The Difference Between Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive therapy is a type of psychotherapy that seeks to identify and modify current distressing thoughts, feelings and behaviors. It’s commonly used for treating depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions as well as helping those recovering from substance abuse or addiction.
Cognitive therapy differs from behavioral therapy in that it teaches patients how to alter their thoughts and actions, making it easier for them to overcome issues and get well.
CBT is founded on the idea that healthy thinking and good habits can help prevent many mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, ADHD and substance abuse. Additionally, CBT encourages patients to challenge their own negative beliefs which can give them more control over their lives.
Aaron Beck developed this approach in the 1960s. Disillusioned with Freudian psychoanalysis, he sought out more empirical forms of therapy. Combining Albert Ellis’ rational emotive behavior therapy with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Beck created Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
Some of the most prevalent irrational thought patterns include over-generalization and catastrophizing, or drawing negative conclusions about something that occurs. These errors in reasoning can cause great emotional pain.
Cognitive therapy helps patients recognize and address the causes of irrational thoughts. Therapists may ask patients to jot down any circumstances that led them to believe their thoughts were accurate or incorrect, then work with them on reframing those ideas in more rational terms.
These skills can be beneficial in everyday life as well. For instance, someone who experiences frequent anxiety may learn techniques to relax their body, such as deep breathing.
Behavioral therapy, on the other hand, emphasizes teaching new and better behaviors such as communication and social skills. This aids patients in improving their relationships, academic performance and other areas of their lives.
Cognitive and behavioral therapy differ in that behavioral therapy is usually a short-term form of treatment, used as needed and sometimes combined with applied behavior analysis (ABA). This allows therapists to focus on the needs of clients while giving them an opportunity to practice their newly acquired skills.
Both therapies strive to boost patients’ self-esteem and help them comprehend why they are feeling the way they do. Nevertheless, the methods of each approach differ.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is founded on Albert Ellis’ Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). REBT is a type of rational-emotive therapy that strives to alter damaging patterns of “emotional reasoning” that prevent patients from improving.
Behavior therapy is an incredibly successful treatment because it directly addresses thoughts and beliefs that undermine mental health, focusing on finding solutions. Unlike psychoanalysis, which deals with issues from the past, behavioral therapy seeks ways to cope with current difficulties and resolve them quickly.