Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy – abbreviated as CT – is a kind of talk therapy with no use of medications. Cognitive therapy is based on a cognitive model according to which the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors all are connected.

If an individual can identify the pattern of unhealthy or unhelpful thoughts, and troublesome emotional responses, then it’s possible for that individual to cope with or overcome these behavioral problems.

Cognitive therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy

:dizzy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy – abbreviated as CBT - is a specific kind of psychological therapy. It has resulted as an effective treatment since it was first developed by an American psychiatrist Aaron beck in 1960.

:dizzy: CT or CBT was developed to cope with the multiple varieties of emotional and behavioral problems that include depressive behaviors, anxiety disorders, alcohol, and drug abuse issues, marital problems, several eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa and other mental illnesses.

:dizzy: According to the data obtained from several studies, cognitive behavioral therapy results in a consequential improvement in functional behavior and as a result of this, there is a visible betterment in the quality of life.

:dizzy: Most people in old age face problems like Alzheimer’s disease due to cognitive problems. Some people have to face Schizophrenia that is also a mental illness and also involves the distortion in the cognitive system of the brain.

:question: What’s different?

:dizzy: When it is compared with other psychotherapeutic techniques or pharmacotherapy for psychiatric problems, CBT has been proven as a more effective way to identify and then cope with distressing behavioral problems.

:dizzy: Not only the knowledge, based on the research methodologies but also the data obtained from clinical practice has been utilized to make the recent advancements in the field of cognitive-behavioral therapy.

:question: Why it is better therapy?

:dizzy: There are several scientific proofs that the methodology that is implemented in cognitive behavioral therapy is surely effective and results in the desired outcomes without any doubt.

:dizzy: This is a shred of supporting evidence in terms of implications of CBT techniques to treat several mental illnesses as it’s better yet different from other psychological therapies.

Cognitive psychology

Principles of CBT

:star: Cognitive therapy referred to as CT is a kind of talk therapy with no use of medications. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on a cognitive model according to which the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors all are connected.

:star: If an individual learns to identify the pattern of unhealthy or unhelpful thoughts, and troublesome emotional responses, then it’s possible for that individual to cope with or overcome these behavioral problems.

:star: Cognitive therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy relies on some basic principles that lead to this behavioral therapeutic technique’s success. These basic principles include:

1. Defective thought patterns:

  • It means that many psychological problems arise from unhealthy ways of thinking

2. Unhelpful learning patterns:

  • In some cases, psychological problems result from the unhelpful behaviors that have become learned thought patterns.

3. Reversal is possible:

  • If someone is capable to identify the problem he or she is suffering from and has a better understanding of it, he or she can surely be able to cope with the condition.

  • They can make their lives better if they can relieve the disturbing symptoms of psychological problems and can lead towards a better quality of life.

:white_check_mark: See also
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
How to improve the memory?
Best Brain exercise games for healthy life

How cognitive behavioral therapy works?

:white_flower: Cognitive therapy is a part of cognitive psychology and the basic working principle of CBT is that there is an involvement of conscious efforts to modify the way of thinking of a person by using several strategies.

:white_flower: If there is a change in the thinking pattern of an individual, it results in positive outcomes leading from poor mental conditions to healthier ones.

:white_flower: Different strategies that are involved in cognitive therapy are given below:

  1. Recognition of distortions
  2. Improved understanding
  3. Implementation of problem-solving skills
  4. Improvement in the self-confidence level of an individual
  5. Facing the problems
  6. Role-playing techniques
  7. Learning to stay calm

1. Recognition of problem

  • A problem can’t be treated in a better way if an individual does not have a better understanding of that problem.

  • Thus, if an individual can understand the distortion that is present in his or her thought patterns he or she can surely be able to cope with it.

2. Better understanding

  • If a person has a better understanding of the behaviors, motivations, and thought patterns of other people around him, he can adopt those healthy patterns to make his life better.

3. Implementation of problem-solving skills

  • Problems can better be solved if you have good problem-solving skills especially in the case of behavioral issues problem-solving skills can play a major role in overcoming or coping with such problems.

4. Improved self-confidence

  • Low self-esteem or lesser self-confidence can be a reason for several distorted behavioral problems.

  • Improvement in self-confidence can help an individual in coping with the problems arising from these minor yet powerful mental issues.

  • The more a person builds self-confidence in his or her abilities, the more there are chances for him or her to overcome the psychological issues.

5. Facing the problems

  • Facing the problems rather than hiding from them can give better results. Some people have certain kinds of fears and are unable to face them.

  • Rather they prefer to avoid them as much as possible. When a person dares to face the fear instead of avoiding it, 90% of his fear dies after facing it once.


6. Role-playing techniques

  • If a person has a problem with the interactive episodes with other individuals, there is a way to cope up with this problem.

  • The role-playing method is a method that can be helpful in such cases and a person finally becomes able to face the problematic interactions with people around him.

7. Learning to stay calm

  • Mental and physical irritation and restlessness can result in worsening of conditions.

  • The more a person learns to stay calm building an inner peace of mind, the more he can overcome the behavioral problems.

:memo: Point to be noted

Not all the above-mentioned techniques need to be applied in all cognitive-behavioral therapies. Different situations demand different techniques and it solely depends upon the behavioral pattern of a client and the strategical procedure of the psychiatrist.

:white_flower: Opposite to pharmacotherapy and other psychological therapies where the major part is done by medications or psychiatrists, cognitive therapy emphasizes teaching the clients to become their therapists.

:white_flower: There are several mental exercises designed and implemented during doctor-patient therapy sessions and also the client gets some exercises as homework.

:white_flower: These homework exercises help the patients or clients to better understand their own behavioral patterns and help them to cope with them on their own.

:white_flower: For improvement in the patient’s current life situations rather than heading towards past events is the main focus of cognitive therapy.

:white_flower: This requires a sufficient amount of data about the patient’s history but CBT prefers to move forwards in time to come up with better techniques to cope with the problems in someone’s life.

:books: Read also

Psychological effects of stress on the human mind and body
How does stress affect us psychologically?
Get to know the psychological symptoms of stress

Types of cognitive therapy

:white_check_mark: Cognitive-behavioral therapy – abbreviated as CBT – is a kind of talk therapy. Opposite all other kinds of psychotherapies, CBT is not a long-term treatment.

:white_check_mark: Duration of cognitive-behavioral therapy can last from few weeks to few months depending upon the condition of a patient with a mental problem. Most people end up at cognitive therapy when they search for how to get rid of stress?

:white_check_mark: The main feature of the cognitive therapeutic technique is that it doesn’t mainly focus on the past but the present circumstances of a patient although the past history is also somehow important for better understanding the present condition of a patient.

:white_check_mark: No matter how important the relevance of the past is with the current conditions, the main focus of the CBT technique is to teach individuals to cope up with the present conditions and it can be done in several different ways.

Types of CBT techniques

:ballot_box_with_check: Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a kind of talk therapy that doesn’t involve any kind of medications and is different from other psychotherapy techniques in the sense that it involves the patient himself in understanding and coping up with his mental issues.

:ballot_box_with_check: Cognitive therapy – known as CT – is a kind of talk therapy with no use of medications and is the answer to the question of how to get rid of depression? Cognitive therapy is based on a cognitive model according to which the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors all are connected.

Mental health

:ballot_box_with_check: If a person learns to identify the pattern of unhealthy or unhelpful thoughts and troublesome emotional responses, then it’s possible for him to cope with or overcome these behavioral problems.

:ballot_box_with_check: Several techniques are used in CBT and they are discussed in this section. As previously has been discussed that multiple principles are involved in the CBT technique and one most important of them is:

“Thought patterns of an individual can have a serious impact on the emotions, that finally modify the behavioral patterns of that individual.”

:ballot_box_with_check: Thus if someone can understand and control his or her thought pattern he is surely on a verge of getting rid of the behavioral issues that are resulted because of distorted thought patterns.

For example:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy explains that if a person is consistently having some negative thoughts, it results in building up negative emotions and finally the actions.

  • Thus, a negative trigger can stimulate further negativities and it messes up one’s whole life. Positivity is the key factor involved in the application of CBT techniques.

:ballot_box_with_check: Positive thoughts lead to positive outcomes and positive behaviors instead of negativity. Negativity is nothing but just a stop mark on the path of life and surely the success of a person.

:ballot_box_with_check: The more you tend to see the bright side of the situation, the more are the chances that you will end up with better results.

:ballot_box_with_check: Positivity is not an injection that is injected by your psychotherapists in your mind. They will just teach you how to alter the state of mind and thought patterns by daily home exercises.

:ballot_box_with_check: Once you learn those techniques and skills, you will be your own therapist for your whole life and that is the real beauty of CBT.

:ballot_box_with_check: Different people have different problems and hence the therapist will approach in a slightly different way for each individual depending on his needs and situations.

:ballot_box_with_check: Yet some common points are included in every therapeutic approach:

  1. Identification of the main issue in someone’s routine life

  2. Understanding the distorted and unhelpful thoughts and their effect on someone’s life

  3. Identification and understanding of the negativity and then exchanging it with the positive energy for better outcomes

  4. Trying to learn the behaviors of the people surrounding you and positively adopting them making them a part of your life.

:ballot_box_with_check: Therapists always approach in a certain way. Maybe he starts with the conversation about the problems you are facing and want to get rid of them and then he goes for the best CBT technique that will be suitable for you to cope up with the problem.

:ballot_box_with_check: Some most commonly used CBT strategies or techniques include the following nine techniques that are mostly used in CBT:

  1. Unwinding cognitive distortions
  2. Cognitive reshaping
  3. Journaling
  4. Exposure to trigger and response prevention
  5. Interoceptive exposure therapy
  6. The implication of stress-reducing techniques
  7. Guided discovery
  8. Behavioral experiments
  9. Roleplaying

All of them have been explained one by one:

1. Unwinding cognitive distortions

  1. Things cant be treated until one has a better understanding of them. This technique of CBT involves the understanding of disturbing thought patterns and their outcomes in your daily life.

  2. Once an individual has learned to understand or identify the main trigger, it would be easy for him to handle it in a better way.

  3. When you learn to identify the main culprit thoughts with your therapist’s help, it becomes easy for you to reframe or reconstruct them from moving to more positivity.

2. Cognitive reshaping

  1. Restructuring the cognitive distortions is the main goal of the cognitive-behavioral technique. The best thing about this strategy is that you don’t always need a psychiatrist for the implication of this technique.

  2. You can do it by yourself in a much better way once you have unveiled the problem. You can fight an enemy after you recognize him and the same is the case with this CBT technique.

  3. First, you must be aware of the distortion that most commonly affects you, and then you can reframe it. In short, first, you will be identifying the harmful and unhelpful thought patterns and then you will be challenging them.

For instance:

“He ignored me and didn’t talk to me. He doesn’t need me anymore” can be in this way “ He ignored me maybe he is so much indulged in something disturbing that he forgot to give me due attention. It would be better for me to wait until he comes out of his phase”.

3. Journaling

  1. Journaling is a very helpful technique to help us identify the changes in our thought patterns and the triggers behind them.

  2. Writing down the times of a specific mood and the events behind that mood can help an individual to better understand the reason for distortion in thoughts.

  3. Your therapist can give you home assignments to note down the negative thoughts that attacked you in between the therapy sessions and the factors that triggered those thoughts.

  4. He can also ask you to note down all the positive thoughts that you can adopt in those situations. In this way, you will be able to understand the problems and their solutions in a better way.

4. Exposure to trigger and response prevention

  1. People often have certain types of phobias that make their life difficult. For example, hydrophobia, claustrophobias are the things that are associated with a lot of triggering responses.

  2. Some people have obsessive-compulsive disorder and surely their lives are not the same as others. This technique of CBT is mainly for such kinds of people.

  3. In this technique, you have to expose yourself to a specific trigger and learn to refrain from the usual response to the possible extent.

  4. You can note down the changes in both responses, with or without refraining – for a better understanding that how it helped you out.

5. Interoceptive exposure therapy

  1. This CBT technique is mostly used for people who have some panic disorders. Panic disorders and anxiety disorders are the main forms that are treated by interoceptive exposure therapy.

  2. This technique intends to make an individual realize that the panic situation that he or she is afraid of is not so painful although it’s disturbing.

  3. Once a person is exposed to a panic disorder or anxiety situation and learns the outcomes with alert consciousness, he or she will end with a result that situations are not as painful as they used to be.

6. The implication of stress-reducing techniques

Several techniques have used that help to reduce the stress and these techniques may involve:

  1. Deep breathing
  2. Muscle relaxation
  3. Visually descriptive language

All these ways are used to reduce the stress and relax the nerves and are the main techniques for CBT.

7. Guided discovery

  1. Guided discovery is the CBT technique in which your therapist familiarizes himself with the viewpoint you have for a better understanding of your actual thought pattern.

  2. After this, the therapists start a questioning session with you to challenge the believes that you have and to modify your thought pattern, and also broaden it.

  3. If you have some kind of assumptions, the therapist can ask you to prove those assumptions or disprove them with the evidence.

  4. This kind of therapy session is very helpful in modifying the particular thought patterns and assumptions that a patient may have.

  5. When you get familiar with and adopt this CBT technique, it becomes quite easy for you to view things from other people’s perspectives.

  6. It broadens the thinking and helps a person choose a more helpful way leading to betterment.

8. Behavioral experiments

  1. A unique yet interesting technique of cognitive-behavioral therapy is behavioral experiments. This technique is mostly applied to patients who have anxiety disorders.

  2. Catastrophic thinking is the main feature of anxiety disorders and behavioral experiments deal with this kind of thinking.

  3. The process of this CBT technique is before you indulge in a task that usually brings anxiousness and distress, the therapist will ask you to predict the situation that can occur.

  4. When the task concludes, you’ll talk about either the prediction that you initially made came true or not.

  5. With time, you finally start to realize that the worst predictions that you made were not true. Patients are encouraged to start with low-anxiety tasks and move towards the high-anxiety tasks.

9. Role-playing technique

  1. Role-playing techniques in cognitive behavioral therapy help you to get rid of several behavioral problems in relatively tough circumstances.

  2. When you learn to play out various possible situations, it results in less fear and helps to lead you towards betterment in the following ways:

It helps you to improve problem-solving skills

It helps to improve the communication skills and makes the practice of social skills relatively easy for you

Helps to remain confident in various situations

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Frequently asked questions

There are several questions that people ask to satisfy their queries about cognitive therapy. Some of them have been answered in this section:

1. What is an example of cognitive therapy?

  • Cognitive therapy is a kind of talk therapy aimed at changing the distorted thought patterns of an individual to move from negativity towards positivity.

  • For example, if a person has a thought pattern that narrates “I’ll never get a permanent job” can be narrated as, “None of my previous jobs have lasted very long. If I reconsider my acts and behavior towards the jobs I will be able to get a long-lasting job.”

2. What is cognitive therapy used for?

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological treatment that doesn’t involve the use of medications and longer sessions. Most of the time, the patient goes for a self-therapy session once he learns how to do it.

  • Cognitive therapy has been used for the treatment of a wide range of problems such as phobias, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, drug abuse, marital issues, multiple eating disorders, and several mental problems.

3. What is the main focus of cognitive therapy?

  • The main focus of cognitive-behavioral therapy is to identify, understand, and then change the way of thinking, behaving, and talking of a person if it’s not normal.

  • The main role of therapists in CBT is to help the clients to understand the distorted thought patterns, triggers behind them and then controlling the outcomes of such distorted thoughts.

4. Can you do CBT on yourself?


  • CBT is a kind of psychotherapy technique that an individual can do by himself once he learns to do it by his therapist. A lot of studies support this evidence that a self-directed CBT has been very effective.

  • Self-help is the best way of understanding and then coping up with the problems and it significantly reduces anxiety and depression if CBT techniques are used and applied properly.

5. What are the benefits of Cognitive behavioral therapy?

There are a lot of benefits associated with cognitive behavioral therapy and some of them have been listed below:

  1. It helps to self-support as multiple people cope with the problems by using self-help CBT techniques

  2. It helps to raise the self-confidence and self-esteem of an individual

  3. Helps to get rid of anxiety and depressive disorders

  4. Helps getting rid of negative thought patterns building up healthy thoughts

  5. Helps in anger management

  6. Improves the skills to communicate with others

  7. Helps to visualize the aspects from other’s point of view

6. What are the four steps of cognitive reconstructing?

Cognitive restructuring means once an individual learns to identify the cognitive problem and then reconstruct or reframes it to be a better version of cognition. Some steps involved in this CBT technique are given as:

  1. Be relax and focus on the ongoing thought patterns for better recognition of the problem

  2. Try to identify the situation and then analyze your mood condition

  3. Try to recognize the thoughts that are not in your control and are quite automatic

  4. Learn to find objective supporting evidence.

7. How much does CBT cost?

  • CBT is a kind of therapy just like other physical therapies. The difference is that cognitive-behavioral therapy is psychotherapy, so if you have health insurance that covers the medical bills or other hospital expenses then the cost of psychotherapy is also covered in it.

  • But if you have no health insurance and you have to pay it on your own, it may differ for different therapists and the severity of the problem that you have.

8. How can I change my cognitive thinking?

There is an easy way to change cognitive thinking if an individual learns to identify the problem. Some methods are given as:

  1. Learn to notice the cognitive distortion and focus on one kind of distortion at one time.

  2. Try to track the precision of that specific thinking

  3. Find the evidence in support and not in support of that distorted thought pattern

  4. Tey to change it by moving from negative ones to positive ones.

9. How long is CBT training?

Cognitive therapy training Is not so long and it may last from 5 hours to 8 hours during which the patients/clients are taught the main elements and when the individual is safe to go onto the next, he or she learns to cope up with the problems.

10. Is cbt good for anxiety?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy – abbreviated as CBT - is at present the most widely used psychotherapy to treat anxiety and mood disorders.
It has been effective in treating eating disorders, several panic disorders, social anxiety disorders, several kinds of phobias, and GAD.


Cognitive therapy – which is abbreviated as CT – is a kind of talk therapy with no involvement of medications. Cognitive therapy is based on a cognitive model and according to that model, the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors all are connected.

If an individual learns to identify an unhealthy or unhelpful thought pattern, and troublesome emotional responses, then it’s possible for that individual to cope with or overcome these behavioral problems.

:white_check_mark: Some common points that are focused on all kinds of CBT techniques are given as:

  1. Identifying the main issue in someone’s routine life

  2. Identifying the distorted and unhelpful thoughts and their effect on someone’s life

  3. Understanding the negativity and then exchanging it with the positive energy for better outcomes

  4. Learning the behaviors of the people surrounding you and positively adopting them making them a part of your life.

:white_check_mark: Different strategies that are used in cognitive therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy are given as:

• Recognition of distortions in thought patterns of an individual

• Improvement in understanding the problem

• Better implementation of problem-solving skills as a part of self-help by an individual

• Betterment in the levels of self-confidence and self-esteem of an individual

• Learning to face the problems such as several phobias or anxiety issues in certain conditions

• The implication of the role-playing techniques for overcoming the cognitive issues

• Learning to stay calm by using several techniques such as deep breathing and muscle relaxing.