Cognitive behavior therapy was initiated by psychologists Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis in the 1960’s. it is based on the belief that behaviors and disturbed emotions are the result of inappropriate and/or irrational thinking patterns.
It is modeled as such:
CBT is based on the the concept of how we think, how we feel, and how we behave are all interrelated. If thought patterns are negative or distorted, it will effect our behavior. In other words, it is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, the opposite of believing that external things that happen around us cause us to behave in a certain manner. CBT not only identifies these thoughts, but also uses strategies to help individuals overcome these thoughts, and therefore change reactive behaviors.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy is short term therapy, usually lasting a maximum of 16-20 weeks. For those that do not want to use medications, it is a great option for people that suffer from:
- Addiction to drugs/alcohol
- Anger and stress management
- Child anxiety disorders
- Child behavior problems
- Couples/marital problems
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sexual dysfunction
- Social anxiety
The initial part of CBT is functional analysis. During functional analysis, the therapist will work with the client to look at the thought patterns. With introspection, self discovery can be made. The second part of CBT looks at the behaviors that are causing the client problems in his/her life. There are numerous techniques employed in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. It takes some work on the client’s part.
The cognitive behavior therapist may ask the client to:
- Do homework assignment The therapist may ask you to do homework assignments during the week. These can include such things as trying new responses to some of the life situations that were discussed in the therapy session.
- Individuals in CBT will most likely be asked to journal their thoughts and feelings. Not only does this help to vent frustrations and get feelings out without acting inappropriately, these journals will also be used in later sessions to see how one has grown and to demonstrate positive behaviors.
- One may be asked to rehearse a difficult situation. The patient will work on rehearsing their reaction, so that if/when this difficult situation arises, they will be better able to manage their behavior.
- The therapist may use positive reinforcements to encourage a particular behavior. Reinforcement conditioning is especially helpful when working with young children.
- Role-play. The therapist may ask the patient to role-play situations. By role-playing, the therapist can act out appropriate behavior.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a two-way street. The therapist cannot help if the patient is not willing to do the homework or exercises suggested. This is a positive aspect of this type of therapy because it empowers the patient to learn new behaviors and techniques to manage their life without being overly dependent on the therapist.
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