Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT)
For my first series of blog posts I will write about differing theoretical approaches. Many clients have little idea that there are different theoretical approaches to helping people and that different approaches may work better with different issues.
For my first post I will write regarding Cognitive Behavioral Theory or (CBT). According to the National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists; CBT “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:
o CBT is based on the Cognitive Model of Emotional Response.
o CBT is Briefer and Time-Limited.
o A sound therapeutic relationship is necessary for effective therapy, but not the focus.
o CBT is a collaborative effort between the therapist and the client.
o CBT is based on aspects of stoic philosophy.
o CBT uses the Socratic Method.
o CBT is structured and directive.
o CBT is based on an educational model.
o CBT theory and techniques rely on the Inductive Method.
o Homework is a central feature of CBT. ( http://www.nacbt.org/whatiscbt.htm )
It is very important to begin here because controlling thinking is the major premise for the theory and this premise is often met with opposition from many clients. CBT is difficult for some individuals to conceptualize because our society tends to operate based upon emotions rather than cognition or reason.
If you listen while out in public you may hear parents saying to their children, “you’re making me angry”; or children may react to peers and say, “he made me do it… I didn’t have a choice”. CBT flies in the face of these common statements. It emphasizes the importance of making conscious choice regarding our actions.
CBT uses a four column diagram that clients are taught to use in the decision making process. The diagram premise is as follows. To begin with there is a precipitating event; that event leads to certain thoughts; and those thoughts lead to feelings or emotions; the combined thoughts and feelings lead us to behave in certain ways. Too often individuals fail to recognize the thinking portion of the process and skip right to the feeling portion and then react. The problem with this is that our emotions alone are not trustworthy.
In the weeks to come I will continue to highlight CBT as well as other theoretical approaches so that you, the reader, will have the opportunity to become better informed.