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  • Posted by: cbtkeadmin


 By Allen Opiyo 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a key therapy theory with very practical and solution oriented techniques. Each day we have various experiences some we consider good others we consider bad all the same it could lead to myriad of thoughts that sometimes leads you to having sleepless nights, distracted days and simply not feeling your best.

These experiences may have been from the past such as loss of a loved one, or from recent events such as previous day work place quarrels, how we respond to these events could shape our lives, by determining how we relate to others, how we behave in the environment we are in and even how we view our lives

Therefore CBT is heavily based on the theory that our thoughts affect how we feel which then affects how we behave. To understand this, Ellis, who came up with the Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), which will be discussed later, came up with an ABC model.

A- Activating event

Something happens where you are or in an environment surrounding you.

B- Beliefs

Then you hold a belief concerning the event,

C- Consequence

Afterwards comes the emotional response as a result of the belief.

CBT  was developed in 1960’s by Aaron Beck..  It involves a short term solution oriented treatment plan with constant monitoring of the clients progress. Many people have benefited from this therapy.  Ideally, it works on the understanding that these bad feelings and discomfort do not arise from what happened (event) but by the thoughts and beliefs attached to the event and consequently affecting how we will respond.

For example;

Event: My dad left our family when I was young.

Thoughts: My dad doesn’t see me worthy, I am a burden.

Feelings: Sad and Upset

Behavior: Avoiding people and getting too close to anybody. Hence difficulty maintaining relationships and shyness.

In this case, you notice the client’s thoughts of abandonment are controlling his behavior. Maybe the dad left due to some other reason, which are not necessarily related to disliking the child. We can see in this example how the three aspects are closely related.

How does CBT help?

CBT helps us learn how to identify our pattern of thoughts, emotion and behavior. This will enable us to understand how your thoughts shape how you feel, and how they impact your life in significant ways.

CBT therefore aims at identifying disturbing thoughts and feelings and challenging them with more realistic thoughts. This treatment method, CBT, is composed of different types of therapies, which the therapist will chose to best fulfill client interests. These therapies include:

  1. Cognitive therapy

This therapy is used in cases of distorted thinking patterns. It works on the fact that the way we think of an event, affects our behaviours rather than the event itself.

  1. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

This therapy emphases that acceptance and change brings about positive change compared to either of the two alone. It focuses on acceptance of a patient’s problem as a way in which the therapist will help them.

  1. Multi-modal Therapy

Here, psychological issues are treated by addressing seven different but somehow connected modalities which are: behavior, affect, sensation, imagery, interpersonal factors, biological considerations and cognition. This is because of its view that most psychological problems are multi- determined.

  1. Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

This therapy helps in identifying disturbing thoughts and feelings, challenging and replacing them with healthier beliefs, by incorporating them in our behavior. Generally, it helps clients manage , cognition’s, emotions and behaviours.

All these methods use different strategies but all work towards a common goal, which is to address the underlying trigger, found in the thought patterns thus contributing to disturbances in mood and feelings.

Therapists also have a role to play, in that they are actively involved in success of the treatment by establishing and realizing mutually established goals and giving helping homework to be done by the client.

This therapy has its advantages in that it promotes healthier thinking patterns; it is also empirically supported. CBT has been proven to be a very effective treatment method, many clients have shown remarkable improvement through the use of CBT. Being a solution oriented technique it can help clients deal with various mental issues and life stressors. It can be used by anyone .

Other individuals who benefit from CBT include:

  • People with symptoms of mental illness.
  • People coping with grief or loss.
  • People dealing with trauma (abuse or violence).
  • People having problems coping with medical illness.
  • People with phobias.
  • People suffering PTSD.
  • People with various disorders like; eating, bipolar, sexual, substance use, obsessive- compulsive disorders.


  1. Beck, J. S. (2011). Cognitive behavior therapy: Basics and beyond (2nd ed.). Guilford Press.
  2. Craske, M.G. (2017). Theory of psychotherapy series.
  3. McLeod, S. A. (2019, January 11). Cognitive behavioral therapy. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/cognitive-therapy.html
Author: cbtkeadmin
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