Tap to Call

Ottawa Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

A counselor listens to her client speak about depression

If you have been struggling with anxiety or depression, and are currently seeking treatment in Ottawa, most likely you will have come across the term “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy” or CBT. It has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, anger management, eating disorders, and chronic stress. So if you are seeking out an Ottawa cognitive therapist, what should you expect? Check out our blog to learn more about how cognitive behavioural therapy can help turn negative thoughts into positive experiences.

Counsellors Specializing in CBT


The Premise of Cognitive Therapy

Puzzle pieces on a wooden tableThe main idea of cognitive therapy is that powerful negative beliefs about the self and others cause and maintain the distress we experience. These thoughts and beliefs then shape our emotional responses and the way that we act (behaviours) that further reinforce our negative beliefs. For example, if one is experiencing  anxiety about work performance, a negative thought that might occur is that “I will get fired because I am working too slow”. This thought can trigger an anxious response, which often involves feeling sweaty,  having a dry mouth, rapid heart rate and rapid, shallow breathing. This can result in three typical responses: fight, flight, or freeze. If you find yourself freezing, it can further re-enforce the belief that you will get fired from being too slow on the job.


How Ottawa Cognitive Therapy Can Help

Cognitive therapists attempt to alleviate distress and change symptoms through addressing the main negative beliefs. This is accomplished first by learning to identify the negative patterns that are being caused by the negative thoughts, and learning to interrupt these patterns. This is done by either providing a substitute thought through a balanced counter belief, or learning to accept and then let go of the negative beliefs that one carries in a way that does not impact one’s behaviour.


How Does it Work?A woman and her counselor during a therapy session

Generally cognitive therapy is tool and homework based, meaning that it involves completing exercises outside of the therapy room. These tools often include thought records, which help to go through the process of identifying the automatic negative thoughts that stem from one’s core negative beliefs, and developing authentic balanced responses. At times, CBT is combined with relaxation techniques, which aim to further interrupt the negative patterns and  manage the emotional response that is caused by the negative thoughts.





  • I have attended, with great interest, many Relationships Matter Seminars at St Paul University. The topics are beneficial to everyone who want a better understanding of oneself and relationships. I always come out at the end of the evening with better knowledge and good feelings. Many thanks to the speakers — great presentations!

    Denise Cholette

  • The seminar I attended was very interesting. The host is very good speaker, he knows what he is talking about and definitely has knowledges to share. I like that it is accessible and entertaining: my boyfriend enjoyed it too, and I believed that it’s partially because of the fact it was funny and instructive.

    Emilie Bout

  • Relationship Matters offer great speakers on a variety of related topics from online dating to being in long term intimate relationships. They are thought provoking and accessible to the lay person and for anyone with a desire to broaden their perspectives on and possibly improve the quality of their relationships. I am really happy to have discovered this series put on by Martin Rovers, an expert in the field.

    Deborah Brooks

Our Ottawa Cognitive Therapy Services in Kanata, Orleans & Nepean

We have several psychologists, social workers, and psychotherapists in Ottawa that have been trained in, and offer cognitive therapy.  In order to book a session with one of our CBT therapists that is closest to you, you can either use the tool to the right, and put Cognitive Therapy as an expertise, or call intake at 613-425-4257. We would be happy to help you set up an appointment.


Is Cognitive Therapy right for me?

  • I am looking for an approach that is skill and homework based
  • I believe that right now it is my negative thought patterns that are underlying my difficulties
  • I would like an approach that is goal oriented and structured


Related Areas:

–  Anxiety Counselling

–  Depression Counselling

–  Trauma Counselling

Frequently Asked Questions

Some people who previously have been in traditional counselling or therapy find it surprising at first that they won't need to be in therapy 'forever' or that they will make progress 'quickly.' Each person will need a slightly different number of CBT sessions, some more, some less. A typical CBT therapy session at Capital Choice Counselling in Ottawa moves pretty quickly. Our Ottawa therapists who are trained and experienced in CBT tend to be pretty sharp, focusing in with efficiency on what is holding you back and then working with you to develop & implement tools and strategies to work through and get past those issues - be it anxiety, depression and/or other mental & emotional health issues.
In a manner of speaking, yes. If it helps one think of CBT in a positive way as a means of reducing the number of therapy sessions needed, that's great. We would caution, however, that CBT is not a guaranteed, fast-track means of getting 'better' overnight. CBT requires the same level of effort and commitment as other forms of therapy. CBT has been proven to be helpful, however, in taking a fixed or finite number of therapy sessions to use proactive and practical ways of getting past what is holding you back. In CBT you'll spend much less time talking about your past, and more time discussing and implementing tools and strategies to move past your issues and live your best life.
CBT is all about tools and techniques to help you lead a better, more productive life of contentment and satisfaction. As such, you'll want to work on these techniques & strategies both with your Ottawa CBT therapist as well as out in the 'real world' so to speak. That's how you can make the most of your CBT experience.
Yes. While we used to encourage CBT and other forms of therapy and counselling in Ottawa to take place in person, technology and the COVID-19 era have changed things a lot. Most of our CBT therapists in Ottawa can work with you via Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or phone.
Many insurance plans cover various types of therapy and counselling, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). The amount and duration covered can vary and is most often capped. That's another good reason to choose CBT, since the number of sessions needed for effective CBT is typically much less than other forms of therapy. Here's how it works: - Contact your insurance company to see what they cover - Pay your therapist directly - Submit invoiced to insurance provider for reimbursement Should you have any concerns or questions, please don't hesitate to ask us.

Areas We Serve

  • Kanata
  • Nepean
  • Orleans
  • Downtown
  • South Keys