Similarities and Differences

Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy

By: Melissa Swanson

Behavior Therapy

The main focus of this therapy is studying the observable behavior, current determinants of behavior, learning experiences that promote change, tailoring treatment strategies to individual clients, and rigorous assessment and evaluation (Corey, 2013, p.247). This therapy focuses on the client's problems now, and what is influencing them. A client is to take action in changing their target behaviors, as well as self-monitor them.


Therapeutic goals include giving the client personal choices and new conditions for their treatment goals. For the client and counselor, the goals must be clear, well understood, and agreed upon for both. They then make a contract that will help guide them through the therapy process, and along the way they can make changes if they both agree. "Although behavioral therapies are different from disorder to disorder, a common thread is that behavioral therapists encourage clients to try new behaviors and not to allow negative "rewards" to dictate the ways in which they act" (abct.org).


About Psychological Treatment (n.d.) Association for Behavior and Cognitive Therapies. Retrieved from: http://www.abct.org/Help/?m=mFindHelp&fa=WhatIsCBTpublic


Corey, G. (2013). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (9th ed.) Brooks/Cole Cengage Publishing; Belmont, CA

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy focuses on the cognitions of a person. "Cognitive behavioral therapy operates on the assumptions that what people believe influences how they act and feel" (Corey, 2013, p.249). It is effective because it is based on scientific evidence and have been proven to be effective.


Therapeutic goals would be for the therapist to change the client's irrational thoughts with more rational ones. The client will learn how to tell the difference of thoughts and feelings, as well as control their maladaptive thoughts before they occur. The therapist will also help evaluate critically whether these "automatic" thoughts and assumptions are correct, or biased (abct.org).


About Psychological Treatment (n.d.) Association for Behavior and Cognitive Therapies. Retrieved from: http://www.abct.org/Help/?m=mFindHelp&fa=WhatIsCBTpublic


Corey, G. (2013). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (9th ed.) Brooks/Cole Cengage Publishing; Belmont, CA

Similarities

  • The therapist and client work together and make a clear understanding of one another, both therapies make sure the client is aware they are in control of themselves.


  • Both are short term treatments (6-20 sessions)


  • The therapist helps the client discover their own power of changing their irrational thoughts and behaviors into rational ones.


  • Both therapies often require homework assignments and lots of practice.


  • They both require treatment goals


  • "The therapist and client develop goals for therapy together, and track progress toward goals throughout the course of treatment" (abct.org).


About Psychological Treatment (n.d.) Association for Behavior and Cognitive Therapies. Retrieved from: http://www.abct.org/Help/?m=mFindHelp&fa=WhatIsCBTpublic

Differences

CBT focuses on how our emotions are due to our thinking, our thoughts can be biased or distorted. This therapy helps a client change their irrational thoughts with ones that are more rational.


BT focuses mostly on how some thoughts or behaviors may accidentally get "rewarded" within one's environment. This therapy helps change a clients behavior. You use observational learning to learn behavioral patterns of the client.

How can they be used together and separately in therapy?

For some medical issues, for instance depression, the treatment may be more complex making the patient more involved in identifying certain trends with their emotions and finding different ways to avoid and overcome them with positive reinforcement (disorders.org). Often, when that happens the therapist may use a combination of cognitive and behavioral therapy.


If you are trying to change a person's behavior, for example if you are dealing with a client who has a trouble teenager that is doing bad in school, you need to change help change the negative reinforcement behaviors with positive ones for both the parent and the teenager. You would use behavior therapy for this process.


A person suffering with anxiety of driving in a car would see a cognitive behavior therapist. Living in today's world, you need to travel in cars. The cognitive behavior therapist helps control the anxiety through how the person thinks of the situation.


Behavior Therapy (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.disorders.org/what-is-behavior-therapy/

Procrastination

I think behavior therapy would be the best treatment for procrastination. There is some kind of reinforcement that is causing the procrastination, and using observational learning, the therapist can learn what it is and come up with treatment goals to stop that unwanted behavior. For instance, a person may be procrastinating waking up early and going to school. Using behavior therapy, the therapist may learn that the parent is allowing the student to stay up late causing the student to want to sleep in. You will then set up goals to stop the unwanted behavior by changing the time the student goes to bed.