Behavior Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties, and so change the way they feel. It is used to help treat a wide range of issues in a person’s life, from sleeping difficulties or relationship problems, to drug and alcohol abuse, or anxiety and depression. CBT works by changing people’s attitudes and their behavior by focusing on the thoughts, images, beliefs, and attitudes that are held (a person’s cognitive processes) and how these processes relate to the way a person behaves, as a way of dealing with emotional problems. CBT can be thought of as a combination of psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. Psychotherapy emphasizes the importance of the personal meaning we place on things and how thinking patterns begin in childhood. Behavioral therapy pays close attention to the relationship between our problems, our behaviors, and our thoughts. Most psychotherapists who practice CBT personalize and customize the therapy to the specific needs and personality of each patient.1

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is heavily based on CBT with one big exception: it emphasizes validation, or accepting uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and behaviors instead of struggling with them. By having an individual come to terms with the troubling thoughts, emotions, or behaviors they struggle with, change no longer appears impossible and they can work with their therapist to create a gradual plan for recovery. The therapist’s role in DBT is to help the person find a balance between acceptance and change. They also help the person develop new skills, like coping methods and mindfulness practices, so that the person has the power to improve unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. Similar to CBT, individuals undergoing DBT are usually instructed to practice these new methods of thinking and behaving as homework between sessions. Improving coping strategies is an essential aspect of successful DBT treatment.2

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is also based on CBT and traditional behavior therapy. According to Psychology Today, by using ACT, clients will “learn to stop avoiding, denying, and struggling with their inner emotions and, instead, accept that these deeper feelings are appropriate responses to certain situations that should not prevent them from moving forward in their lives.” ACT teaches that it is ineffective to try to control difficult or painful emotions because suppressing feelings like this typically leads to more distress. This method of therapy trains clients to change their way of thinking by using mindful behavior, attention to personal values, and commitment to action. Using ACT, clients can start to accept their problems and commit to making the changes necessary to recover and move forward in their lives. ACT can be used to treat a variety or issues, including stress, anxiety, depression, OCD, and more.3

Sources

  1. http://psychcentral.com/lib/in-depth-cognitive-behavioral-therapy/
  2. http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Treatment/Psychotherapy
  3. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/acceptance-and-commitment-therapy
  4. CBT image: http://healanxiety.net/five-effective-talking-therapies-for-anxiety/
  5. DBT image: http://www.ibpf.org/blog/dbt-and-me

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