Cognitive Behaviour Therapy evolved from the individual work of the psychologist Albert Ellis and the psychiatrist Aaron Beck. Both therapists had been using conventional therapeutic approaches, i.e. alternatives of psychoanalysis and humanistic therapy and had become frustrated with their lack of success. They began, independently of each other, to try a more matter of fact method. They found that constantly revisiting the past and identifying the effects the events & memories of long ago had on their clients, although possibly providing insights into their current states of mind, actually did very little to relieve their unwanted frame of mind. They began to explore the idea of a more solution centred here and now approach to therapy that basically could encourage their clients to question their thinking. They challenged the negative thoughts that lead to unhelpful emotions and behaviours. In short, they got their clients to think about their thinking and change it.
The bottom line of the idea is to encourage people to take responsibility for their thinking and, thus, their state of mind. CBT questions how the thoughts and triggers in the environment create the feelings which generate physical reactions and symptoms leading to behaviours.
The cognitive behavioural model breaks problem areas into five parts:
- Physical reactions/symptoms (biological factors)
- Environmental Factors
These diverse areas are explored, challenged and effectively re-framed to healthier patterns of thought, feeling and behaviour, which can lead to a very powerful approach to positive change and personal growth.