Compare and Contrast

Behavioral Therapy vs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


Both Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy give the client the ability to discover that they are in control of choosing their own positive thoughts and behaviors. Both are short term, goal oriented and require the client and therapist to participate actively. Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focus on the present as opposed to past factors. The foundation of both Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is built off the ABC model.


In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, clients distinguish between thoughts and feelings. This type of therapy suggests that our emotions may be due to our thinking. Clients become aware of the ways that thoughts can influence feelings and develop the skills to interrupt, notice and correct their thoughts. Behavioral Therapy focuses mostly on how some thoughts and behaviors get rewarded by accident and increase these behaviors. Behavioral Therapy focuses on changing self destructive behaviors. In conclusion, Behavior Therapy works to change behaviors while Cognitive Behavior Therapy works to change feelings.

Goals and Techniques for Behavioral Therapy


  • Increase personal choice for clients
  • Help client define specific goals
  • Create new conditions for learning


  • Applied behavioral analysis - "Offers functional approach to understanding clients problems and addresses these problems by changing antecedents and consequences" (Corey, 2013, p. 256)
  • Relaxation training - Deep and regular breathing while focusing on pleasant thoughts or images
  • Systemic desensitization - Imagining an anxiety arousing situation until client becomes desensitized to the situation
  • Exposure therapy - Exposing clients to controlled negative emotional situations
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing - Use of rhythmic eye movements and other bilateral stimulation
  • Social skills training - Helps clients develop skills that allow them to communicate appropriately and effectively
  • Self management - Allows clients to make decisions concerning specific behaviors they want to control or change by using self monitoring, self contracting and stimulus control

Goals and Techniques for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


  • Teach clients how to separate the evaluation of the behaviors from themselves
  • Teach clients how to accept themselves regardless of their imperfections
  • Teach clients to change their dysfunctional emotions and behaviors into health ones


  • Techniques for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may be cognitive, behavioral, environmental, biological, supportive, interpersonal, or experimental based on the clients issues

How can CBT and Behavioral Therapy can work together?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Behavioral Therapy can work together by teaching a client to identify and evaluate their automatic thoughts (CBT) so they are able to correct their thinking and behave more functionally (Behavioral Therapy).

Procrastination and how Cognitive Behavior Therapy works

When we procrastinate it can often lead to anxiety and being overwhelmed when doing something at the last minute. To avoid these feelings we can use Cognitive Behavior Therapy. First, it is important to set small goals of what you want to accomplish. This will alleviate the stresses of having too many huge projects on your plate. Second, prioritize bigger goals by what needs to be accomplished first versus last. Last, set a deadline of when you want certain things to be done. Make yourself accountable. By breaking tasks into smaller bits they will become more manageable.


Corey, G. (2013). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.