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What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? 

Learn about the development of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), its history, types, uses, and relevant benefits.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Maintaining good mental health can be a difficult challenge. Fortunately, there are many types of therapies available to treat and manage mental health. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a therapy often integrated into a multi-pronged mental health treatment approach.

This article will review what’s involved in cognitive behavioral therapy so you can determine if it’s the best treatment for you.

Goals of cognitive behavioral therapy include identifying and understanding irrational negative thought processes and correcting them to yield healthier behaviors. 

Is CBT Effective? 

A 2012 review of 269 studies found that CBT can be effective in treating a variety of mental conditions. Response rates were 38% for obsessive compulsive disorder, and 82% for body dysmorphic disorder.1 It has also been shown to be effective in treating anxiety and depression.2

History of CBT

The CBT approach was first introduced by American psychologist Albert Ellis in the 1950s. His treatments focused on the importance of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They were based on the idea that a person’s emotions arise more from their own thoughts than events that occur.

Cognitive behavior treatments were further emphasized by another American psychologist, Aaron T. Beck. He noticed that his depressed patients tended to have negative views of themselves and others and that the future could not be shifted. He realized that working on these feelings could help them overcome depression. He coined his approach as, “cognitive behavioral therapy,” making it official. 


Dialectic behavioral therapy is a type of CBT. However, while CBT focuses on thought and feelings and how they influence behavior, DBT is more about regulating emotions, accepting pain and being mindful. It is usually used on patients who experience severe mental symptoms such as borderline personality disorder.3

And whereas cognitive behavioral therapy methods are typically one on one sessions, DBT includes a combination of private and group sessions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Types of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

There are various types of cognitive behavioral therapy techniques including the following: 

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: The cognitive behavioral model involves talking about your feelings so that you can identify and correct negative thought processes and exhibit positive behavior.
  • Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT): DBT focuses more on action than talking through problems, It helps people change their behavior to make them less prone to extreme emotional reactions.
  • Multimodal Therapy: Multimodal therapy incorporates a variety of therapies to treat mental disorders; cognitive behavioral strategies are often included.
  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT): REBT is the original form of CBT. It is based on the theory that negative emotions are brought on by our own thoughts as opposed to events that occur. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques

There are several techniques that can be incorporated into the cognitive behavioral therapy process. These include: 

  • Identify Negative Thoughts: The first step is to identify the negative thoughts that may be leading to detrimental behavior.
  • Practicing New Skills: The patient is encouraged to practice new skills that help them see things in a more positive light.
  • Goal Setting: Goal setting may include getting through a day, week, or month without any severe emotional responses.
  • Problem Solving: Problem solving skills are developed so that the person can be proactive about their issues instead of letting them affect mental health.
  • Self-Monitoring: CBT emphasizes the importance of self-monitoring in order to provide people tools they need to keep their emotions under control. 

What Disorders and Conditions Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Treat?

Cognitive brain therapy can treat a variety of disorders and conditions. They will be detailed below.

Mental Illness

One of the main goals of cognitive behavioral therapy is to treat mental illnesses including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, OCD, ADHD and more. 

The cognitive behavioral model can be used to address the emotions behind eating disorders to create positive changes in behavior. 

Sleeping Disorders

Sleeping disorders are often tied to stress. Cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety can reduce stress, often resulting in better sleep. 

Chronic Pain

Cognitive behavior strategies can change the way pain is thought about. Cognitive behavior strategies can sometimes also be employed to educate people on ways to be more active, which may reduce pain. 

Everyday Challenges

People who are overwhelmed by everyday challenges are more likely to feel anxious and depressed. Cognitive behavior therapy can give individuals tools they need to face challenges with a more motivated and empowered, problem-solving perspective. Reducing emotional-responses to challenges is useful in minimizing the negative impact of everyday stressors.

Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

There are many benefits of behavioral therapy. These include:

  • Support: Cognitive behavioral therapy techniques involve the support of peers, family, and the therapist, which can improve emotional distress.
  • Raises Self-Esteem: Feeling in control over one’s thoughts, instead of overwhelmed by negative emotions, can lead to increased feelings of self-esteem.
  • Creation of Positive Thoughts: A cognitive behavioral approach increases positive thinking which can boost motivation and decrease depression. 
  • Anger Management: A person that can identify and process negative stimuli in a healthy way will be less prone to outbursts of anger. 
  • Better Communication Skills: When a person is taught to healthily process and respond to situations and stressors they encounter, they will be in a better position to effectively identify and communicate their needs. 
  • Coping Skills Improve: Cognitive behavioral therapy techniques teach healthy coping skills for dealing with emotions. 
  • Relapse Prevention: Cognitive behavior therapy provides tools for people to be able to process their emotions in a healthy, non-damaging way, making them less likely to need unhealthy coping mechanisms (like self-harm or drug abuse) that they may have turned to in the past.

Other Treatment Opportunities

Cognitive behavioral therapy is not the only treatment option available. It can also be combined with other treatments such as:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Support Groups

Support groups take place in a group-therapy setting. Attendees discuss their feelings, share stories of their experiences, and offer words of encouragement. 

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment involves living at a treatment facility, usually for a set amount of time which typically ranges from 1-3 months. Treatments may include medication management and talk therapy, which may include various types of cognitive behavioral therapy approaches.

Find help with Anew Treatment Center

If you are looking for help with your mental health, Anew Treatment Center is here to offer you the solutions you need. We provide a variety of treatments and customize a plan that’s suited to your individual needs. We ensure a comfortable atmosphere and comprehensive care you can rely on.

Mental illness can greatly reduce quality of life. Anew Treatment Center can help provide you the tools you need to get past one of the biggest challenges any person can face. Contact us to find out how we can assist you in moving forward. 

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