Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

One of the most popular therapy systems in the world, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has helped tens of millions of people around the world change their lives.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

One of the most popular therapy systems in the world, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has helped tens of millions of people around the world change their lives.

CBT was developed in the 1950’s and 1960’s and generally credited to both Dr. Albert Ellis and Dr. Aaron Beck. It was a revolutionary concept for therapy that challenged more popular theories at the time such as psychodynamic psychoanalysis popularized by titans of the field Dr. Albert Adler, Dr. Carl Jung, and Dr. Sigmund Freud. Instead of focusing primarily on your childhood and your relationship with your parents, Cognitive Therapy simply focuses on what you’re thinking right now.

Our thoughts determine our feelings which form the behaviors that shape our lives. It’s as simple as that. Instead of spending weeks or even years exploring ancient history and creating speculative theories about why someone may feel a particular way, cognitive therapists started immediately working with what is happening today.

How are our thoughts shaping our lives at this very moment, and how can we change them for the better?

Born from a foundation of behavioral theory, CBT fundamentally believed that we can change how our minds work overtime through shaping behaviors, critical interventions, and of course repetition. Through understanding how our thoughts are created, we can change and shape them using new tools, strategies, and skills.

The theory behind CBT is that our thoughts are a result of years of shaping through how we understand, explain, and interpret our lives in our own minds. Through dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of experiences, we form central belief systems that frame the way that we explain past life events to ourselves and what we believe the future may hold. Our core beliefs shape whether we view the world as a place of possibility and exciting adventure or a dark and scary experience that we are simply trying to survive.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, CBT became massively popular due to the overwhelming amount of clinical research proving its effectiveness.

Compared to its peers from the 1960’s and 1970s’ like psychodynamic psychotherapy, solution-focused therapy, and client-centered therapy, researchers found an overwhelming amount of evidence that CBT was the most effective therapy system for treating most common diagnoses by most clinicians and CBT resolved client issues more often than other therapies.

Compared to more abstract or subjective therapy systems, CBT relied on the scientific method and a standardized approach that was meant to be replicated by any clinician. CBT’s reliable and largely replicable results made it one of the first therapies to be considered “Evidence Based Practice.” Evidence Based Practice refers to the idea that mental health professionals use techniques and methods that have been proven to be effective by clinical research and scientific evidence.

Since its inception in the 1950’s, CBT has seen regular updates and changes through the years incorporating new treatment methodologies, theoretical refinements, and new techniques and skills.

Many of the newest and most popular therapy systems in the 21st century were born from CBT’s original framework and ideas reimagining them in both large and small ways. For instance, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a large reorganization of CBT’s fundamental theories and ideas within a cognitive restructuring model relying on skills acquisition to produce change over the long term. However, even DBT’s inventor, Dr. Marsha Linehan, admits that about half of the DBT system comes directly from CBT. Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) makes a more subtle shift to update some of the core concepts of CBT as well as infusing the system with the revolutionary and evidence based concepts of mindfulness practice.

Both DBT and MBCT share the “DNA” of CBT, but each system has evolved and shifted the ideas and methods of CBT in different ways and to different degrees in recent history.

How GearingUp Approaches CBT

GearingUp’s entire clinical team have extensive training and experience with CBT in clinical settings, and Dr. Sylvia Gearing and Dr. Milt Gearing have both completed numerous advanced trainings in CBT including in-person training with Dr. Aaron Beck’s daughter, Dr. Judith Beck.

While GearingUp does offer CBT therapy in particular cases, we more often recommend working with one of the more up-to-date therapy systems that CBT inspired such as Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), or others depending on each client’s needs. These systems have updated CBT with cutting edge treatment methods, the latest in psychological research, and newest scientific developments .

If you are ready to get started and take the first step with cognitive therapy, please contact us (hyperlink) today by calling our office, filling out a contact form, or through the chat window on this page. Our staff will follow up with you as soon as possible to schedule your first appointment.