The History of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The History of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

In the 1960’s, a psychiatrist by the name of Aaron Beck made an interesting observation. While he worked with his clients, in session, talking about their issues, he realized that his clients were also having an internal dialogue at the same time, only a part of which they reported to him.

This internal dialogue, Beck realized, had a noticeable impact on the client’s feelings and perceptions at the time. If, for example, the client was thinking, “This therapist reminds me of my stepfather,” the client might react to the therapist in a different way.

Or, if the client was thinking, “I’ll never get better. This will never work,” the therapist may meet with resistance from a formerly cooperative client, or see evidence of despondence and apathy in the client’s mood and behaviors.

Realizing the importance of what he had discovered, Beck began working to uncover these “automatic thoughts,” as he called them. The more he investigated, the more he realized that there were recurring themes or categories of these negative thoughts which, if identified, could be corrected.

From this discovery, Beck developed cognitive therapy, using both psychotherapy and behavioral techniques to overcome negative thinking. Later, because of the use of behavioral techniques, Beck’s therapeutic modality was renamed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Today, CBT is the most empirically validated and wide-ranging therapeutic method available.

CBT is effective for a variety of mental health conditions, most notably anxiety and depression. With anxiety and depression, whether there is a biological component or not, it takes negative thinking to perpetuate the condition. So, CBT is very effective. It also works well for substance abuse counseling, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even some personality disorders.

It is an important part of our treatment program. Call today for more information 1-877-593-6777.

One Comment

  1. wow, this is great information!!! Thank you for writing this :)

    Ann Twomey / 01 Sep 2011 / 11:04 pm / Reply

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