Differences between Therapies

By: Amber Carman

Behavior Therapy

Behavior therapy started back in the 1950's and early 1960's. According to Corey,"behavior therapy practitioners focus on directly observable behavior, current determinants of behavior, learning experiences that promote change tailoring treatment strategies to individual clients and rigorous assessment and evaluation" (Corey,2015) Behavior therapy is understood by considering four different areas of development: classical conditioning, operant conditioning, social-cognitive theory, and cognitive behavior therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy started partially along with the Behavior therapy. According to Corey, " both Cognitive therapy and Cognitive Behavior therapy are based on the assumption that beliefs, behavior, emotions, and physical reactions are all reciprocally linked. Changes in one area lead to changes in the other areas" (Corey,2015). Cognitive behavior therapists apply behavioral techniques like operant conditioning, modeling, and behavioral rehearsal to the more subjective processes of thinking and internal dialogue.

Goals of Treatment

Behavior therapy

  • increase personal choice
  • create new conditions for learning
  • helping the client develop goals specific to treatment

Cognitive Behavioral therapy

  • minimizing emotional disturbances and self-defeating behaviors
  • acquiring a realistic, workable, and compassionate philosophy of life
  • help client choose realistic and life-enhancing goals
  • teach clients how to change their dysfunctional emotions and behaviors into healthy ones
  • assist clients in the process of unconditional self-acceptance, other-acceptance, and life-acceptance

Therapies in Treatment

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Behavior Therapy can be applied together into one therapy. For instance, if a client is suffering with bad grades, we can take away something from the Cognitive Behavioral approach and the Behavior approach of therapy. We could use the Cognitive Behavioral approach by practicing skills training with the client, behavioral experiments, and behavioral rehearsal to help the client learn to do homework and pick up skills. We can then add the Behavior therapy by giving the client a positive reinforcement for their work, this could be a simple phrase from a parent condemning them for their grades and hard work, as part of operant conditioning. The two types of therapies can work together in many situations.

Issues with Procrastination

The Cognitive Behavioral therapy would be a great approach while addressing procrastination and putting an end to it. This approach, " emphasizes here-and-now experiences and clients' present ability to change the patterns of thinking and emoting that they constructed earlier" (Corey, 2015).

In therapy, the therapist can help the client by disputing irrational beliefs, this would lead to helping the client delete the idea in their head that the cannot do it. Next would be to do cognitive homework, the client would need to make a list of how procrastination has led to other problems, and would be asked to uproot these self-defeating cognitions. Another step would be to change the client's language, by helping the client with switching to preferences, the client can learn to employ new self-statements and help them behave differently and change their patterns. The therapist would provide psycho-educational methods to the client. Introducing the client to various educational materials like books, DVD's, and articles to help educate clients about the nature of their problems and how treatment is likely to succeed and end procrastination for the client.


Corey, G. (2015). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. Tenth Edition