Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them. – Epictetus
The cognitive-behavioral therapy, one of the many currents in today’s psychotherapy, have started in the 20th century and was developed on the basis set by Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck.
Cognition means to believe, to think and so, the cognitive therapy can be considered the „thoughts therapy” or, better, the treatment of the negative mental status through amplification of the deep beliefs in the positive aspects and values.
The cognitive-behavioral therapies represent a blend of the cognitive with the behavioral techniques. It is considered a therapy based on efficiency, wide-spectrum of applicability and a relative fast achievement of results.
The main current in this type of therapy stays in the premises that the changes of the dysfunctional thoughts or of those with a negative content leads directly to changes within the emotional and behavioral spectrum.
The therapy aims at identification of the irrational cognitions (thoughts) and defeating them through logical argumetation, associated with behavioral exercises.
The cognitive-behavioral therapy helps not only during the therapy sessions, but also afterwards, because it enables the client a new way to respond to external stimuli, in a productive and efficient manner.
Among the indications for this type of therapy worth mentioning: stress-related disorders, anxiety disorders, somatophorm disorders, adjusting disorders, sexual dysfunctions, personality disorders, eating disorders, substance addictions, mood disorders. The usefulness of cognitive-behavioral interventions was cited also in the supportive treatment of various conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, hypertension, post-miocardial infarction depression, sleep disorders, menopause, cancer, diabetes, dysmenorrheal, migrains and other syndroms associated chronic pain. The therapy can prove itself useful for problems related to self-esteem, personal development, increasing the the personal tolerance to stress and emotions.
The process involves a therapeutical alliance between the client and the therapist, based on trust and honesty, centered on person’s needs. Frequently, the therapy involves exercises and homework designed for the client, to be completed in between the sessions. The cognitive-behavioral therapy uses as instruments questionnaires, inventories of thoughts or activities, scales for evaluations, screening or diagnostic purposes. Each session has a specific agenda, based on a systematic, rigorous and profound therapeutical approach.
The length of the therapy process is an individual feature – in general, for this type of therapy the total number of sessions is between 5 and 20. The therapy is a short-time approach, based on “here” and “now”. The frequency of the sessions varies from case to case, one session per week being sufficient for the majority of the clients. In some other cases it can be started with a more frequent approach, followed later by a decrease in the frequency of the sessions (in the maintenance phase towards the end of the process).
The sessions are entirely confidential, with very few exceptions (immediate or imminent threat towards client’s life or towards other person’s life, the immediate risk for abuse against a vulnerable person – child, adult unable physically or mentally to express his/her will).