Common Cognitive Treatments and Therapy

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Assessing the Cognitive Model in Psychology: Strengths and Weaknesses

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:06 Abnormality
  • 1:27 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • 3:19 Six Stages of CBT
  • 5:59 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

How do you treat someone who thinks or acts in a negative way? In this lesson, we'll look at what cognitive behavioral therapy is and the six phases in CBT.

Abnormality

Jenny is a compulsive eater. Whenever she's upset or tired or bored, she eats large quantities of food. Cake, candy, pasta, pizza - if it's available, Jenny will eat it! It makes her feel better and fills her up with positive emotions.

Georgie, meanwhile, has a different problem. She loves her boyfriend very much, and they are generally happy. But Georgie worries that he might one day decide to leave her. She thinks about this all the time, and it's starting to take over her life. Last month, she stopped taking her birth control because she knows that if she gets pregnant, he'll marry her. She knows it's wrong, but she can't seem to make herself do the right thing.

Both Jenny and Georgie have psychological problems. Abnormal psychology is the study of abnormal thoughts, behaviors, or feelings. There are many ways to look at abnormal psychology, and not all psychologists agree on the best way to treat psychological patients. While one psychologist might believe that problems spring from biological processes and should be treated with medication, another might claim that trauma in childhood is the issue and encourage patients to talk about their childhood problems. Let's look closer at one type of psychological treatment: cognitive behavioral therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Georgie is not taking her birth control. She hopes that she'll get pregnant and that her boyfriend will marry her. A large part of Georgie's problem is her irrational fear that her boyfriend will leave her. Thoughts about that happening haunt Georgie day in and day out.

Cognition is just a fancy word for thought processes. When someone like Georgie has maladaptive thoughts, it can affect their feelings and behaviors. Despite not having any evidence that he will, Georgie thinks that her boyfriend will one day leave her. This makes her feel scared, and in turn, it makes her try to trap him with pregnancy.

One way to deal with faulty thinking is through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT for short. CBT focuses on changing the thoughts and behaviors of the patients. Unlike some other approaches to psychology, CBT isn't very interested in the situation that caused the thoughts. Instead, it is interested in how to change a person's reaction to the situation.

For example, Georgie's boyfriend hasn't given any indication that he's going to leave her, but that's what she believes will happen. A cognitive behavioral therapist will work with Georgie to see that her thoughts are irrational and that she has no proof that her boyfriend will ever leave her.

Remember Jenny? She overeats. She's tried diet pills and drinking lots of water and has even seen a hypnotist, but nothing works. She's obsessed with food and can't stop thinking about it. And when she does break her diet and eats something bad for her, she thinks, 'Well, I blew my diet on that burger. I might as well get the fries and milkshake, too.' Jenny's thoughts about food are making her overeat. If her therapist can get her to change the way she thinks about food, then she might be able to change her eating habits as well.

Six Stages of CBT

Let's say that you're a psychologist treating Georgie and Jenny. You need each of them to change the way they think and, therefore, the way they feel and act. But how do you change someone's thought patterns? It's not easy to change how people think, but it can be done. Most psychologists use a six-step approach to CBT. The six stages are:

1. Assessment

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support