Cognitive Therapy (CT)
Cognitive Therapy is a form of CBT which focuses on altering unhelpful thinking patterns in order to change behaviour and emotion.
Cognitive Therapy has its origins in the work of people like psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck and psychologist Albert Ellis. Cognitive Therapy assumes that emotional and psychological problems are due to irrational thinking patterns which are triggered as a result of underlying “core beliefs” that develop during childhood.
Cognitive Therapy aims to teach people the skills to recognise the irrational thoughts that lie beneath their negative emotions such as depression or anxiety. It also teaches them to recognises the “errors” in their thinking patterns and equips them with a range of techniques to shift these thoughts, thereby altering how they feel and act.
While cognitive therapy has historically been most dominant in the treatment of depression, in recent years cognitive theories and treatment approaches for conditions like anxiety disorders have emerged which appear to rival tradition behavioural and cognitive behavioural treatment approaches.
For example, although effective treatment studies on therapy for conditions such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have historically been dominated by behavioural and cognitive behavioural approaches, recent studies have found impressive outcomes for treatment of these disorders with more pure cognitive therapies.
Nonetheless, it should be stated that virtually all cognitive therapies include components that could be regarded as “behavioural”.