Psychology 101: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or CBT

This blog starts my series on counseling theories and methods. I am a therapist who subscribes to an ecclectic approach to therapeutic technique… with a psychodynamic root and certainly an application that is more than anything cognitive-behavioral simply because that is the nature of therapeutic intervention. When setting an appointment and looking for a particular therapeutic theoretical mode, this question is the one that is asked of me more than any other: “Do you do CBT?” (and particularly people inquire with the initials). In today’s blog, I will try to put this question to rest once and for all by saying that it is my belief that nearly all mental health counselors do CBT.

Quite simply, CBT is an acronym for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, a therapeutic theory of practice advanced by several mental health professionals; but truly, I would challenge, CBT is always used by all (despite a historical psychological emphasis on conditioning and behavioral therapy). “Cognitive” is about cognitions or thoughts. “Behavioral” is about behaviors (of course). There are certainly counselors who primarily focus on behaviors. Personally, though I prefer a primarily cognitive focus as a root and I follow with a secondary behavioral focus; there are instances when I focus more on behaviors than on cognitions such as when working with very young children or individuals with developmental delays or with clients who manage Autism or Aspergers or with cognitive decline such as Dementia or Alzheimers. However, even in these situations, a counselor works with cognitions as well as with the identification of thoughts that motivate or influence mood. Otherwise, I would advance the idea that all mental health professionals involved in counseling work with thoughts and behaviors therefore I believe that all mental health professionals subscribe to cognitive-behavioral theoretical concepts and techniques … that is, thoughts and behaviors!

This is the first in a series of blogs involving psychological education for the layperson. I welcome questions and/or concerns.

…. and now I will close with a helpful thought to motivate a helpful behavior:
Next time you condemn yourself for a less-than-perfect behavior, think, “What would I say to my best friend?” … and say it to yourself … because you are just as important as your best friend…aren’t you? BE GOOD TO YOURSELF… as you would be good to a friend.

Take Care and PEACE!


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