as a much bigger failure. It is better to establish a reasonable standard emotionally, so the individual can live a balanced life. This form of cognitive therapy is an opportunity for the patient to learn of his current distortions and successfully eliminate them. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) It is a system of approaches drawing from both the cognitive and behavioral systems of psychotherapy. Unlike Psychodynamic approaches, CBT is transparent to the individual receiving services. At the end of the therapy, an individual will often have learned the cognitive therapy skills well enough to “be their own therapist,” decreasing dependence on a therapist to provide the answers.

Q 6: How CBT is different from other cognitive therapies?

CBT’s few different features from other psychotherapies are as following:

Psychodynamic therapy tries to get at why you feel or behave the way you do (i.e., uncover deeper and often unconscious motivations for feelings and behavior) whereas CBT does not.

CBT simply attempts to alleviate suffering as quickly as possible by training your mind to replace dysfunctional thought patterns, perceptions, and behavior (without asking more about them) with more realistic or helpful ones in order to alter behavior and emotions.

Q 7: How do cognitive behavior therapists help patients become their own therapists?

At each therapy session, cognitive behavior therapists help patients specify the problems they have encountered during the week or that they expect to encounter in the current week. They then collect data to identify the ideas and behaviors that have interfered with patients’ ability to solve problems themselves. Cognitive behavior therapists get patients actively engaged in deciding where to start working. Together, they develop an action plan or homework for patients (to do during the week) to implement solutions to problems or to make changes in their thinking and actions. This process gets patients actively involved in their own treatment; they begin to recognize that the way to get better is to make small changes in how they think and what they do every day. When treatment ends, patients are able to use the skills and tools they have learned in therapy in their day-to-day lives.

Q 8: What are the Merits & demerits of using CBT?

Advantages of CBT

It can be as effective as medication in treating some mental health disorders and may be helpful in cases where medication alone has not worked.

It can be completed in a relatively short period of time compared to other talking therapies.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies emphasize on getting better, rather than feeling better. By correcting problematic underlying assumptions, CBT creates long-term results since the cause of the problem is corrected.

They are based on universal laws of human behavior.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) need considerable level of commitment and involvement.

They also focus on the client’s goals, rather than attempting to impose the therapist’s goals on the client.

Because there are clearly defined goals and clearly defined techniques, CBT can be examined with scientific research.

Highly structured nature of CBT means it can be provided in different formats, including in groups, self-help books, and computer programmes.

Skills you learn in CBT are useful, practical and helpful strategies that can be incorporated into everyday life to help you cope better with future stresses and difficulties even after the treatment has finished.

Disadvantages of CBT

A therapist can help and advise you, but cannot make your problems go away without your co-operation.

Attending regular CBT sessions and carrying out any extra work between sessions can take up a lot of your time.

CBT can involve confronting your emotions and anxieties, you may experience initial periods where you are more anxious or emotionally uncomfortable.

Some critics argue that because CBT only addresses current problems and focuses on specific issues, it does not address the possible underlying causes of mental health conditions, such as an unhappy childhood.

CBT focuses on the individuals capacity to change themselves (their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors), and does not address wider problems in systems or families that often have a significant impact on an individuals health and wellbeing.

Q 9: What Client learns in CBT?

Clients learn to:

Distinguish between thoughts and feelings.

Become aware of the ways in which thoughts can influence feelings in ways that sometimes are not helpful.

Learn about thoughts that seem to occur automatically, without even realizing how they may affect emotions.

Evaluate critically whether these “automatic” thoughts and assumptions are accurate, or perhaps biased.

Develop the skills to notice, interrupt, and correct these biased thoughts independently.

Q 10: What conditions can be helped by cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)?

CBT has been shown to help people with various conditions – both mental health conditions and physical conditions. For example:


Certain anxiety disorders, including phobias, panic attacks, and panic disorder.


Eating disorders – e.g., bulimia nervosa.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Body dysmorphic disorder.


Post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sexual and relationship problems.

Habits such as facial tics.

Sleep problems or insomnia.

Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).

Persistent (chronic) pain.

Low self-esteem

Uncontrollable anger

Irrational Fears


Substance abuse, like smoking, drinking or other drug use


Marriage or relationship problems

Certain emotional or behavioral problems in children or teenagers.

Q11: Is CBT only applicable to patients?

No, CBT is not limited to mental & psychological problems. It is also very effective for anger management, emotional problems, sleep disturbances, for low self-esteem, relationship problems, and adjustment problems.

Q12: How is PACT to promote CBT in Pakistan?

PACT is organizing conferences (Annually), workshops, lectures & Public awareness programmes, we are also doing researches on the effectiveness of CBT, quality of general public mental health, highlighting mental health issues & writing Self Help Manuals so people can resolve their problems by himself.

Q 13: What is the scope of CBT in Pakistan?

Q 14: What type of training is required to be a CBT therapist and practice it independently?

Q 15: Who can conduct the workshops of CBT and give training of CBT?

A well trained CBT therapist, who is having a certificate from a well-reputed institute.

Q 16: What is the difference between a psychologist and a CBT therapist?

Term “psychologist” refers to a therapist’s qualification, while “CBT therapist” refers to the type of therapy he or she practices.

CBT therapists, indicating a high level of training and commitment to this particular type of therapy, some psychological therapists might use aspects of CBT in their practice, but might not call themselves CBT Therapists.

Clinical Psychologists are trained to assess and treat people with a wide range of difficulties, but then tend to specialize in a particular area at the end of their general training. Specialty areas include common mental health problems, long-term mental health problems, children and adolescents, health psychology, older adults, and learning disabilities. They will learn a range of therapies and then continue to develop skills in the therapies that are most useful for their particular specialization. Both types of psychologists can also be CBT therapists.