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ABCT’s Statement on Women’s History Month

We, the undersigned, acknowledge Women’s History Month as a time to highlight the achievements of women around the world to advance society. From therapists to social workers to researchers to family and child advocates, women are often the backbone of our human services systems. This month we celebrate all of you and your dedication to behavioral and cognitive therapies. In the early 1900s, the women’s labor movement gave rise to Women’s Day, which later became International Women’s Day, on March 8. Since the 1970s, coinciding with March 8, the month of March has been honored as Women’s History Month.

Dorothy Susskind, a cofounder of ABCT and the first woman in the organization, was a trailblazer in the field of the behavioral and cognitive therapies. From very early on, Dorothy believed that science was the future and “…that it was going to save the world.” Susskind earned her master’s at Columbia University and went on to teach high school students in the Bronx and surrounding areas where she took note that students struggled with considerable emotion regulation. Upon receiving her Ph.D. at City College and then undergoing analytic training (the predominant model of the time), she began to realize the futility of applying psychoanalysis to children and began to study with, among other pioneers of the field, Joseph Wolpe. Little did she know that her reservations about child psychotherapy would lead not only to major changes in how she worked with children, but to the meeting of the minds (in her studio apartment) led to the founding of the then Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy (AABT), now ABCT.

As we work to advance the field of cognitive behavioral therapies and continue to expand opportunities, we must be clear about our role in building a more inclusive society. Currently, and for the first time in history, ABCT’s board is comprised of all women. We recognize this important milestone in ABCT’s history but also acknowledge that we have much further to go. We are the architects of the future. We are working to build a board that increasingly reflects a diversity of gender, age, ethnicity, culture, and experience that exists in our stakeholders, our membership, and the field.

The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies knows that the only way to improve the health and well-being of our society is to eradicate the racial, gender, and economic barriers that make it hard for women – especially trans women of color – to access health care.

Let’s continue to celebrate women and their many accomplishments, not only during Women’s History Month but throughout the year. Happy Women’s History Month, ABCT.

The ABCT Board of Directors:

Jill Ehrenreich-May, Ph.D. President
Sandra Pimentel, Ph.D., President Elect
Laura Seligman, Ph.D. Immediate Past President
Barbara Kamholz, Ph.D. Secretary Treasurer
Katherine Baucom, Ph.D., Carolyn Becker, Ph.D., Daniella Cavenagh, Ph.D., Representatives-at-Large

What Is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of treatment that is based firmly on research findings.  It places emphasis on changing your cognitions (thoughts) or behaviors (actions) in order to effect change in how you feel. These approaches help people in achieving specific changes or goals.

Changes or goals might involve:

A way of acting: like smoking less or being more outgoing;
A way of feeling: like helping a person to be less scared, less depressed, or less anxious;
A way of thinking: like learning to problem-solve or get rid of self-defeating thoughts;
A way of dealing with physical or medical problems: like reducing back pain or helping a person stick to a doctor’s suggestions.

Cognitive behavioral therapists usually focus more on the current situation and its solution, rather than the past. They concentrate on a person’s views and beliefs about their life. CBT is an effective treatment for individuals, parents, children, couples, and families. The goal of CBT is to help people improve and gain more control over their lives by changing behaviors that don’t work well to ones that do.

How to Get Help

If you are looking for help, either for yourself or someone else, you may be tempted to call someone who advertises in a local publication or who comes up from a search of the Internet. You may, or may not, find a competent therapist in this manner. It is wise to check on the credentials of a psychotherapist. It is expected that competent therapists hold advanced academic degrees. They should be listed as members of professional organizations, such as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies or the American Psychological Association. Of course, they should be licensed to practice in your state. You can find competent specialists who are affiliated with local universities or mental health facilities or who are listed on the websites of professional organizations. You may, of course, visit our website ( and click on “Find a CBT Therapist”

The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) is an interdisciplinary organization committed to the advancement of a scientific approach to the understanding and amelioration of problems of the human condition. These aims are achieved through the investigation and application of behavioral, cognitive, and other evidence-based principles to assessment, prevention, and treatment.