Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is a popular psychotherapeutic approach that uses various goal-oriented, and explicit systematic procedures to address dysfunctional emotions, maladaptive behaviors and cognitive processes and contents. This behaviour therapy, cognitive therapy or a therapy based on a combination of basic behavioral and cognitive principles and research is known as cognitive behavioural therapy. For patients with anxiety and depression, many therapists use a combination of cognitive and behavioural therapy. CBT focuses on problems and is very action oriented. CBT acknowledges the fact that many behaviours cannot be controlled through rational thought. This therapy is effective for treating conditions like anxiety, mood, eating disorders, personality disorders, tic, substance abuse, and other psychotic disorders.

CBT was initially developed by integrating behaviour therapy with cognitive psychology research. some common features of CBT procedures are that they focus on �here and now�. This involves a structural and guidance role of the therapist, where the psychotherapy sessions are focussed on alleviating the symptoms and the vulnerability of the patient. Though mainstream cognitive behavioural therapy assumes that changing your maladaptive thinking leads to change in behaviour, many recent variants emphasize the change of one�s relationship to maladaptive thinking, rather than the change in the thinking itself.

Errors like over-generalizing, minimizing positives, magnifying negatives, etc are replaced with more effective and realistic thoughts using various CBT techniques. Therapists in Chennai use a mindful and open approach to decrease self-defeating and emotionally distressing behaviour. CBT helps in challenging an individual�s way of thinking, and their reaction to certain behaviours. At CBRT India, we ensure that the maladaptive thinking, coping, emotions and behaviours are replaced with more adaptive ones.

Exposure Therapy

One of the areas in which cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, has made the most strides is in dealing with anxiety and phobia. The underlying principle behind CBT is that one holds false beliefs and expectations about the world that adversely color our interactions with others, causing undue stress and anxiety. The psychologist O. Mowrer was one of the first to attempt to undermine those false beliefs with a form of therapy intended to improve behavior by way of cognition.

This type of therapy, known as exposure therapy, worked as follows. Suppose that you were afraid of spiders. Even if you knew rationally that a spider wasn't poisonous and posed no threat to you, you would still feel anxious when a spider came near you, and have feelings close to panic if one touched you. For the cognitive psychology, what is going on here? You hold false beliefs about spiders on some level, such that when you're exposed to them, your experience is affected adversely by your irrational cognition. The anxiety and fear you feel as a result reinforces those irrational feelings, making things worse.

With exposure therapy, you would be gradually exposed to your stressor (spiders), while at the same time having your typical response (anxiety and fear) suppressed. For instance, a therapist might place a spider near you and help you maintain a sense of calm through talking and becoming slowly and gradually acclimated to the idea of having a spider near you. In time, you might even be able to touch the spider. Eventually, your fears should diminish entirely. How does this work? It's simply that, if you're exposed to a spider without allowing your anxiety to be triggered, the stimulus of the spider gradually becomes disassociated from the response of anxiety, and the phobia is conquered.

Aaron Beck's Negative Triad

Another cognitive psychologist, Aaron Beck, was the first to formalize the idea of the cyclical interplay between environment, cognition, and behavior, calling it the negative triad. The negative triad works as follows. First, one holds a "negative schema" regarding the world. Maybe this is the expectation that you will be treated poorly by others, or that others are looking to harm you in some way. Maybe it's simply the expectation that any cats you meet will bring you bad luck. Whatever the case, these negative schema are self-destructive beliefs with the tendency to induce stress in those who hold them.

When one interacts with the world, this negative schema provides the framework in which the interaction will unfold. If one talks to a job interviewer with a feeling of positivity, one might have good results. By contrast, if one talks to a job interviewer with a negative schema in place, feeling as if the situation is hopeless, then the meeting will probably go bad.

When the meeting does go bad, it reinforces our negative schema. We feel that our expectations have been met, and are thus justified. What we need to come to realize, according to Beck, is that our negative schema actually *cause* the poor outcomes and our own self-destructive behaviors. With conscious recognition, however, these cognitive biases and negative schemas can be overcome, and one can approach the world with feelings of confidence that will ultimately produce good results.

Success with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Elsewhere, researchers have had a great deal of success applying CBT to posttraumatic stress disorders. Typically, those suffering from this disorder will feel a sense of generalized anxiety as a result of an earlier, unresolved traumatic event. Generally, this event will have led to the formation of negative schema that can, at least theoretically, be undone with CBT. Mark Reinecke at Northwestern University has conducted a number of recent studies that further verify the utility of CBT in combating posttraumatic stress disorder.


While CBT is one of the most popular therapeutic approaches to come out of clinical psychology in decades, it is not well loved by everyone. There are detractors, for instance, who claim that the relative simplicity and low implementation cost of CBT have led to its becoming more popular than warranted. As evidence for this, they cite the general lack of evidence that CBT can be therapeutically effective against schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the attempt to overcome anxiety, depression, and neuroses through the conscious recognition of self-destructive beliefs, with the assumption being that changing this cognition will ultimately change one's behavior, and thusly one's experience with the world.

CBT has had success in treating phobias through a technique called exposure therapy that involves gradual exposure to the object of fear, coupled with a systematic repression of the anxiety response.

Aaron Beck formalized the cyclical interplay of environment, cognition, and behavior with his "negative triad", a cycle in which one's negative schema affects one's experiences, and those experiences in turn reinforce one's negative schema. While CBT has been shown to be effective in treating posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and phobias, little evidence has been cited that it is effective in dealing with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

With our Anxiety treatment in Chennai, one can overcome anxiety disorder quickly and effectively. Our best therapists in Chennai, offer various treatments including eating disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias etc. For best depresssion treatment in Chennai, visit our CBRT India Center or contact us over mail or phone.