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What is the Difference Between Behavior and Cognitive Psychology?
Principles from the behavior school of psychology and from the cognitive school of psychology were used to develop different forms of psychotherapy that were separate, but compatible. Behavioral psychology concentrates on using observable factors to change observable behavior, whereas cognitive psychology focuses on an individual’s attitudes, perceptions, and belief system as the driving force behind behavior. Behavioral therapy concentrated on the principles of behavioral psychology, whereas cognitive therapy concentrated on the principles of cognitive psychology as mechanisms to induce change in people.
Even though the roots of psychotherapy go back far beyond Sigmund Freud, most sources acknowledge Freud as the founding father of modern psychotherapy, as he was the first person to use a sort of “talking cure” to treat known mental health disorders. Freud’s ideas were first met with enthusiasm; however, over time, they began to lose popularity with certain individuals, especially individuals who were driven to use experimental methods to validate psychological principles. The marriage of experimental psychology and psychotherapy resulted in the merging of the psychological schools of behavioral psychology and cognitive psychology, both of which were very different from traditional Freudian notions of how behavior was expressed and the role of the mind and behavior.
As mentioned above, these two separate paradigms are very compatible with one another. Clinicians eventually merged the principles of cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy/psychology to form a broad school of psychotherapy that is termed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This article will discuss the basic principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for depression and for the treatment of substance use disorders; however, the information in this article is designed to be used for educational purposes. Only trained, licensed, therapists can apply the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a family of different psychotherapies that operate on the same basic general principles. There is no one form of CBT. The major principle embraced by CBT is that people develop irrational belief systems that result in a number of different issues, including the development of certain types of psychological disorders. The core mechanism of change for any form of CBT is to identify the specific irrational beliefs of the individual, work with the individual to challenge these deep-rooted beliefs, and then work with the individual to change these beliefs in a manner that will foster a positive outcome for the person.
As mentioned above, CBT consists of a number of different types of therapy based on these underlying principles. Some of the more well-known forms of CBT include:
As mentioned above, the primary principle of CBT is that individuals develop irrational and dysfunctional patterns of thinking that lead to irrational and dysfunctional behaviors. The core idea of any form of CBT is to address this irrational belief system in such a manner that it is identified, confronted, and changed. Then, the individual can change their behavior accordingly. CBT uses a number of different techniques from cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy.
While the core principles of CBT are rather easy to state in a simplistic manner, this should not be taken to infer that CBT is an easy therapy to learn and use. There are number of misconceptions that individuals have regarding CBT. The first one is that CBT is simple and straightforward to perform; however, it takes years of training to be able to understand the intricacies of the principles of CBT and to be able to implement them in an efficient manner to individuals who are in distress. Second, many individuals believe that CBT ignores the past history of the client. Nothing could be further from the truth. CBT uses the past to reconstruct the development of the person’s irrational belief system and to help understand it. A final misconception regarding CBT is that it is a simple collection of techniques and not a unified therapy. However, as mentioned above, there are different schools or types of CBT that are designed to be used in specific types of situations or for specific types of disorders. CBT is a family of psychotherapies all operating on certain general principles that are applied differently depending on the situation.
However, the first core principle, addressing irrational beliefs, typically focuses on irrational beliefs that occur regarding:
The different methods of CBT typically follow a structured approach that distinguishes CBT from other types of psychotherapy. A basic outline of the approach follows:
CBT is one of the most researched forms of psychotherapy, and there are numerous empirical studies that have demonstrated its treatment effectiveness for a number of different types of issues, including depression, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, personality disorders, and many other issues. CBT is often mentioned as the preferred form of psychotherapy for certain types of psychiatric and psychological disorders, including major depressive disorder, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma and stress-related disorders, substance use disorders, and a host of other disorders and issues.
Nonetheless, CBT is not a cure-all, and there are certain types of issues that CBT is not designed to address, including individuals who are actively psychotic (e.g., having hallucinations and delusions) or people who have a significant cognitive limitations that affect their ability to reflect and use problem-solving techniques. In addition, no form of psychotherapy will be embraced by everyone or can be applied under every circumstance. Research studies demonstrating the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic techniques, such as the various forms of CBT, basically indicate that these interventions are generally effective for most individuals; however, there is no research study that guarantees that any form of psychotherapy will be effective for any individual in particular or will address any particular situation in an adequate manner. However, as far as the different forms of psychotherapy are concerned, the different types of CBT are generally considered to have the best empirical support for their use in a number of different situations.