Cognitive Therapy is any therapeutic approach
that teaches people new beliefs, new expectations, and new
ways of thinking. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a
cognitive therapy in that this method focuses on changing
the cognitive (thought) processes that in turn, affect behavioral
changes. CBT uses cognitive restructuring, which teaches an
individual how to identify negative, irrational beliefs and
replace them with truthful, rational statements.
This form of educational therapy is different
than the traditional form of talk therapy. Instead of delving
into the past for the source of problems, this therapy focuses
on what is going on at the present time, what perpetuates
the problem, and teaches what can be done to alleviate the
problem. Compared to traditional psychotherapy, cognitive
therapy is a short-term highly structured form of therapy.
The patient takes a proactive role in CBT, with a trained
therapist to guide them.
Disorders treated by CBT include anxiety,
phobias, eating disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder,
substance abuse, depression, relationship problems and learning
IN CBT, therapists work with individuals to
help them identify those thoughts and those behaviors that
are connected with their problem. The individual learns how
their thoughts, emotions and behavior are3 connected and how
to examine their primary beliefs. They are taught how to recognize
distorted thinking and how to consider alternatives to these
beliefs, and thus restructure their self-harming beliefs.
For example, distorted thinking can lead to
depression and anxiety. Imagine two young men applying for
their first job at a fast food restaurant. Both really want
the job and both are thinking that they shouldn't have a problem
getting the job. However, both are turned down for the job.
The first young man is disappointed, perhaps he realizes it
might not have been a good fit, and decides to look elsewhere.
The second young man is devastated: his thinking has led him
to believe that his landing this job is a measure of his entire
worth. He retreats to his room and refuses to look for another
Cognitive therapy can help the second young
man because it
is a treatment designed to teach an individual how to identify
and monitor negative thinking patterns and how to change these
patterns to think in a more positive, realistic manner. The
individuals learn how to challenge their own thoughts.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy uses diaries and
charts in order to help the individual identify the problems,
the triggers, and the thought processes. The therapy usually
consists of three areas:
1. Cognitive - what the individual thinks.
The individuals are trained to identify and stop negative
thoughts, to slow down in talking and moving, how to accept
themselves more readily, and to use positive self-statements.
2. Emotional - teaching the individual
how to calm himself or herself to allow the thought processes
to work more slowly and rationally.
3. Behavioral - what the individual does. The individual is
taught how to use their newly achieved thought processes to
carry them through their actions and reactions.