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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a treatment that concentrates on patterns of thinking that are distorted and the beliefs that are the root cause of irrational thinking.  CBT aims to incorporate psychodynamic and behavioral therapies in help relieve symptoms that a man or woman may be experiencing.  The key concept behind CBT revolves around the idea that thoughts and feelings are tied with behavior.  Therefore, the goal of CBT is to help individuals learn that while they cannot control every aspect of their environment, they are able to gain control of how circumstances in their surroundings are interpreted and dealt with.

Since CBT is generally a shorter-term treatment option in comparison to other types of therapy available, it is often a more affordable alternative. CBT is become increasingly popular as its effectiveness in helping patients overcome destructive behaviors has been demonstrated.  While fundamental aspects of CBT can be followed back to ancient philosophical traditions, Arnold Lazarus with Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck, developed the first form of CBT in the 1970s.  CBT draws emphases on thoughts, beliefs, values, and the behaviors that sustain mental health disorders, such as eating disorders and mood disorders.

Types of CBT

Types of CBT techniques include:

  • Cognitive therapy: A type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are challenged in order treat mood disorders
  • Rational Emotive: Psychotherapy which focuses on resolving emotional and behavioral disturbances with the goal of leading to a more fulfilling life
  • Multimodal Therapy: Approach which focuses on each modality, such as behavior, sensation, and interpersonal relationships
  • Behavior Therapy: The treatment of neurotic symptoms by training a patient’s reactions to stimuli

Components of CBT

The Components of Cognitive Behavior Therapy include:

  • Functional Analysis-The stage of CBT where the individual is learning to identify problematic beliefs
  • Actual Behaviors-The second stage of CBT where new skills are learned, practiced, and applied to real-world situations
  • Behavior Change-Final phase of CBT that encourage an individual to take steps towards implementing a developmental transformation.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is helpful in breaking down overwhelming circumstances into smaller, more manageable issues, allowing for insight and connection.  These parts are:

  • Situation
  • Thoughts
  • Emotions
  • Physical Feelings
  • Actions

Uses of CBT

Cognitive Behavior Therapy has been applied in treating individuals suffering from various mental health disorders, utilized successfully within many clinical and non-clinical environments as a treatment for various disorders, personality conditions, and behavioral problems.  CBT has also been a proven form of therapy for the treatment of eating disorders, particularly bulimia and binge-eating disorders, as it includes educational components and the development of a meal plan.  CBT is highly successful in that it addresses the psychological, familial, and societal facets correlated with eating disorders and directly focuses on the problematic thinking and behaviors that sustain eating disorder symptoms.  CBT is also an effective form of therapy for depression, addiction, mood disorders, personality disorders, substance abuse, psychotic disorders and anxiety.  Research studies have indicated the effectiveness of this form of psychotherapy for various mental illnesses.  CBT has also been shown to help with anger issues, low self-esteem, and physical health problems, such as pain or fatigue.  CBT can be applied in both individual therapy in addition to group settings, and the techniques utilized are commonly adapted for self-help applications as well. Search for qualified eating disorder treatments centers in our directory.

Last Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 25, 2012

Page last updated: June 12, 2012
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com, Help For Eating Disorders

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