A Psychological Corporation (APC)

3262 Holiday Court, Suite 220

La Jolla, CA 92037

​​​​The Cognitive Therapy Institute of San Diego

(858) 450-1101

What actually occurs in Cognitive Therapy sessions?

Numerous research studies have shown that CT or CBT are very effective in the treatment of panic, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety, social anxiety/phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), specific phobias, chronic anger, and other problems with fear, worry, or stress.  Repeatedly, studies have shown that CT/ CBT are just as effective as medications (such as Prozac) for these conditions and in some ways are superior to medications (see Academy of Cognitive Therapy).  For example, CT does not have the side effects that are typical with medications, and, some studies suggest that patients receiving CT or CBT do not tend to have as much relapse after treatment is concluded.  This outcome may be because clients learn coping skills that can be used in the future, and because they often change underlying dysfunctional beliefs and related patterns of thinking and behaving (such as self-criticism, worry or avoidance).  They may thereby be reducing a “cognitive vulnerability” to their condition.  Thus, clients who receive CT may become more emotionally healthy, more resistant to life stressors and less prone to anxiety, depression, or other problem areas in the future.

CT directly teaches specific ways to examine and correct dysfunctional thinking patterns or beliefs, those that are causing or contributing to problems in your life. We typically use worksheets and weekly assignments for the client in order to accomplish the therapy goals.  CT also teaches how to focus our thinking onto solutions (problem-solving) rather than becoming trapped in obsessing on problems or fears. Behavioral strategies are often used with CT to develop skills such as assertiveness or problem-solving, but are also used to test out the accuracy or usefulness of certain thoughts and beliefs that we may have developed out of childhood or other life experiences.  Often we need “reality experiments” to prove to ourselves that what we fear really is not true, or that we could cope with particular circumstances, or that we are capable of changing certain habits.  The results of this type of therapy may include a sense of freedom from old patterns, greater opportunity to pursue new life opportunities, reduced distress, and a greater sense of confidence and self-esteem.


CT has been developed and researched as a treatment that can usually occur completely on its own for depression, panic disorder, other anxiety disorders, and many other conditions.  CT can also be used in conjunction with medication treatments.  Many of our patients are taking medications while receiving Cognitive Therapy.  Some choose to continue the medications even after therapy is completed, while many others are able to successfully reduce or discontinue the medications during a course of Cognitive Therapy.

What about medications?

The Cognitive Therapy Institute, APC
3262 Holiday Ct, Suite 220
La Jolla, CA 92037
Ph: (858)450-1101 

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Research Studies regarding Cognitive Therapy