Compare and Contrast

Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Behavior Therapy

Behavioral therapy is rooted in the principles of behaviorism, a school of thought focused on the idea that we learn from our environment. In behavioral therapy, the goal is to reinforce desirable behaviors and eliminate unwanted or maladaptive ones. The techniques used in this type of treatment are based on the theories of classical conditioning and operant conditioning.

Classical conditioning involves forming associations between stimuli. Previously neutral stimuli are paired with a stimulus that naturally and automatically evokes a response. After repeated pairings, an association is formed and the previously neutral stimulus will come to evoke the response on its own.

Operant conditioning focuses on how reinforcement and punishment can be utilized to either increase or decrease the frequency of a behavior. Behaviors followed by desirable consequences are more likely to occur again in the future, while those followed by negative consequences become less likely to occur.

Both behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy can be used to together if needed to help lower a patients stress level.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of treatment that focuses on examining the relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. By exploring patterns of thinking that lead to self-destructive actions and the beliefs that direct these thoughts, people with mental illness can modify their patterns of thinking to improve coping. CBT is a type of psychotherapy that is different from traditional psychodynamic psychotherapy in that the therapist and the patient will actively work together to help the patient recover from their mental illness(NAMI). People who seek CBT can expect their therapist to be problem-focused, and goal-directed in addressing the challenging symptoms of mental illnesses. Because CBT is an active intervention, one can also expect to do homework or practice outside of sessions.


Cognitive behavioral services. (n.d.). Retrieved from NAMI :


Procrastination is based on a learning theory, cognitive therapy can be a good approach for procrastination, however behavior therapy would be the best approach because procrastination is a learning theory, the client can use techniques such as activities to promote focus on not procrastinating on things in life.