The Evolution Of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Keegan Warrington
February 28, 2022

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is one of the well-researched psychological treatments available today. It is considered to be a revolutionary treatment with over 2000 clinical trials supporting its effectiveness. CBT is widely used in a variety of conditions such as mental problems, psychological disorders, and other medical conditions with psychological aspects.

Like any medical treatment, CBT has its own history. In today’s blog post, we’ll give you a general answer to the question: what is cognitive behavioral therapy?. We will also discuss its beginnings, developments, and current state.

What Is CBT?

CBT is a form of psychotherapy that combines Cognitive Therapy and Behavioral Therapy. It is based on the psychological construct that a person’s interpretations of a situation or interaction influence their emotional, behavioral, and psychological reaction more than the scenario itself. This just means that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all closely connected, and they create a complex web that impacts our overall well-being.

The goal of CBT is to empower individuals to deal with specific conditions or problems they have. Specifically, it teaches people to recognize and change false or unhelpful thought patterns that influence their behavior and reaction. CBT pushed for the mindset that while we cannot control the situations we encounter, we can definitely take control of how we deal with these uncertainties in our lives.

Beginnings And Theoretical Roots

Behavioral Therapy

Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalysis was the dominant psychotherapeutic modality in the early 1910s up to the 1970s. However, a different movement in psychology has already started in the 1950s to respond to the demands of the changing culture and society. One of these alternative therapeutic models developed was BT or Behavioral Therapy.

Before CBT, there was behavioral therapy. It stemmed from the idea of behaviorism, that people’s behaviors can be measured, trained, and changed. Notable therapists and psychologists contributed to the development of this movement in the 1940s as a response to the emotional and social issues that arose related to World War II. These developments challenged the tenets of psychoanalytic therapy but they paved the way to building and creating new paths for psychological treatments.

Cognitive Therapy

One of the earliest introductions of the idea of cognition in psychotherapy was in the early 1900s. Austrian psychotherapist Alfred Adler’s study mainly focused on basic mistakes and their role in unpleasant emotions. This became the jump-off point of American Psychologist Albert Ellis in developing rational emotive behavior therapy or REBT in the 1950s. Considered as one of the earliest forms of cognitive therapy, REBT is based on the idea that a person’s emotional distress arises from their thoughts about an event rather than the actual event itself.

Dr. Aaron Beck, another American psychiatrist, conducted initial studies in the 1950s and 1960s that pointed out how the underlying negative beliefs of his patients connect to their depression. This opened up the space for the collaborative work between the patient and their mental health professional during therapy sessions, as Dr. Beck worked side by side with his patients in examining their cognitive distortions.

By helping patients correct these distortions, he was able to help them feel better and engage in more adaptive behaviors. Dr. Beck called this new therapy “Cognitive Therapy”, something very close to what is cognitive behavioral therapy we know today.

The Shift To Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

In 1977, Cognitive Therapy became the first psychological therapy shown to be more efficacious than medication for the treatment of depression based on a study conducted by Rush et al. When a second study conducted in the UK in 1981replicated the results, interest in the cognitive approach grew nationally and internationally.

Behavior therapies were effective in addressing neurotic disorders but were not as successful in treating depression. With the growing popularity of cognitive therapy, psychologists started to merge the two approaches to address a wider variety of mental conditions, like using cognitive behavioral therapy for depression. Both schools of thought have differing focus and emphasis, but both are concerned with what’s happening to the patient in the present moment. Thus, CBT focuses on the client’s experiences, feelings, and beliefs in the here and now.

The merging of the cognitive and behavioral approaches thrived because of the viability to produce positive clinical outcomes. Another factor contributing to the shift to CBT is its ease of replication, as its methods and outcomes were widely recorded. It was successfully applied to eating disorders, relational problems, anger management issues, psychosis, and other mental health problems. It was also successfully applied across varying age groups in a variety of settings, including outpatient clinics, residential placements, schools, prisons, and hospitals.

Expanding CBT

This therapy has rapidly evolved and informed by a wider set of approaches. Thus, apart from depression, cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety has also been widely accepted, along with other uses. In many cases, CBT helps reduce symptoms of various medical conditions, as well as help patients, cope better with their current situations.

Apart from CBT, a number of psychological therapies blend cognitive and behavioral elements into their approach. These are:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy Or Dbt
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy
  • Multimodal Therapy
  • Integrative Psychotherapy
  • Reality Therapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing
  • Acceptance And Commitment Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia is also proved to be effective. What is Cognitive behavior therapy’s other benefit? Integrating CBT with other therapeutic approaches has also been widely accepted like pairing cognitive behavioral therapy with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS. Research shows that combining TMS Therapy with treatment approaches like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy results in improved and more sustainable outcomes.

Get Started With CBT

Experiencing thoughts and feelings that add to the distorted beliefs we have about ourselves and the world is generally common. These feelings and beliefs often result in destructive or problematic behaviors that negatively affect our work, school, relationships, and overall daily living. We all want to be able to live our lives to the fullest. What is cognitive-behavioral therapy’s role in this goal? This therapy is for empowering individuals to identify, reshape, and change faulty thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

If you are looking for cognitive behavioral therapy near you or a psychological treatment to be used in combination with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS, you are in the right place. Roots TMS offers this therapy through our sister company, Roots Through Recovery, which is located in the same building.

Why choose Roots? Here at Roots TMS, we offer cutting-edge treatment while providing the highest level of safety and support to our patients. Our treatment team is here to help guide you on your journey to recovery and wellness. Come visit us at 3939 Atlantic Ave, Suite 102 Long Beach, CA 90807, or call (866) 766-8776 for immediate assistance.

Keegan Warrington