Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

‘I think therefore I am’ – Descarte

‘Cogito ergo sum’ is the famous central tenet of Rene Descarte’s dualistic view of life. In English it translates to mean ‘I think therefore I am’.

‘Cognition’ is the quality of the mind including thought, memory, consciousness, beliefs, perceptions, reasoning etc.
In short Cognition is about thought.

Behaviour‘ is pretty self explanatory as the things we do, except that in CBT the concept of ‘behaviour’ may also include emotions as things we do.

‘Therapy’ is about reconnecting, healing and growing.

Thoughts, Behaviours and feelings are all interconnected and mutually dependent.

  • How you think affects how you feel and behave.
  • How you Behave affects how you think and feel.
  • How you Feel affects how you behave and think.


CBT starts with the Thoughts and moves to the Behaviours pretty quickly to work with both.

Adjusting beliefs through disputing them with evidence can affect Behaviour and feelings positively.

CBT has many structured interventions to change how people think and what they believe.

Setting behavioural goals that include graded exposure to aversive stimuli for example, can reduce anxiety through practice.

Classical CBT differs from Rational Emotive Therapy (RET) because it includes a behavioural element, applying the principles of learning theory and behaviourism along with a practical application of understandings of the cognitive factors involved in emotional and motivational challenges.

There are other types of therapy that focus closely on the emotions such as Emotion Focussed Therapy and there is a time and a place for emotional catharsis to clear the mind. Reevaluation Counselling (RC) utilisies emotional catharsis to clear the mind and provide the scope to reevaluate outmoded behaviours and beliefs about oneself.

CBT differs from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) because it tries to force change to feelings by changing thougths whereas ACT encourages acceptance and detachment from troubling issues and shifting focuss to new more productive focci.

Narrative Therapy shares some cognitive elements with CBT as the client re-authors their understanding of their situation and self. Thereby improving mood, motivation and functioning.