Classification and types of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies

Jonah Lester
Classification and types of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies

Cognitive Behavioral Therapies are based on the way of thinking (cognitive) and / or the way they behave (behavioral). These therapies recognize that it is possible to change or recondition our thoughts or behavior to overcome specific problems..

Here are the main types of therapy that are included in this line of psychological treatment:


  • Behavioral Therapy
  • Cognitive Therapy
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (RETT)

Behavioral Therapy

As the name suggests, Behavioral Therapy focuses on human behavior and looks to eradicate unwanted behavior or maladaptation. Typically this type of therapy is used for people with behavioral problems or mental health problems that involve unwanted behavior. Examples of this include addictions, anxiety, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Behavioral Therapy is an action-based treatment that aims to promote positive behavior change. Other therapies like psychoanalytic therapy tend to be more focused on knowledge and delve into the past. In behavioral therapy, the past is still important as it often reveals where and when the unwanted behavior arose, however it focuses more on current behavior and the ways it can be rectified.


Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive Therapy deals with thoughts and perceptions, and how these can affect feelings and behavior. By reassessing negative thoughts an individual can learn more flexible and positive ways of thinking, which can ultimately affect their feelings and behavior towards those thoughts.

The origin of the approach lies in restructuring therapy, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (RBT), which was developed by Albert Ellis in 1955. The basic principles behind cognitive therapy however lie behind the work of the American psychiatrist, Aaron Beck . Beck identified that what led his clients to suffer in the most part were negative thoughts and unrealistic beliefs.


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) combines Cognitive Therapy and Behavioral Therapies. The approach focuses on thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and actions, and teaches clients how each can have an effect on the other. CBT is useful for treating many disorders, including depression, anxiety, and phobias.

The premise behind CBT is that both our thoughts and our behaviors have an effect on ourselves and others as well. Therapy examines learned behaviors and negative thought patterns to transform them into positive ones.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (or ACT) is a form of behavior analysis that uses acceptance and thinking strategies to help increase psychological flexibility. While therapy is not considered a long-term treatment, it is considered useful in treating depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders..

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy involves a series of practical exercises to bring out the power and importance of emotional, cognitive and behavioral processes. Its aim is to help people change their relationship with the negative thoughts and feelings they are having about their lives and in some cases they are greatly affecting their health and well-being..


Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (RETT)

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy is a form of therapeutic psychology that emerges from behaviorism. It is about using reason and rationality to recognize self-destructive cognitive processes and learn to tune in to a more appropriate emotion. Indeed, the idea is that subconscious destructive thoughts are consciously recognized and then exchanged for more constructive thoughts..


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