Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a therapeutic technique that's based on the idea that thoughts, feelings and behaviour are all interconnected. Thoughts feed our feelings, which in turn influence our behaviour, which in turn affects our thoughts and round and round it goes. So, if any of our thoughts/feelings/behaviours are negative, you can get trapped in a negative spiral that's self perpetuating. It makes sense.
I think one of the reasons it got popular is because it fits with our modern desire to "fix" things in a strategic and practical way. When it works, it can get quick results. So some people report feeling better more quickly than with, say, psychodynamic approaches. Critics say it only deals with surface shit so isn't as effective long-term.
I remember, when I used to think more scientifically about life, that if I ever did therapy then CBT looked like the right one for me. I used to think psychoanalytic therapy sounded ridiculous. Why would you want to drag up old crap from your past - it will just create more problems that didn't even exist before. I don't think like that anymore though.
When I was deep in the darkness, like properly mad, I went to see a CBT practitioner off my own back. I was desperate at the time. She was slightly odd. I made her cry, but not on purpose. I just said something that made her cry, which felt a bit weird. I thought I was supposed to be crying. The session started and she was kind of saying "when you think something bad, don't think that, think this". I was so crazy at the time. Like possessed by the devil. I had no control over my mind. And my mind listened to what the therapist was suggesting and said to me..... "are you fucking joking. This isn't gonna do shit. You. Are. Fucked.". It was like trying to stop Hitler and his armies by just asking them nicely to stop being mean and killing everyone.
I don't mean to sound critical of CBT. It works for lots of people and it works for me today. It was just that at that time, the way my mind was, it just wasn't an option. There was a tornado of evil ripping through my soul. Trying to get my brain to do anything was futile.
But nowadays, now that I'm not so mad and my mind is a bit calmer, I try to use CBT-style techniques all the time. It's probably more "Third Wave" or Mindfulness stuff too, but there's bits of CBT in there. And I believe in the cyclical nature of our thoughts/feeling/actions. My thoughts aren't me. They're not real. They're just things my mind throws up. I can choose which ones to engage with and which to let go. I can unhook myself from downward spirals.
So, CBT seemed lame to me at first. And, as with all therapies, whether it's going to be effective or not is complicated. It's about who the patient is. Who's the therapist is. How good they are. How well you fit together. How much you commit to it. A million things. But eventually I managed to see the positives rather than the negatives. In CBT, and in everything. And now I use it all the time, and everything's a bit better.