cognitive behavioural therapy overview


Founder - Albert Ellis (1913-2007)

Cognitive (CBT) therapy is based on the assumption that human beings are born with a potential for both rational, or straight thinking and irrational, or crooked thinking.

CBT attempts to change the way in which a person thinks about life experiences, and it concentrates on finding ways to change negative or irrational thought patterns into more constructive ones.

These therapies usually concentrate on the client's present state of mind, and the underlying assumption is that emotional distress starts with negative or irrational thoughts about their circumstances or about themselves.

People have predispositions for self-preservation, happiness, thinking and verbalizing, loving, communication with others and growth and self-actualization. However, they also have propensities for self-destruction, avoidance of thought, endless repetition of mistakes, superstition, intolerance, perfectionism, self-blame and avoidance of growth potentials.

Taking for granted that humans are fallible, cognitive behaviour therapy attempts to help clients accept themselves as creatures who will continue to make mistakes, yet at the same time learn to live more at peace with themselves.  

Behavioural therapies have an underlying assumption that behaviour that causes emotional distress is a learned behaviour pattern. Behaviour therapy attempts to teach the client new behaviour patterns which will beneficially cause a healthier emotional response.

 Please see our cbt client information sheet