Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Near Me: How To Find A CBT Therapist

Medically reviewed by Arianna Williams, LPC, CCTP
Updated April 9, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the US's most widely practiced therapy modalities. It can benefit those looking to change their thoughts, feelings, or behaviors and make long-term progress in their mental health and well-being. 

Considered the "gold standard of talk therapy" by many researchers, cognitive behavioral therapy is widely practices and often more easily accessible than other therapeutic modalities. If you're looking for a CBT therapist near you, there are a few steps to keep in mind.

Need help finding a therapist?

What is cognitive-behavioral therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of mental health treatment supported by many studies to treat various mental health conditions, symptoms, and life challenges.

There are many therapies that are rooted in CBT to treat a variety of mental health challenges. For example, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), was developed from CBT to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), often used to treat many conditions and symptoms. 

CBT is based on three principles: 

  1. Unhelpful ways of thinking can be a cause of an individual's reality. 
  2. Unhelpful ways of thinking can also cause unwanted behaviors. 
  3. Coping techniques and cognitive restructuring can help individuals change their behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has demonstrated positive results for many, and it is one of over 400 therapeutic modalities to choose from.  As a modality supported by a large number of scientific studies, CBT is considered a good option for many people.

What can cognitive behavioral therapy treat?

CBT can be used to treat many mental disorders and challenges, including but not limited to the following: 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance use 
  • Eating disorders
  • Marital or relationship challenges
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Chronic stress
  • Phobias
  • Personality disorders 
  • Grief
  • Mood changes
  • Unwanted thoughts

CBT can be effective in many forms, such as group therapy, individual therapy, or couples therapy. CBT sessions may be conducted as in-person therapy, online therapy, or as a hybrid of the two. Sessions with your therapist may focus on methods designed to feel in control of your body and mind, with the ultimate goal of building mental resilience.

What is dialectical behavior therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy  (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy designed to target intense emotional responses and distress. It is often used in treating personality disorders and involves four modules: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional control, and interpersonal effectiveness. 

In dialectical behavior therapy, as in CBT, the therapist focuses on two primary principles: acceptance and change. You can learn skills like radical acceptance to accept situations that cannot change and learn to change behaviors that you are in control of. 

DBT is a structured form of CBT and is often short-term. When you partake in these sessions, you can work through the official DBT workbook, which includes worksheets, homework assignments, and descriptions of specific skills. DBT is often utilized in a group format so all clients can practice skills together. During your time in DBT, you may also be asked to complete a daily diary card where you track your mood, coping skills, and distress. 

After completing all modules of DBT and feeling successful in your treatment, many DBT therapists offer a "graduation" where you can celebrate your progress and success. In a group format, this might include a graduation party with snacks and positive feedback.

Getty/Luis Alvarez

Where can I find CBT near me? 

You may be able to find a center for cognitive-behavioral therapy in your city. However, if you are in a rural area or do not have one near you, you can also find individual one-on-one practice CBT providers. In therapy centers, you may be able to find CBT therapy groups with peers learning the same techniques as you. 

You can also choose to partake in CBT in an online format. Internet-based CBT can be as effective as in-person therapy and it’s often a more cost-effective and flexible option.

How to find the right therapist for your needs

When you’re looking for a CBT therapist, you might not know how to find the best provider for your needs. The following steps can increase the likelihood of finding a good match:

Explore your options:

Look around for a therapist that meets your needs. It can take time to find someone you click with. You can search for a therapist online and send emails or make phone calls to ask for a short consultation or discuss your needs in detail. 

Many counselors and therapists specialize in specific mental health conditions, symptoms, or challenges.. For example, some therapists specialize in grief, whereas others might specialize in personality disorders. Regardless of your concerns, look for a therapist who has treated clients like you. 

Once you've found a therapist you're interested in, ask them any questions about your treatment goals. If you feel that the therapist is not a match, you can resume your search for a different provider. Finding a therapist that you get along well with can be essential in helping you feel comfortable in sessions. 

Learn about the jargon you might encounter during your search:

Before choosing a provider, consider familiarizing yourself with therapeutic terminology, therapy modalities, and available options. Knowing the difference between counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists can also be beneficial. 

For example, a psychiatrist is the only provider that can prescribe medication, and they may be unable to provide counseling sessions. A psychologist can be a therapist or an individual who participates in clinical research or teaching. A counselor is an individual with a master's degree that offers talk therapy or other therapeutic services. All individuals are licensed but can provide different services. 

You can also consider which type of therapy may be most beneficial for your diagnosis, symptoms, or needs. For instance, CBT may be less effective than other formats for some conditions, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the case of PTSD, meta-reviews of various modalities have found that EMDR is more effective than CBT in seven out of 10 cases.

If you're looking for medication management and therapy, you might benefit from seeing both a psychiatrist and a therapist for different appointments. Many providers can provide a release form so you can give crucial information with each one.

Need help finding a therapist?

Ask questions

When considering a cognitive behavioral therapist, ask leading questions and get to know them as a provider. Like any other type of service, it can be beneficial to know whether your therapist could meet your needs before paying for a session. 

Some questions that you might ask include:

  • How long have you been practicing, and what are your certifications?
  • How do you determine success in therapy? 
  • Are you more directive or guiding as a counselor?
  • What is your philosophy as a therapist?
  • Have you been in therapy yourself? What methods work for you personally?
  • What does a typical session look like with you?
  • Do you give homework or reading assignments?
  • What are your goals for therapy? 
  • What modalities do you practice? 
  • What have you found most effective with past clients? 

Listen carefully and be open about your goals and needs. The counselor is present to make you feel better, and they often want to know what helps you. Be honest about what you're looking for. 

Set goals

Having a clear idea of your goals or being open to setting goals with your therapist can also be valuable. If you're unsure what goals to set, below are a few common goals of cognitive-behavioral therapy: 

  • Increased self-awareness and emotional intelligence
  • The ability to read your own thoughts and emotions and determine which are helpful, constructive, or harmful
  • An ability to recognize when your perceptions of reality are distorted and how this might lead to unwanted behaviors
  • A decrease in symptoms
  • Feeling more self-sufficient by learning to identify distorted thinking and practice self-control
  • Healthier relationships 
  • A feeling of confidence in your ability to practice coping skills 

While it can be helpful to set goals before starting therapy, your therapist can also teach you about how to set achievable, measurable, realistic goals.

Counseling options

With the various techniques above, you may find it easier to find a counselor that works for you. There are thousands of CBT practitioners in the country and worldwide that can benefit you. Consider doing an online search, asking a doctor for a referral, or signing up for an online platform like BetterHelp for individuals or Regain for couples to get started with CBT. 

If you opt to try working with an online cognitive behavioral therapist, note that chat therapy can come with some unique benefits that you might not find with in-person therapy. For example, many internet-based providers can typically offer lower rates for services because they do not have the overhead of physical office space and other expenses. In addition, you can gain a more extensive database of professionals specializing in a specific therapy modality, like CBT, as therapists aren't limited to your city. 

Studies have also found online CBT effective. Researchers have found that online CBT treats depression, anxiety, stress, some eating disorders, and social anxiety as efficiently as in-person options. If you face barriers to receiving in-person therapy or feel nervous about meeting a therapist face-to-face, options like chat therapy can relieve these worries. 


There are many ways to find an effective cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) provider in your area. You can reach out online, ask questions, and seek a referral. No matter the option you pick, consider contacting a therapist for further guidance in this form of therapy. 

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