To Top

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Through a number of explicit systematic and goal-oriented procedures, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy address maladaptive behaviors, dysfunctional emotions, cognitive processes and contents. It is a type of psychotherapeutic approach. In this article we will be looking at the history, the use, the effectiveness and the criticism of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.


The roots of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy go back to the Stoics. The modern roots can be traced back to the early 20th century to the creation of Behavior Therapy. As well as the creation of Cognitive Therapy in the 1960s. It was the behaviorists such as Clark L. Hull, John B.

Watson and Ivan Pavlov that would make behavioral therapy so widely used during the 1950s to the 1970s, in South Africa the United Kingdom and in the United States. It was a response to psychoanalysis which was said to have removed the neurosis by removing the symptoms.

In the beginning behavioral therapy was good at treating neurotic disorders but was not doing well at treating depression. Many behaviorists would be won over by cognitive therapy despite their general dislike of “mentalistic” concepts like cognitions and thoughts. Originally cognitive and behavioral therapies were used side-by-side to see which worked better. It was soon determined, quite accidentally, that they worked well together. This is how they would join to make Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is used to treat older adults, chronic fatigue syndrome, schizophrenia, psychosis, mood disorders and anxiety disorders. Certain issues arise while using CBT on older adults. The issues are around the different values they hold from growing up in different generations. This is known as the Cohort Effect. An older person may have an established role of who he or she thinks is. This is called Established role and can also block the success of CBT. If the elderly individual has a negative idea of aging this may make it hard to work past it in therapy. And finally, processing speed slows down quite a bit which can also make using CBT burdensome. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been proven to help chronic fatigue syndrome.

Woman crying during group therapy session

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is also used for treating clinical depression. Negative thinking patterns that the individual developed as a child due to stressful life events carry on into their adult lives. CBT helps them to think optimistically. CBT has also been shown to work on schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. CBT has been shown to work on all anxiety disorders. The in vivo technique was developed by Cognitive Behavioral Therapists. It is when the individual is exposed to whatever it is they fear.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the most widely used therapies today. As mentioned earlier it has been proven to successfully treat anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, eating disorders, depression, schizophrenia, lower chronic back pain, and bi-polar, to name just a few.


One of the main criticisms of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is that it has become so popular and widely used that there are some people using it to treat clients who do not have the proper qualifications to do so. It is important that only those who have proper training and an adequate understanding of CBT be allowed to use it to treat their patients.

More in Addiction

  • Self Help

    Self help is a self-guided form of treatment. It has existed for a long time. It is the belief that individuals...

  • Pharmacotherapies

    Pharmacotherapy is the treatment of an illness, pathology or substance addiction with the use of drugs. In this article we will...

  • Harm Reduction

    Harm reduction is a controversial range of public health policies aimed at lowering the risk of risky behaviours. In this article...

  • 12-Step Programs

    The very first twelve-step program was Alcoholics Anonymous. It started in the early 20th century by Dr. Robert Smith and Bill...