Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy




Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Selecting counseling theory

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a psychotherapy treatment that is short term and follows steps towards a certain goal. This goal-oriented therapy uses a hands-on or practical approach to alter how a patient thinks or behaves. It is a short-term method where the client preferably attends weekly sessions for a number of months to learn strategies and tools they will apply independently.

Goals for Therapy

The most important goal is to change the thinking patterns of the patient or behavior that cause them certain difficulties. Because each therapy is customized for each client and their needs, the goals are unique in each session depending on the circumstance of the client (Craske, 2014). The ultimate goal of these sessional objectives is to guide the clients into rethinking their own perceptions and thought patterns, enabling them to get ahold of their behavior by detaching what others do from their interpretations of the world.

On a personal level, the goals of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may be things like being able to interact comfortably with people, conversing comfortably with friends and strangers, enjoying socializing, being able to form friendships or getting intimate, speaking in public. It also helps an individual to be assertive, overcome depression, performance anxieties, or trauma. However, the exact goals of this type of therapy are customized to the needs of each client.

In summary, cognitive behavioral therapy promotes and individual self-awareness and emotional intelligence by helping them learn to understand or “read” their emotions and differentiate between unhealthy and healthy thoughts. This type of therapy allows clients to comprehend how distorted contemplations and perceptions result in painful feelings. The other goal is to reduce the symptoms as fast as possible by emphasizing on examining the current situation the client is in and dealing with the current issues. The therapy also works towards equipping clients with techniques to pinpoint and deal with distorted thoughts. The last goal is to prevent emotional distress in the future and encourage the personal growth of clients to alter their core beliefs associated with their suffering.

Role of Therapist

The role of the therapist is to listen and to teach the client while encouraging them to express their feelings and concerns, to learn, and to put that learning into practice (Hofmann, 2012). In essence, CBT therapists do not dictate what clients should do but rather identify the strengths of these clients and use them to help them learn how to do. This emphasis on education leads to long term results. When people understand why and how they are doing well, they have the incentive to continue on the same path. The therapists believe that the negative impact on one’s life comes from the way an individual perceives and responds to the situation as opposed to the negative effects coming from the situation or circumstance itself.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy differentiates itself from other types of therapies by how the therapeutic sessions are structured. This type of therapy put great emphasis on structure. A standard session is guided by this protocol;

The client and therapist identify particular problems they will deal with for the week.

The client and therapist start with planning strategies for how to approach the identified problems.

They then revisit the client’s homework from the previous week together and discuss progress made.

The client is then assigned new homework for the coming week based on the progress they made and the newly identified goals.

A standard session is 50 minutes, which is somewhat limited. For this reason, sessions are tuned into forums for revisiting ideas and monitoring progress (Zettle & Hayes, 2015). Homework is very important to the success of this type of therapy, and it’s the duty of the client to ensure they complete these tasks and keep up with what is expected of them and honor agreements between them and their therapists. This homework usually includes behavioral learning strategies, worksheets, and experiments.

Expectations of the Client

The role of the client is to express themselves and their concerns, to learn, and to apply that learning in their actions. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a partnership where both the client and the therapist make meaningful contributions. However, some experts believe that CBT does not pay attention to therapeutic relationships as a means of effecting change (Easterbrook, & Meehan, 2017). The client is also expected to be reactive during sessions and participate actively.


Craske, M. G. (2014). Cognitive-behavioral therapy. American Psychological Association.

Easterbrook, C. J., & Meehan, T. (2017). The therapeutic relationship and cognitive behavioural therapy: A case study of an adolescent girl with depression.

Hofmann, S. G., Asnaani, A., Vonk, I. J., Sawyer, A. T., & Fang, A. (2012). The efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Cognitive therapy and research, 36(5), 427-440.

Zettle, R. D., & Hayes, S. C. (2015). Rule-governed behavior: A potential theoretical framework for cognitive-behavioral therapy. In The Act in Context (pp. 33-63). Routledge.