Cognitive Behavior Theory

Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Taylor Harris
Angelo State University

In 1960, Dr. Aaron T. Beck researched psychoanalytic concepts of depression.
He found that many of his patients had negative thoughts that came up spontaneously.Dr. Beck classified these thoughts as “automatic thoughts” (Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, 2016)

Dr. Beck began helping patients evaluate the automatic thoughts they were having.Dr. Beck called this approach “Cognitive Therapy”
(Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, 2016).

So what is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?

CBT focuses on how a persons thoughts, feelings, and behavior are interconnected (McLeod, 2015).

The goal of CBT is to help patients identify negative thoughts and teach strategies to help overcome them (Psychology Today, 2018).

CBT is an effective treatment option for a wide variety of mental health issues (Martin, 2015).
eating disorders, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, anxiety, anger management, alcohol abuse, depression, mood swings, drug abuse, sexual issues, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbances.

Major Tenents
CBT is a collaborative approach to therapy that is directive, structured, and completed over a series of weekly sessions. During sessions, the counselor and client will investigate the relationships between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Many times, a persons reaction to situations is based off of how they interpret the situation rather than the situation itself (Benjamin, 2011).

Cognitive Behavior Therapy considers the clients:
1. core beliefs-about self, others, and the world
2. assumptions-usually dysfunctional, example “why try out for the team, I already know I won’t make it”
3. negative automatic thoughts-involuntary, only consider the negative outcomes

Specific Techniques
Techniques are chosen based on the needs of the client. Some examples are:
Activity Scheduling-encourages clients to do things that they typically would not do. Often used for treatment of Depression (Fenn & Byrne, 2013)
Problem Solving-Encourages clients to come up with their own solutions to problems. Used frequently with mood disorders (Fenn & Byrne, 2013).

“Cognitive therapy seeks to alleviate psychological tensions by correcting misconceptions.By correcting erroneous beliefs, we can end the overreactions”-Dr. Aaron Beck

Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy. (2016). Our history. Retrieved from

History of Dr. Aaron Beck

Benjamin, C.L. (2011). History of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in youth. Child and
Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 20(2), 179-189.
Fenn, K., & Byrne, M. (2013). The key principles of cognitive behavioral therapy. InnovAiT,
6(9), 579-585. doi:10.1177/1755738012471029
Martin, B. (2016). In-depth: Cognitive behavioral therapy. PyschCentral. Retrieved from
McLeod, S. (2015). Cognitive behavior therapy. Simply Psychology. Retrieved from
Psychology Today. (n.d). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Retrieved from

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