Behavioral therapy is a type of treatment that focuses on an individual’s feelings and thought processes with the purpose of treating various psychological problems. One of the forms of behavioral therapy is cognitive-behavior therapy, which combines the practices of behavioral and cognitive theories. The strategies used in cognitive-behavior therapy can be helpful in the treatment of many psychological problems.
According to Wright, Brown, Thase, and Basco (2017), the main points of cognitive-behavior therapy are that one’s emotions and behaviors are shaped by one’s cognition and that thought patterns can develop because of particular actions. The authors also explore the notions of automatic thoughts and schemas. The analysis of automatic thoughts, which constantly occur in an individual’s mind in relation to present events, can help in the treatment of anxiety and depression. For example, if a patient with anxiety is thinking about a recent negative experience, his or her automatic thoughts will display a pattern of gradually amplifying the severity of the situation and equating one negative experience to other serious instances. In that case, the primary goal of therapy will be to investigate the reasoning of the patient and mitigate possible cognitive errors found in the thought process. Behavioral therapists achieve this with exercises that encourage patients to analyze and change their thought patterns.
The implementation of special tactics to make a patient more aware of his or her thought processes is a valuable practice that can be used in therapy treatment. The modification of automatic thoughts can significantly impact the overall mental state of a patient. Behavioral therapy in this form can be used to treat a number of issues, such as chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and different eating disorders.
Wright, J. H., Brown, G. K., Thase, M. E., & Basco, M. R. (2017). Learning cognitive-behavior therapy: An illustrated guide. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Pub.