Cognitive-Behavioural Theory – CBT Theory is applied in the present time frame, to help the speaker resolve negative or unhelpful reactions to situations by learning new ways to react. It has been developed by integrating behaviour therapy with cognitive therapy and is the youngest theory, (most fully developed during the 1970’s and 80’s). As its primary focus is in the present it does not investigate the historic causes and so is not concerned with understanding or addressing the underlying root of belief systems and behaviours.
The Cognitive-Behavioural Theory is used both in individual and group situations and tends to be effective in treating mood, anxiety, personality, eating, substance abuse and psychotic disorders. It is also recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to treat specific mental health difficulties such as post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bulimia nervosa and clinical depression. So for example, CBT can be most effective with irrational phobias or anti-social behaviour in youngsters where the primary need is to re-learn.
There are different approaches used within CBT, often depending on the nature of the problem. A diary may be kept of events and feelings, thoughts and behaviours, questioning and testing cognitions, assumptions, evaluations and beliefs that are unhelpful or unrealistic and gradually facing activities which have been avoided and trying new ways of behaving and reacting. Relaxation, mindfulness and distraction techniques are also used. CBT is focused on the problems and requires openness and honesty between speaker and listener, so that the listener may develop strategies and a structure for managing the problems and guiding the client to a better life situation.
Alternatively, the long-term effectiveness of CBT can be questioned on the basis that it does not attempt to discover nor address the root cause of the issues.