Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy (CBT) refers to a group of treatment methods of psychiatric disorders (including addictions, psychoses, depression, and anxiety disorders) that share a therapeutic approach based on the techniques developed by experimental psychology. It must comply with relatively standardized protocols. It often evaluates the patient’s progress during therapy. It supports the process of evidence-based medicine.
CBT have the particularity to address the difficulties of the patient in the “here and now” terms through practical exercises focused on the symptoms observable through the behavior and the support by the therapist, who aims to intervene in the mental processes also known as cognitive processes, conscious or not, considered as the source of emotions and their disorders. CBT is particularly helpful for anxiety disorders (including phobias) and addictions.
For anxiety disorders, behavioral therapy works through gradual subjecting to the anxiety -provoking situations. For example, in the case of arachnophobia, the subject is asked to rank the different situations where he may face spiders on a scale of 0 to 100. Then he is gradually subjected to such situations, starting with the less intensive. For example, the patient must first imagine a spider, then observe images of spiders, touch a jar where there is a spider, and finally touch the spider. At the same time, he learns to control the physiological manifestations of fear with relaxation exercises. Cognitive therapy is about the thoughts of the patient with cognitive distortion (e.g., excessive fear of being contaminated by a disease can be fought with information on the disease in question and the assessment of the actual risk).
In the history of clinical psychology, movements known as behavioral (seeking first to affect the behavior) and cognitive (seeking to intervene in the beliefs, representations, and their construction process) appeared alongside in the mid-twentieth century, sometimes competing with each other. Since the 1980s, this cleavage historic between behaviorism and cognitivism tends to disappear in the therapeutic practice. Psychotherapists trained in these techniques combine behavioral and cognitive approaches to the same treatment plan in order to improve efficiency.
Several authors show the filiation between the Stoic philosopher ideas and assumptions of the cognitive approach. Indeed, Epictetus teaches, in his Manual, “what troubles men are not things, but the representations they make.” This saying is founder of the cognitive psychological approach to helping relationships: cognitive therapy, cognitive coaching, etc. (see Stoicism, Stoic psychology).
Cognitive therapies, particularly following the work of Beck, appeared as a necessary complement to the pure behavioral approach focusing on the importance of the preconscious thought patterns in humans and how dysfunctional patterns can generate and / or maintain various mental disorders.
Cognitive therapy does not differ in its methodology from behavioral therapy pandering to the effectiveness and statistical evaluation.
Free example research paper topics on CBT may indicate that successes in the treatment of depression by cognitive techniques have raised hopes that other diseases could benefit from this type of approach and in the 2010s several researchers worked to apply this approach in a larger medical record including mood disorders, anxiety states, personality disorders, and psychoses. Evidence of efficacy in these indications are more difficult to obtain now.
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