Behavior VS Cognitive-Behavioral

Behavior & Cognitive-Behavioral therapy--same and different.

Behavior Therapy specifics

"Behavior therapy is focused on helping an individual understand how changing their behavior can lead to changes in how they are feeling" (Herkov, 2013, para. 1). The main goals of behavior therapy are "to increase personal choice and to create new conditions for learning" (Corey, 2013, p. 252). Behavior therapy focuses on a person's actions in respose to their thoughts and emotions, and works to help the client take charge of their life. Treatment techniques in behavior therapy involve self-monitoring, short and long term goal setting, role playing, and a reward system. With these techniques, the client can develop better social skills, ways to cope, and incentives for doing desired behaviors.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

This type of therapy is similar to Behavior Therapy, but instead this therapy focuses on cognitive processes as the main reason behind behaviors. It works by helping the client understand and change their attitudes and behavior by focusing on the cognitive processes that drive our behaviors (Martin, 2013, para. 1). "In successful therapy clients develop their own voices, take pride in what they have accomplished, and take ownership of the changes they are bringing about" (Corey, 2013, p. 315). "The main goal of CBT is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people's difficulties, and so change the way they feel" (Martin, 2013, para. 1). Treatment techniques for this form of therapy help the client to learn new coping skills, change behaviors and beliefs, develop new relationship skills, and learn new ways to cope with feelings (Martin, 2013, p. 4). In order to develop these new skills, clients should push themselves to participate in homework given by the therapist, be willing to change their views, and self-monitor.

Guaranteed to be relaxing and fun.

Similarities and Differences

According to Beck & Weishaar (2011) as cited by Corey (2013), the attributes that both Behavior and Cognitive-Behavioral therapies share include: "a collaborative relationship between client and therapist; the premise that psychological distress is largely a function of disturbances in cognitive processes; a focus on changing cognitions to produce desired changes in affect and behavior; a present-centered, time-limited focus; an active and directive stance by the therapist, and; an educational treatment focusing on specific and structured target problems" (Corey, 2013, p. 290).

The main difference between the two forms of therapy is that "while both target negative and unhealthy mental processes, cognitive behavioral therapy also helps people learn healthy and beneficial behaviors" (WiseGeek, 2015, para. 1). Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses more on the cognitive aspect of why people behave a certain way. Behavior therapy also uses a technique that Cognitive Behavioral doesn't--conditioning.

With these two types of therapies being so closely related, it would be fairly easy to use them together to treat a client. Cognitive aspects could be studied, and then their behaviors could be easier understood and changed. Using these therapies together gives the therapist more techniques to try, and more information to talk about with the client to better be able to help them. The client would be given homework, but they may also try and use conditioning methods in order to change or modify a behavior, a reward system, and self-monitoring. These therapies used together would provide much more understanding of a behavior and it's cause, and it would give the client more options to change.

Procrastination and Behavior Therapy

Behavior therapy would be the best way to treat procrastination. Procrastination is more of a simple behavior problem, and not truly a cognitive one. In order to help a client stop procrastinating, the therapist would help the client understand the main reasons for procrastinating, which the answer would generally be 'I do stuff whenever I have time, I'm busy doing other things'. The therapist would help the client to understand that these thoughts are making them choose to procrastinate. The client would be prompted to make some short and long term goals. The therapist also might implement operant or classical conditioning. With operant conditioning, the therapist would help the client set goals, for example, completing a homework assignment before 5pm. The client would take a picture of the completed assignment and send an email proving completion, then the client would be rewarded with some time of prize. Otherwise, the client could self-monitor, and reward themselves with something after they complete whatever they are procrastinating with things such as: candy, food, television, sleep, etc.


Corey, G. (2013). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.

Herkov, M. (2013). About behavior therapy. Psych Central. Retrieved from

Martin, B. (2013). Cognitive behavioral therapy. Psych Central. Retrieved from

WiseGeek. (2015). What is the difference between cognitive therapy vs cognitive behavioral therapy? Wise Geek. Retrieved from