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Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

How to choose the right specialist

When looking for a mental health specialist you may consider dozens of options, with CBT being just one of them. The fact that currently CBT is considered to be the gold standard in treatment of numerous psychological disorders, doesn’t mean it is the perfect match for everyone.

Like every scientific field, psychology has a variety of branches and theoretical orientations. Each of them has its own set of methods and practical approaches. The Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) practitioners, therefore, look at the human psyche through that particular lens. They strive to develop the model, to test its efficiency, and to create new techniques.

Thus, in the search for a therapist or a counselor, the main question to answer is whether their expertise is the best option for your presenting problem. Another factor to consider is whether your prefered therapist is simply a good fit for you as a person. After all, in all models of psychotherapy rapport is a basic factor for efficiency.

Basic tennets of CBT

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the modern trends in psychology. It originates from the cognitive scientific model. It is the most widespread practice in the Anglo-American world, while the rest of Europe traditionally remains more analytically-oriented.

The principle underlying CBT is that the human psyche is the result of an interaction between our thoughts, emotions and behaviors. In contrast to pure behaviorism (which stresses behaviors), cognitivism (which stresses thoughts and ways of thinking), and humanism (which stresses emotions), CBT views all three components as equally important and explores the mechanisms by which they are connected.

In my training and practice, I have always adhered to the principles of CBT. You can find more information about the method on the websites of some of its founders, such as Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis.

Experts in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

The term Cognitive Behavior Therapy encompasses more than 20 different approaches that branch from the cognitive or the cognitive-behavioral model of psychology. All of them together have generated more empirical evidence than any other approach. Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck are considered the fathers of CBT.


4.3.2.Aaron Beck

Born in 1921. He is professor emeritus in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, where he trained a large number of followers in one of the world fastest developing modes of psychotherapy. He is the only psychiatrist-clinicist to receive an honorary award for his scientific discoveries in the field of modern psychotherapy by hte American Psychological Association. In 1994 he founds the Beck Institute along with his daughter, Judith Beck: http://www.beckinstitute.org/

4.3.4.Albert Ellis

Born in 1913. After practicing psychoanalysis between 1949 and 1953, Ellis rebels against its dogmatic nature and inefficiency. He experiments with several other approaches. In 1955 he creates his own model of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). REBT’s aim is to reconcile behavioristic principles with phenomenology, pragmaticism and humanistic philosophy. Although he faces harsh criticism, he persists in his work and lectures and finally he achieves world-wide recognition. In 1959 he founds The Albert Ellis Institute: http://albertellis.org/.


 Jeffrey Young

Born in 1950. He works with Dr. Aaron Beck for many years, and becomes the head of scientific research at the University of Pennsylvania. In the mid 80s he develops Schema Therapy. His goal is to create an adaptive approach to treating clients with personality disorders who resist standard CBT treatment. Today Schema Therapy is widely applied in treating personality disorders. Young founds the Schema Therapy Institure in the mid-90s: http://www.schematherapy.com/.


Steven Hayes

Born in 1948. He teaches at the University of Nevada. His theoretical approach is based on behaviorism. Hayes founds Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in 1982. The empirical evidence supporting the effectiveness of ACT in the treatment of some psychological disorders is still limited. A growing number of research though shows that it’s basic principle of psychological flexibility is practically applicable in addressing a wide range of problems. More about the scientific foundation of ACT and Hayes’ recognition is available at https://stevenchayes.com/.


Marsha Linehan

Born in 1943г. Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the University of Washington. At the end of the 80s she founds Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), which is based on the concept of emotion regulation. Today the approach is widely used in treating Borderline Personality Disorder in group format. In 1998 she establishes the Linehan Institure, where she continues to develop the application of the method to various psychological disorders: https://linehaninstitute.org/.




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