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Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy - The Basics

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Priority: major Milestone: Commissioning
Component: Database Version: 2.0
Severity: medium Keywords: Voitick


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the important role of thinking in how we feel and what we do.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy does not exist as a distinct therapeutic technique. The term "cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)" is a very general term for a classification of therapies with similarities. There are several approaches to cognitive-behavioral therapy, including Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Rational Behavior Therapy, Rational Living Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, and Dialectic Behavior Therapy.

However, most cognitive-behavioral therapies have the following characteristics:

  1. CBT is based on the Cognitive Model of Emotional Response.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations, and events. The benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we think to feel / act better even if the situation does not change.

  1. CBT is Briefer and Time-Limited at rehab for couples

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is considered among the most rapid in terms of results obtained. The average number of sessions clients receive (across all types of problems and approaches to CBT) is only 16. Other forms of therapy, like psychoanalysis,can take years. What enables CBT to be briefer is its highly instructive nature and the fact that it makes use of homework assignments. CBT is time-limited in that we help clients understand at the very beginning of the therapy process that there will be a point when the formal therapy will end. The ending of the formal therapy is a decision made by the therapist and client.

Therefore rehab for couples, CBT is not an open-ended, never-ending process

  1. A sound therapeutic relationship is necessary for effective therapy, but not the focus. Some forms of therapy assume that the main reason people get better in therapy is because of the positive relationship between the therapist and client. Cognitive-behavioral therapists believe it is important to have a good, trusting relationship, but that is not enough. CBT therapists believe that the clients change because they learn how to think differently and they act on that learning. Therefore, CBT therapists focus on teaching rational self-counseling skills.
  1. CBT is a collaborative effort between the therapist and the client.

Cognitive-behavioral therapists seek to learn what their clients want out of life (their goals) and then help their clients achieve those goals. The therapist's role is to listen, teach, and encourage, while the client's role is to express concerns, learn, and implement that learning.

  1. CBT is based on stoic philosophy.

Not all approaches to CBT emphasize stoicism. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Rational Behavior Therapy, and Rational Living Therapy emphasize stoicism. Beck's Cognitive Therapy is not based on stoicism. Cognitive-behavioral therapy does not tell people how they should feel. However, most people seeking therapy do not want to feel the way they have been feeling. The approaches that emphasize stoicism teach the benefits of feeling, at worst, calm when confronted with undesirable situations. They also emphasize the fact that we have our undesirable situations whether we are upset about them or not. If we are upset about our problems, we have two problems -- the problem, and our upset about it. Most people want to have the fewest number of problems possible. So when we learn how to more calmly accept a personal problem, not only do we feel better, but we usually put ourselves in a better position to make use of our intelligence, knowledge, energy, and resources to resolve the problem.

  1. CBT uses the Socratic Method.

Cognitive-behavioral therapists want to gain a very good understanding of their clients' concerns. That's why they often ask questions. They also encourage their clients to ask questions of themselves, like, "How do I really know that those people are laughing at me?" "Could they be laughing about something else?"

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