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CBT-Cognitive Behavior Therapy

CBT is a popular form of therapy to treat, for example, anxiety, depression and social phobia. Here is an explanation of what CBT really is about, how treatment can be done and what advantages and disadvantages the treatment method has.

Nowadays, CBT has been expanded with new theories, which means that different forms of therapy come together under the concept.

What distinguishes and is common to all forms of CBT is that an active therapist formulates concrete goals and has a clear structure during the treatment meetings. The focus is on what the client experiences in the present and on what can be changed. The interaction between the individual and the environment here and now.


Through solid research based on experience, cognitive behavioral therapy has the support to be helpful in many different mental problems. Homework is common in the treatment because an important goal for the client is to be able to handle and cope with their problems in the future.

Behavioral therapy

Behavior is based on Behaviorism, a specialization in psychology that developed in the early 20th century. Why an individual acts in a certain way depends on the externally observable consequences of different behaviors that are important according to behavioral therapy. Getting praise or that an unpleasant feeling disappears can be can be a consequence that maintains a behavior. It is then very likely that the behavior will be consolidated in the future, even if it is actually a long-term problematic behavior. The client's problems are considered to be a consequence of experiences in the form of learning. Making a survey of the current problems the client is necessary for a successful treatment.

In order for change to take place, a systematic removal of the problematic behavior is started. If the client does not receive any positive reinforcement of the behavior, it will decrease. In connection with this, the goal is to replace the problematic behavior that is in line with the client's set goals.

Treatment methods in behavioral therapy include exposure, social training, aversion therapy and various forms of relaxation.

Cognitive psychotherapy

Cognitive psychotherapy is based on the assumption that human thoughts that are activated automatically control emotional reactions and human behavior. A depressive state can, for example, be caused by negative thoughts about one's own person, one's surroundings and one's future. Thoughts of this kind often come automatically without conscious choice.

The client and therapist set clear goals to help break negative harmful thought patterns. Thoughts and interpretations are mapped that are analyzed in conversations where correctness is tested, or so-called behavioral experiments.

Cognitive psychotherapy was introduced primarily for depression by founder Aron Beck. Nowadays, the method is also used for anxiety and personality disorders and relationship problems.


ACT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy means that the treatment is about the person being in the present instead of engaging in avoidance in various forms. Important to learn to accept unwanted thoughts, feelings and reactions. Learn not to value how they view themselves and their problems. The goal of ACT is that through a permissive accepting view, the client can engage in what is important in life and thereby live a meaningful life.

ACT is a successful method of treating anxiety, substance abuse, depression and stress. Can also increase the quality of life for those suffering from chronic diseases, such as pain and epilepsy.


DBT, Dialectical Behavior Therapy has been developed for the treatment of borderline personality disorder, an emotionally unstable disorder IPS where suicidal thoughts and self-harming behaviors are found. Furthermore, DBT has also become a form of treatment for depression, eating disorders, drug abuse and aggression and abuse problems.

In treatment, the union between two opposites acceptance and change is necessary. Some parts of life and and background the client learns to accept while other parts are possible to change. Different professional professions work in teams with the client in the treatment which consists of individual therapy and weekly skills training in groups.

The focus in the individual therapy is on what constitutes a major problem at the moment. Group therapy involves learning to deal with difficult emotions and refraining from destructive behavior. Different methods are used in group therapy such as social skills training, conscious presence, and regulation of emotions.

Learning to find an inner emotional balance, finding tools and strategies to experience everyday life and its meaningful life is the long-term purpose of DBT.

CBT based on mindfulness

Mindfulness and acceptance have recently further developed cognitive behavioral therapy. Man should work to accept himself, his thoughts, feelings and behavior instead of systematically changing his way of thinking and behaving. Mindfulness means that a person can observe the world around themselves and themselves in the moment, attentively intentionally and free from values. It creates the conditions for distance to oneself and the opportunity to increase freedom and control over doing and experiencing things that are important both for oneself and their surroundings. ACT, DBT, MBSR (mindfulness-based stress management) and MBKT (mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) are the most talked about used therapies based on mindfulness.

MBSR focuses on group training of different meditation techniques in the form of simple yoga movements. Examples of techniques are mindfulness meditation, movement meditation and body scanning. In order to get the individual to strengthen the ability to relate to their thoughts in a new and conscious way, parts of cognitive behavioral therapy are also included in MBKT.


Schema is a concept in psychology that describes the perceptions, thought patterns that shape how we interpret what we experience, both the conscious and the unconscious. Our behavior in different situations is largely influenced by how we view the environment and ourselves as well as experience of how we have previously handled similar situations.

Examples of a schedule that creates suffering and can be changed with schedule therapy can be "high performance requirements to get other people's approval".

Cognitive techniques are included in the method to analyze how the problem arose and find different ways of acting and techniques to replace scheduled behaviors that are problematic and cause suffering with behaviors that are positive and healthy. Experience-based techniques such as visualization can be included in the method. In this way, new ways of arousing and meeting emotions can create new experiences in life.

Schedule therapy focuses to a large extent on experiences from childhood and the relationship between therapist and client. For deeper personality problems and / or relationship problems, schedule therapy is often used. The therapy has been influenced by i.a. dynamic therapy, attachment theory and gestalt therapy.

Motivating conversation

MI (Motivated Conversation) is a method that the therapist through conversations helps the client to clarify and understand his problem, find his own arguments for change and support the client in implementing the change. William F Miller and Stephen Rollnick, psychologists who, in the 1980s and 1990s, developed MI to treat alcohol-related problems. The method is now also used for problems with drugs, diet, games and physical activity. To promote motivation and change in behavior, MI can be used as a short counseling as well as a longer treatment method.

Advantages and disadvantages of CBT

What are the pros and cons of CBT? Clear and focused is an advantage that is often highlighted. Too structured method is mentioned as a disadvantage. If a treatment manual is used, there is a risk that the treatment will not be adapted to the individual to a sufficient extent.

Is CBT right for everyone?

In recent decades, cognitive behavioral therapy has become one of the most common therapies. CBT is aimed both at those who suffer from mental illness but also at those who seek better self-awareness and self-insight. However, the method does not suit everyone, but another form of therapy is preferred.


In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the emphasis is on the here and now being the starting point in combination with the interaction between the individual and the environment. Psychotherapy is based on research and theories in learning psychology, cognitive and social psychology.

In CBT, the term “behavior” is used in the sense of how different bodily reactions affect the individual and the environment through their own interpretations and perceptions of events and special actions. In CBT, such behaviors are subject to change. Psychotherapeutic methods and techniques developed based on this approach have proven effective in treating mental health problems.

Examples of behavior, own interpretations of events and specific actions that affect both the individual and his environment. Different bodily reactions are also examples of behaviors.

En beteendeanalys av samspelet mellan individen och dennes omgivning görs som en inledning KBT.Att varje människa är unik är grunden för analysen och är därigenom utifrån allmänna principer högt individuell. Syftet är att kartlägga individens problem och orsakerna till dem.

” Vid en rad olika psykiska problem är KBT en effektiv behandlingsmetod.”

En KBT-terapeut har god kunskap om det samspel som förekommer mellan individ och omgivning. För att skapa förståelse för problematiken analyseras även tanke- och beteendemässiga strategier från tidiga relationer. Fokus ligger dock då det som individen upplever här och nu som t ex brister i sociala färdigheter, signaler från kroppen och från omgivningen feltolkas. Behandlingsmetoderna inom KBT kan utgå både från en individ eller i grupp som vid familjeterapi.

KBT dåtid – nutid- framtid

Insikt om individens historia är viktig i KBT men för att åstadkomma förändring i livet behöver aktivt arbete med tanke- och känslobeteende personen upplever i nuet.Det kan finnas andra orsaker än det som startade problemen som gör att de inte försvinner. Därför är det viktigt med både dåtid och nutid. För att få problemen att försvinna gäller det att utveckla nya sätt att hantera och förhålla sig till problematiken. Målet är att de ska försvinna och göra livet lättare att leva.

Målorienterat samarbete

The individual's cooperation and understanding with the therapist is central to CBT. At the beginning of the therapy, goals are set together for the treatment. This clarifies the purpose of the therapy.

Treatment can also take place via the internet as the individual works more independently with goal formulation but with support via e-mail with the therapist.

Continuous evaluation

Evaluation during treatment is important. What works and does not work. Questionnaires can be used, but the focus is on how it goes compared to goals and sub-goals. The research produced by CBT shows that evaluation is an important basic philosophy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Today, CBT, which is an amalgamation of theories about our thoughts and information processing and behavioral therapy based on the theory of learning, also includes other treatment methods. A new feature is mindfulness, which originates from the Eastern meditation tradition.

Learning theory

Behaviors are what we do and think as well as bodily reactions.

The learning theory believes that all behaviors are learned and to change that means to re-learn or learn something new.

Classic conditioning means that we connect a frightening situation with a feeling of discomfort that is consolidated. Fear can also be due to model learning as we take after someone else's fear, for example a parent's.

Operand conditioning means that our behavior is governed by the consequences. If there is a positive consequence, we are happy to repeat the behavior. We become social and positive. If we experience fear, we avoid the situation which in the short term becomes a positive consequence that we avoid the fear that creates a state of anxiety.

How does the therapy work?

With the learning theory as a basis, a cognitive behavioral therapy always begins with a careful analysis of the behavior.

The analysis contains the problem that exists and what is the triggering factor and what consequences it has. Based on that analysis, it is decided what must be done for a new learning to take place.

The therapist teaches the client how the treatment will go and why a certain method is used. It gives the client general knowledge, but also knowledge of his physical and mental mechanisms.

Exposure means that the client is gradually exposed to what they have difficulty with, in small steps but for as long as necessary to reduce the fear or anxiety. A re-learning takes place when the anxiety one expects does not occur.

Role play, relaxation exercises and behavioral experiments are other common methods in CBT.