Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is often described as the treatment of choice for a range of psychological problems.
It's widely used within the NHS, under the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme which has trained thousands of new CBT therapists and treated hundreds of thousands of new patients.
What may appear puzzling to some is that that CBT has been around since the 1960s, but it's only in recent years that it's been seen as an important therapy; why has demand for CBT increased?
The rise in its importance reflects the rise in popularity of therapy generally. Therapy used to be only for the wealthy, and that therapy was usually psychoanalytic, maybe three sessions per week, but as more people have come to see therapy as a helpful option, therapy itself has been adapted to offer faster and less expensive solutions, and to a broader range of people.
Culturally, the notion of 'stiff upper lip' and 'get on with it' has declined, and people have become more open about expressing how they feel, and about discussing their emotions. Talking things through with a professional when things go wrong emotionally is now more acceptable, no longer seen as a sign of 'weakness'.
The fact that the efficacy of CBT can be empirically measured has encouraged bodies, such as the NHS, to invest in it as a psychological therapy. Such measurements are constantly audited and, therefore, it's value is quickly understood.
The popularity of CBT has gone hand in hand with other "positive psychologies", including personal and life coaching, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), and hypnotherapy, the common denominator being that we can become happier and more successful if we learn skills and put them to work.
Compared to 'insight-based' therapies, such as psychodynamic therapy, CBT is a solution-focused, short-term therapy, and because it involves the client in doing a great deal of work themselves (CBT is a psycho-educational model), results are quick, effective and fairly lasting.
People seem to understand CBT. It makes sense. People have a great deal of control over outcomes and can take its skills away with them. Relapse is much less common than with other therapies and, even if you do have a 'hiccup', you can revisit the skills and techniques you learned to get back on track.
CBT has flourished in recent times because it has an empirical base, which is why so much in the way of research funds is forthcoming for CBT research.
For all these reasons, Cogntive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a treatment whose time has most definitely come.