Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) includes many types of psychotherapy that blend behavioral psychology and cognitive psychology principles. Behavioral psychology typically sees behavior change as a function of reinforcement either by expectation of rewards or punishment. The key word is expectation, a mental process. How people form their expectations is the focus of cognitive psychology. Expectations are a complicated mix of feelings, past experience, motivations, social context, hopes, etc. Therefore, CBT explores all of these thoughts (cognitions), feeling memories, etc, and uses cognitive and behavioral psychology techniques to reinforce the adaptive shifts that would increase the chances for making important changes.

Another facet of CBT is the use of homework, that is, clients are often asked to practice a skill, keep records of events, ratings of feelings, use of a strategy, etc., outside of the session. The record gives the therapist a running account that often gives clues to a client’s unique problems to adjust the strategies. In this way the therapist and the client form a partnership for understanding the problem finding solutions in real world situations.

CBT is often cited in evidenced based therapy research studies as equivalent to or more helpful than medications for treatment of depression, anxiety, addictions, trauma, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. CBT also has shown to have lasting effects beyond the initial treatment period.

Finally, CBT uses many types of therapies such as: Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), Cognitive Therapy (CT), Behavioral Medicine, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Behavioral Activation, and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). Each of these was developed for specific populations or disorders. The variety of approaches is not surprising because CBT is evolving rapidly as new neuroimaging studies reveal the brain processing and structural changes that come with these therapies.

We at Deer Creek strongly suggest that you talk with any prospective therapist about your concerns and questions about psychotherapy or psychological testing. We believe that therapy or testing should fit the client’s needs and not the other way around.