The empirical status of the "new wave" of cognitive behavioral therapy

Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2010 Sep;33(3):701-10. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2010.04.006.


This article reviews the current state of empirical research on the purported "new wave" of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A particular emphasis is given to mindfulness-based treatments and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Mindfulness-based approaches and ACT are evaluated with regard to their efficacy and comparison with traditional CBT. Deviations from CBT are explained within the context of theory, specifically in terms of the role of cognitions. These differences, however, are not irreconcilable in requiring a separate classification of "new wave" treatments. While subtle and important differences on the theoretical and procedural level might exist, available data do not favor one treatment over another, and do not suggest differential mechanisms of action that warrant a dramatic separation from the CBT family of approaches. Instead, the "new wave" treatments are consistent with the CBT approach, which refers to a family of interventions rather than a single treatment. Thus, the term "new wave" is potentially misleading because it is not an accurate reflection of the contemporary literature.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / trends*
  • Humans
  • Psychological Theory