What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

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Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is a combination of cognitive therapies and behavioral therapies, which work together to reverse negative thinking through verbal techniques and "behavioral modifications" (Weiten, 2005). The idea behind CBT is that negative thoughts like blaming, focusing too much on negative events, pessimism, and downplaying oneself, leads to "increased vulnerability and depression (Weiten, 2005). Mainly, the core beliefs a person has about themselves and their future are negative, and CBT aims to change those core beliefs, which, in theory, would bring about a more positive outlook and teach a person to reverse negative thoughts. One of the most important things to remember about CBT is how it differs from psychoanalysis, "[Instead of] draw from elaborate theory about human personality. Rather, CBT is a practical approach oriented to changing behavior rather than trying to understand that dynamics of personality." (Oltmanns & Emery, 2010). There are several techniques than can be applied to a number of people suffering from a variety of psychological disorders. The key to applying CBT in practice is to understand which technique is appropriate for the client. For clients with fears, for example, arachnophobia, systematic desensitization could be used, along with other aversion therapies to get clients to a place where they no longer fear spiders. These types of therapies introduce the fear (in this a spider), while the client practices remaining
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