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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

On Prolific Life’s website, Charmaine refers to utilizing a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approach with clients. You may be wondering what this means. So, let’s talk about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.



What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic approach that is used in talk therapy. CBT is a term that covers a range of cognitive-based therapeutic approaches. Cognitive Therapy was originally developed by Aaron Beck in the 1960s while Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) was created by Albert Ellis in the 50s. Another cognitive-based therapeutic approach is Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) which was created by Patricia Resick in the 1980s and is specifically used to treat trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


As mentioned in its name, behavior therapy is also an aspect of CBT treatments. Behavior therapy focuses on behavior modification and has its roots from the 1900s. Early pioneers of behavior therapy include John B. Watson, B. F. Skinner, Joseph Wolpe, and Ivan Pavlov. In current mental health practices, behavior therapy is most often paired with cognitive therapy, hence, cognitive behavior therapy.




Cognitive Behavioral Therapeutic Approach


A cognitive behavioral therapeutic approach emphasizes that how we think (thoughts and cognition) affects how we feel (emotions) and also affects how we act and behave (behavior). CBT approaches emphasize the continuous interactions between these three areas. A cognitive behavioral therapeutic approach highlights the interconnectedness between our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors – often depicted in a continuous circle. Hence, the combination of cognition and behavior.


A CBT approach in talk therapy will help clients increase their awareness of their thoughts. CBT will help them to explore and identify how faulty thinking (irrational thoughts) and maladaptive thinking influences their emotions and increases their pain and suffering.

Additionally, CBT then helps clients to identify how their thoughts and emotions drive their behaviors and puts them in relationships and situations that may be harmful, hurtful, or maladaptive. Also, CBT helps to identify how behaviors reinforces thoughts and emotions, thus, creating a continuous cycle of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that perpetuate cycles, patterns, traumas, and situations that make it difficult to live the life you desire.



Some Tenets of Cognitive Behavior Therapy


A few tenets of CBT include:

• Building a sound therapeutic alliance between the client and the therapist.

• The treatment is collaborative between the client and the therapist.

• CBT does not dictate to clients how they should feel. Rather, CBT helps to explore thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and their relationships. CBT helps to identify patterns and cycles.

• CBT is structured and goal-oriented. Clients can identify goals they want to work on and partner with therapists to create a plan to work towards those goals.

• As therapy is usually once-a-week for 45-60 minutes, homework is assigned to help clients practice the skills they build in therapy.



Final Thoughts


CBT may not be effectively treat all disorders, for example schizophrenia, autism, and other significant illnesses. Research has proven CBT approaches to be effective with various mental health disorders including anxiety and depression. Additionally, CBT can be utilized to help clients get over blocks (irrational and faulty thinking) that keep them stuck in situations and life transitions.


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