Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a type of psychotherapy that is effective in the treatment of a mental illness. It was developed in the 1960s by Aaron Beck. This article will aim to answer the question: What does cognitive behavioral therapy involve?

CBT is an approach that focuses on the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It is usually a short-term form of therapy that can be done in individual or group settings. Cognitive behavior therapy is sometimes called cognitive therapy. Continue reading to learn more about CBT, its history, and how it works.

What Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Involve

What is CBT?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy is an alternative psychotherapeutic therapy that can be used to help individuals change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors in their life. CBT aims to address a range of issues that a person with a mental health condition can experience.

People cope differently in different situations. Extreme reactions to certain situations can lead to the development of mental health conditions. CBT can help manage different conditions from anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and mood disorders, to substance use disorders and chronic pain. It can also help an individual with coping strategies for stress management. The healthcare professional will work with the individual to identify unhealthy thoughts and behaviors and replace them with healthier ones.

Who developed cognitive behavioral therapy?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy can be traced back to 1913 when John B. Watson, a prominent behaviorist of the time, built the foundations of the CBT that is used today. Watson’s theories focused on the observation that behaviors are acquired from the external environment or conditions that the individual is in.

In the 1950s, Albert Ellis focused on helping individuals identify unrealistic or irrational thoughts. This was called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. The goal of this therapy was to help patients turn their unrealistic thoughts into rational ones.

The cognitive-behavior therapy practices that are used today were developed by Dr. Aaron Beck in the 1960s. Dr. Beck was a psychiatrist who noticed that his patients’ thoughts were impacting their mood and behavior. He then conducted several experiments to psychoanalyze different individuals. He concluded that negative feelings and thoughts about the self, the world, and the future significantly affected the mental health of the individual.

What are the main components of cognitive-behavioral therapy?

CBT has several components that are needed to be successful. What does cognitive behavioral therapy involve? CBT involves a licensed psychologist or therapist working with the individual to identify and challenge negative thoughts, develop coping skills, improve problem-solving skills, and learn how to relax. The main components of cognitive-behavioral therapy are the following:

Cognitive restructuring

Cognitive restructuring, also known as cognitive reframing, is among the key principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy. It is the process of identifying and challenging negative thinking. During the first few sessions involving cognitive reframing, the therapist will help the individual gain a deeper understanding of their psychological issues and present feelings that affect their thought patterns.

The CBT therapist’s goal is to guide the individual in identifying distorted or unhelpful ways and beliefs and replace them with more realistic and helpful ones. This is necessary to help identify and change the thoughts that may be contributing to their problems.

Behavioral activation

Behavioral activation is where the therapist helps the individual to identify and change destructive or avoidance behavior patterns. During a therapy session for behavioral activation, the goal is to change learned patterns and behaviors so the individual can go back to engaging in activities that they enjoy in their daily life.

Problem-solving therapy

Problem-solving therapy is where the therapist helps the individual to identify and address any problems or emotional challenges they may be experiencing in their life. The therapist will help the individual to come up with a plan of action to address any obstacles that are preventing them from achieving their goals.

Types of CBT

CBT includes various approaches to addressing the mind and emotion. These may include structured psychotherapy or self-help tools. Although each kind of therapy uses an entirely different approach, each works on removing thought patterns that cause psychological distress.

Several different types of cognitive-behavioral therapy are used to treat different mental health disorders. Sometimes, the CBT therapist will recommend that individuals combine CBT with other behavioral therapies. The treatment outcome of each type of therapy varies among individuals. The most common types of CBT are the following:

Beck’s Cognitive Therapy

This is a type of CBT that was developed by Aaron Beck in the 1960s. It is a short-term treatment with a focused approach that is used to treat a variety of mental health disorders. Beck’s CBT is one of the widely accepted therapeutic approaches to treating depression. The basic principle of this approach focuses on changing the negative thoughts of an individual regarding the world, the future, and the self. Negative thinking patterns can lead to illogical thoughts and expectations about people or events. Therefore, optimistic and realistic thoughts can have a positive effect on the individual.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

This is a type of CBT that was developed by Albert Ellis in the 1950s. The main principle of REBT is that individuals are in control of their thoughts, emotions, and actions. It is an approach that helps individuals to change irrational thoughts and beliefs that may be contributing to their problems.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

This is a type of CBT that was developed by Marsha Linehan in the 1980s. It is an approach that helps individuals who struggle with borderline personality disorder, intense emotions, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. It can also be used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder. DBT focuses on teaching individuals healthy coping mechanisms for stress management.

Exposure and Response Prevention

This is a type of CBT that is used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It involves exposure therapy – exposing the individual to their fears and then teaching them how to resist the urge to engage in compulsions.

Cognitive Therapy for Psychosis

This is a type of CBT that was developed by Anthony Morrison in the 1990s. It is an approach that helps individuals who are experiencing psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions.

How does cognitive behavioral therapy work?

CBT is a commonly used form of conversational therapy. What does cognitive behavioral therapy involve? In this type of therapy, you go to a mental health counselor and attend a small group of sessions. This helps in understanding incorrect thinking and helps in analyzing challenging situations more accurately and effectively.

CBT is an important and helpful therapy for treating psychological disorders ranging from depression and anxiety to bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is problem-focused psychotherapy that helps individuals to identify the thoughts and feelings that contribute to their psychological distress. Once these have been identified, the therapist will work with the individual to replace them with healthy ones.

Focusing on Helpful and Unhelpful Thoughts

As CBT centers on the thoughts and feelings of the patient to help them manage psychological disorders. It helps improve a person’s thinking patterns. This was first used by Albert Ellis and further enhanced in the methods applied today. Below are the four steps that are widely used by counselors and therapists worldwide.

Identifying Unhelpful Thoughts

This involves identifying any negative or distorted thoughts that may be contributing to the individual’s distress. The therapist will help the individual to identify and challenge these thoughts.

Challenging Unhelpful Thoughts

Once the unhelpful thoughts have been identified, the therapist will work with the individual to challenge them. This involves testing the validity of the thoughts and examining them in a realistic light.

Replacing Unhelpful Thoughts

Once the therapist has helped the individual to challenge their negative thoughts, they will work with them to replace them with more helpful ones. This may involve developing positive statements about themselves or rewriting their self-talk.

Practicing Helpful Thoughts

Once the individual has replaced their unhelpful thoughts with more helpful ones, the therapist will help them to practice these thoughts in a realistic setting. This may involve role-playing challenging situations or writing down positive statements to refer to when they are feeling distressed.

CBT Techniques

CBT helps people overcome their thoughts by providing strategies to help people overcome them. Some techniques include journaling, roleplaying, relaxation techniques, or mentally distracting exercises. These techniques help the individual by providing a way to express their thoughts and feelings, test the validity of their thoughts, practice helpful thoughts in a safe and controlled setting, and healthily deal with difficult emotions.

Why is CBT done?

CBT can address many problems as a whole. It’s sometimes referred to as alternative psychotherapy because it helps to identify and manage problems through talk therapy. It requires fewer sessions as compared to other treatments and is conducted in a structured fashion.

CBT can help you overcome your emotional blocks and overcome them with confidence or understanding. It is often the preferred method to treat depression. Other mental health conditions that can be corrected with CBT are bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors.

CBT is not just for individuals with mental health conditions. It can also help with physical conditions such as chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), asthma, and fibromyalgia. Additionally, it can help people who have relationship difficulties or who are struggling with life changes such as job loss or retirement.

Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most extensively studied forms of psychotherapy. It is effective for a wide range of mental health disorders. It can also help manage physical problems and reduce symptoms of chronic physical conditions. CBT is also one of the few behavioral therapies that are helpful for children, adolescents, and adults. There are many benefits of CBT, as enumerated below.

Helps manage thoughts and feelings.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a collaborative effort between the therapist and the person seeking help. The therapist helps the person to identify and understand the thoughts and feelings that are causing them difficulty. The therapist also provides tools and strategies to help the person manage these thoughts and feelings. For it to be effective, the person must be an active participant in their own therapy.

Helps with goal-building.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a structured, goal-oriented form of therapy. This means that the therapist and the person seeking help work together to identify specific goals for treatment. These goals may be related to reducing symptoms of a mental health problem, improving relationships, or managing stress.

Shorter duration and is relatively inexpensive.

Is cognitive-behavioral therapy expensive? How many sessions must a person undergo to effectively manage negative thoughts and unhelpful behavior? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the cost of CBT will vary depending on the therapist’s location and the person’s insurance coverage. However, this type of therapy is generally less expensive than other forms of therapy because of the few sessions it requires, with an average of 16 sessions. The goal is to help the person to healthily manage their thoughts and feelings so that they can live a more productive and satisfying life.


What does cognitive behavioral therapy involve? CBT is a collaborative effort between the therapist and the person seeking help. The therapist helps the person to identify and understand the thoughts and feelings that are causing them difficulty. The therapist also provides tools and strategies to help the person manage these thoughts and feelings.

CBT is goal-oriented, structured, and shorter in duration than most other therapies, making it a relatively inexpensive option. This type of therapy is not only for persons with psychological problems and mental health conditions; it is also effective to help manage physical problems.

If you are looking for help managing your thoughts and feelings, CBT may be the right option for you. Talk to your doctor or therapist about whether this type of therapy is right for you.

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