Founder of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Aaron Temkin Beck was an inspiring man, passionately curious, compassionate and self-effacing. As a leading mental health professional and the creator of what would become known as The Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, his efforts bore fruit to great success.
CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is a psychotherapy approach that assists individuals in recognizing and altering unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors that cause emotional distress. It has become widely used as treatment for conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Therapy is founded on the idea that thoughts and feelings are intrinsically linked, and people can achieve freedom by altering their thinking and feelings. It also involves working closely with a therapist to learn new strategies for testing beliefs, reframing relationships with others, and altering behavior.
Cognitive therapy emerged from behaviourism and psychology in the 1960s, when several psychologists combined their approaches to treat certain mental disorders. Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck were two key figures in this development.
Beck, a psychoanalyst by training, became dissatisfied with traditional psychoanalysis and sought to create alternative treatments for depression and other mood disorders. Drawing upon their collective psychological understanding as well as behavioural theory, the two men collaborated on creating an innovative form of treatment that focused on the cognitive processes at the root cause of these mental illnesses.
Cognitive therapy emphasizes the idea that people possess various levels of thinking (known as’schemas’). This implies people may hold multiple types of beliefs which could be connected to different emotions, physical symptoms, or even personality traits.
Cognitive therapy helps clients explore and resolve conflicting parts of their schemas, leading to a more balanced perspective of themselves and the world. They draw techniques from various psychotherapeutic models like Gestalt therapy, object relations theory, and attachment theory in order to help clients gain clarity about themselves.
Cognitive therapy often includes the ‘ABC’ analysis, which helps people observe their thoughts about an event or situation. This involves creating a three-column table to record each thought process and examine how each column fits into the overall framework.
The ABC analysis can help break irrational thinking cycles and is an integral component of cognitive therapy. It’s especially beneficial in recognizing negative thoughts that might be causing anxiety.
Cognitive therapy also involves problem-solving skills, self-monitoring and cognitive restructuring. As part of cognitive behavioral therapy, you’ll work with your therapist to develop skills for dealing with life’s stressesors, trauma and relationships. These strategies can help you cope better with these situations as well as reduce negative emotions and impulsive behaviors.
Cognitive therapy is an evidence-based approach that has been repeatedly demonstrated to be successful in studies. It can be beneficial for individuals suffering from conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, chronic pain, addiction and eating disorders; and often combined with other forms of psychotherapy like family therapy or interpersonal therapy. You can easily locate a qualified cognitive behavioral therapist by searching online or consulting your doctor for referral.