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One of the most famous psychological treatment approaches is cognitive behavioral therapy. According to the American Psychological Association, cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective intervention that can even improve daily functioning and quality of life. Here is a comprehensive guide of what cognitive behavioral therapy is, how this treatment approach works and more.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychoeducational intervention that is used to treat mental illness. This therapeutic approach is typically used by mental health professionals to treat depression and anxiety. However, CBT is also applicable among clients with schizophrenia, eating disorders, and bipolar disorder.
In general, CBT intervention is designed based on Aaron Beck’s cognitive theory and the assumption that feelings are the results of cognition. CBT generally focuses on helping the client to identify negative thought patterns and to change dysfunctional thinking and maladaptive behavior.
Beck (1979) proposed that our emotions are the result of our cognition, in other words, what we think will lead to what we feel. Based on this assumption, Beck proposed the negative cognitive triad model and suggested that major depressive disorder clients have a negative view of the self, the world and the future.
Apart from the negative triad, Beck (1979) also proposed that clients suffering from major depressive disorders usually possess automatic thoughts, also known as cognitive distortions. There are numerous automatic thoughts, all of which contribute to negative emotions. For example, people who have overgeneralization draw an unrealistic and broad conclusion from a tiny mistake (e.g. if I fail a test, I will die); while people who demonstrate personalization attribute uncontrollable negative consequences to themselves (e.g. My child cannot solve this mathematical problem, I must be a terrible parent.)