Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Research


50 years of research demonstrates that people recover when they participate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, more so than with other types of therapy and it lasts!

The cumulative evidence over the last 50-years has been so convincing about CBT’s effectiveness that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recommends CBT as a first line treatment in a range of mental health difficulties. (Please refer to this website: The APA notes that CBT offers continuing protection against relapse (recurrence) after the termination of therapy, unlike many other therapies and medications.

In a recent meta-analytic review (statistical review and summary of related studies), of 26 studies involving a total of 1981 patients with a range of psychiatric disorders, it was found that CBT was superior to psychodynamic therapy at the conclusion of therapy, and at follow-up (6 months to two years later). The authors of the study concluded that CBT should be considered a first-line psychosocial treatment of choice, most especially for patients with anxiety and depressive disorders. (Tolin, D. F., Clinical Psychology Review, 2010).

Similar results were found in an earlier but larger meta-analytic review of other meta-analysis, including 16 meta-analysis of 332 studies including 9995 patients, with a range of mental health challenges (depression, generalized anxiety, panic disorder, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, anger, bulimia, somatic disorders, chronic pain, etc.) in children, adolescents and adults. Researchers found CBT produced substantial improvement in people’s lives, CBT was superior to medication with adult depression, and 70% more patients completed CBT treatment versus discontinuing medications. When treated with CBT, relapse rates for depression were halved when compared to anti-depressants. Also, CBT was more effective than benzodiazepines in treating anxiety and patients reported no symptoms for up to 8-10 years following treatment. (Butler, A.C., et al, Clinical Psychology Review, 2006).

An earlier study of more than 100 patients who responded to treatment found that relapse occurred in 76.2% of those who had received medication alone, whereas the relapse rate was only 30.8% among those who had received CBT. (Hollon SD, Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005). This is a consistent finding among patients treated with CBT for pain, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, etc.

More information about CBT can be found at following Professional Organizations

More information about the research behind CBT can be found in the following studies

Hollon, S. D., Stewart, M. O., & Strunk, D. (2006).
Enduring effects for cognitive behavior therapy in the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Annual Review of Psychology, 57, 285–315.

Olatunji BO, Cisler JM, Deacon BJ. (2010).
Efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders: a review of meta-analytic findings.
Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 33, 3, 557-77.

More information about the efficacy of Medication in the treatment of mild to moderate anxiety and depressive disorder can be found by watching the video link below

Irving Kirsch & 60 Minutes – The Powerful Placebo Effect (

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