Dr Beck and the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

 

I sadly heard that Dr Aaron Beck, the father of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), died, aged 100, on the 2nd of November, 2021.

Beck’s work revolutionised the diagnosis and treatment of depression and other psychological disorders and continues to have a resounding influence.

Beck discovered that patients who learn to recognise the faulty logic of their negative automatic thoughts – such as, “I’ll always be a failure” or “no one likes me” – could learn to overcome their fears and think more rationally, which diminished their anxiety and improved their mood (The Guardian 2021). Moreover, he found that results endured long after therapy was finished, as patients learned to confront those thoughts independently.

Cognitive therapy sessions follow a strict format, including setting goals for the session and homework assignments. Besides depression, it has been used to treat bulimia, panic attacks, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and drug abuse.

What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)?

CBT is a talking therapy commonly used to treat anxiety and depression by changing how you think, feel, and behave.

CBT is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected. Therefore, they can trap you in a vicious cycle when you experience negative emotions or have negative thoughts.

CBT helps you to break your issues down into smaller parts. Then you learn to recognise your negative patterns and realise how they affect your behaviour.

It is goal-oriented and focuses on the present and the future rather than your past. As a result, it can help you cope better with your symptoms.

What happens during CBT sessions

You’ll usually have a session with a therapist once a week or once every 2 weeks for 5 to 20 sessions.

During the sessions, you’ll work with your therapist to break down your problems into their separate parts, such as your thoughts, physical feelings and actions.

You and your therapist will analyse these areas to work out if they’re unrealistic or unhelpful and determine their effect on each other and you.

What happens during CBT sessions

You’ll usually have a session with a therapist once a week or once every 2 weeks for 5 to 20 sessions.

During the sessions, you’ll work with your therapist to break down your problems into their separate parts, such as your thoughts, physical feelings and actions.

You and your therapist will analyse these areas to work out if they’re unrealistic or unhelpful and determine their effect on each other and you.

Your therapist will then be able to help you work out how to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours.

After working out what you can change, your therapist will ask you to practise these changes in your daily life, and you’ll discuss how you got on during the next session.

The eventual aim of therapy is to teach you to apply the skills you have learnt during treatment to your daily life.

References:

The Guardian (2/11/2021) [online] dr-aaron-beck-the-father-of-cognitive-behavioural-therapy-dies-aged-100. [Accessed: 2/11/2021]

2 thoughts on “Dr Beck and the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

  1. I will tell you one thing – after reading this article, I realized that I need to understand this topic better

  2. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes that make the most important changes. Thanks for sharing!

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