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Behavior Therapy Vs. Cognitive Therapy

Theories and Practices of Counseling and Psychotherapy

Presented By: Julianne Hall

Behavior Therapy

“Behavior therapy is focused on helping an individual understand how changing their behavior can lead to changes in how they are feeling. “ (Michael Herkov, 2015). Behavior therapy offers encouragement to the client to increase engagement in positive settings and social activities. Behavior therapy also focuses on reversing habits.

Cognitive Therapy

“Cognitive therapy is based on the theory that much of how we feel is determined by what we think. “ (Michael Herkov, Ph.D, 2015). Cognitive Therapy helps people look at their thoughts and how their thoughts affect their life and their behavior. It challenges people to look at their “errors” in thinking and make appropriate changes to have fewer errors. One of the most common therapies practiced.

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Similarities and Differences with Behavior and Cognitive Therapies

o Similarity: Helping the client focus in on how their behavior is linked to their feeling.

o Difference: BT focuses on how external and internal environment affect behavior and CT thinking factors change. (Thomas Kot, 2015) .


o Behavior Therapy-

§ fostering self-actualization

§ expanding self-understanding & insight

§ assisting clients in making value judgments concerning their behavior

§ eliminating maladaptive learning & providing for more effective learning

o Cognitive Therapy-

§ Teaching a person how to lessen their emotional baggage

§ Using their new found energy to positively enlighten their lives

§ Testing your own real thoughts and learning how to balance ones thinking

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Incorporate or Seperate

o Taking the Behavior Therapy approach of reverting habits and the Cognitive Therapy approach of looking at their thinking process and how it affects their lives.

Treatment for Procrastination

Behavioral Therapy would be my personal selection for treating procrastination. To integrate self-monitoring to allow the client to see what they are doing or lack thereof. By scheduling weekly actives it gives the client a sense of structure. Applying role playing lets the client see the bigger picture and holds them accountable. Through behavior modification this would let the client have some control over how the treatment is applied to their life and at what pace.


Herkov, M. (2006). About Behavior Therapy. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 9, 2015, from

Herkov, M. (2006). About Cognitive Psychotherapy. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 9, 2015, from

Kot, T. (2015). What are Behavior and Cognitive Therapies?. Retrieved on March 9, 2015, from