Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy...
CBT acknowledges that behaviours may exist that cannot be controlled through rational thought, but rather emerge based upon prior conditioning from the environment and other internal and external stimuli. CBT is "problem focused" (undertaken for specific problems) and "action oriented", where the therapist assists the client in selecting specific strategies to help address the underlying problem. It is different from the more traditional psychoanalytical approach, where therapists look for an unconscious meaning behind the behaviours and then diagnose the client. Instead, CBT practitioners believe that disorders (such as depression) involve the relationship between a feared stimulus and an avoidance response, resulting in a conditioned response.
Mainstream CBT suggests that altering maladaptive thinking (or the client’s relationship to such maladaptive thinking) leads to a change in affect and behaviour. The overriding goal of CBT is not to diagnose a person with a single particular disorder or issue, but to analyse the person as a whole and decide what needs to be addressed.
The basic steps in a CBT assessment include...
Identification of critical behaviours
Determining whether critical behaviours are excesses or deficits
Evaluating critical behaviours for frequency, duration, & intensity
If excess, decrease frequency, duration, or intensity of behaviours
If deficits, attempt to increase behaviours