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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Definition Essay

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Updated: Oct 11th, 2021


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (also known as cognitive behavior therapy, CBT) is defined as a psychotherapeutic model designed to influence problematic as well as dysfunctional emotions, behaviors as well as cognition through a goal-focused systematic process. CBT has often used an inclusive term of reference to other forms of psychological therapy that derive from the theoretical framework from the behavioristic learning model as well as cognitive psychology. The term is also used to refer to all methods and approaches of transformation that are based on the theories outlined above.

Wetterling T et al (2000) note that CBT therapies have more emphasis on largely cognitive solutions while some of them are rather typically more behavioral. In the application of cognitive-oriented therapies the aim is to establish and monitor mind processes, the thoughts, as well examine and monitor the subjects’ assumptions and beliefs and behaviors associated with unhealthy negative emotions. The process entails the establishment of thoughts and behaviors which are dysfunctional and also meaningful. The salient objective in the application of these processes is to replace to transcend with identified deformities.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is said to be concise and straightforward in comparison to other models and approaches in social work. The theory entails the exploration of an established relationship between cognition, emotion, and behavior. Tomlinson et al (996) note that the theory is an assortment of short-term ensembles of psychotherapy. The theory is hailed for its cross-cultural applicability.

CBT focuses on modifying Cognitive distortions. Salient aspects and focus of CBT include dichotomous thinking, mind reading, emotional responses, personalization, and perfectionism. Common CBT interventions entail the focus on the recognition of automatic thoughts, assessment, and response variables. The key techniques of the model entail relaxation, breathing deeply, and meditating as well as the employ of verbal self-instruction among a host of other techniques

Judith, J Beck (1995) has outlined the following as the useful treatment principles.

  • Cognitive treatment based on an evolving formulation of the client situation and client problem in cognitive terms
  • The focus on the relationship between cognitive treatment and the therapeutic relationship
  • Problem-focus as well decisive orientation on goals


In practice, the CBT model has been applied in scenarios demanding a turnaround or total overhaul of a subject’s problem attributes. The model application entails framing up a solution to a client’s attitudinal or any other rated problems from the way the person thinks. This is attributable to the fact that the model holds that our feelings and actions culminate from the way we think. The logic following from that premise is that anything wrong about a person’s conduct is based on their wrong way of thinking. As such the model holds that if the way of thinking of the subjects can change their behaviors will be turned around for the better as well.

In the application, the model sidelines the impact of external factors that constitute a clients’ environment. The application of the model downplays the effects of eternal factors like people, situations as well as events on the behavioral patterns of an individual. The merits of this approach are based on that the change of the way we think can yield a better attitude and approach to issues even the actual problem scenario has not really changed.

Case Study

In a case scenario that featured a developing drug addict, the social worker established strong links between the conduct of the subjects and the social dynamics of the subject. The subject is a despondent worker in a relief work organization. The subject has harbored a strong desire to pursue a career in law and she has been bullied by the job market to settle for anything that will enable her to sustain herself and her family. The disillusionments have escalated to critical levels for the client. What is notable is the thrust adopted by the social in applying some merits of the CBT model in addressing the subject’s dilemmas. The social worker was able to initiate a paradigmatic shift in the way the subject has been thinking about her predicament. The social worker was able to make the subject approach her job with a perspective of drawing fulfillment from being able to take part in activities of saving people’s lives. The thrust of the success in approach is based on that the healing process was able to make the subject sensitive to her privileges drawing hope from dire situations faced and salvaged in relief work experiences. It can be noted in the case scenario that the merits of changing a person’s way of thinking, even if the situation of the subject has not really changed, become a feasible point of confluence between theory and practice. Overly more researches are needed to come up with the best points of confluence between theory and practice to ensure that there is a body of knowledge of how to handle alcohol and drug abuse which will suffice for all culture and age groups.


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