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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a specific psychological treatment that focuses on changing negative thoughts, emotions and behaviors. It has been successfully been used to treat many issues, such as:

• Anxiety Disorders
• Depression
• Drug and Alcohol Addiction
• Eating Disorders
• Marital Conflicts

CBT was founded by Aaron Beck, a psychiatrist, in the 1960s. He had become dissatisfied with the Freudian approach to treating clients. CBT is also linked to Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT), which was developed by another psychologist, Albert Ellis.

Core Principles of CBT

CBT is based on some basic principles. Some of them that are helpful to clients are:

1. Psychological difficulties stem, at least in part, from incorrect ways of thinking.
2. They are also derived, at least partially, from unhealthy learned behavioral patterns.
3. A person who is living with a psychological difficulty can learn new coping methods. These coping methods will help provide relief for their symptoms and allow them to become more effective in their everyday lives.

How the Change in Thinking Patterns Occurs

CBT is a therapy that focuses on circumstances and emotions in the present. A therapist may ask some questions about a client’s family history and what made him seek therapy, but will not spend a lot of time on past events. Instead, the sessions will focus on the kinds of things a person may be telling himself that might be causing concern or difficulty.

The therapist will focus instead on what the client is telling himself that might be causing anxiety or making him feel distressed. Once these have been identified, the therapist encourages the client to challenge these negative thoughts or ways of thinking. The client learns how to recognize distortions in his thinking that may be causing problems. He also learns problem-solving skills that help deal with challenging situations as well as how to understand others’ motivations and behavior.