CBT developed from Stoic 4 B.C, Taoism and phenomenological philosophies and the theories of Adler, Horney, Sullivan, Piaget and Bern.  

‘First wave’

Behaviour Therapy: Contributed by Thorndike, Wolpe, Lazarus, Skinner, Eysenck. Consists of a wide range of techniques that help to change unhealthy behaviour. Based on the theory that all behaviour is learned.

‘Second wave’

REBT (Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy): Founded by Albert Ellis. Directive approach, therapist is actively involved. Defined many cognitive distortions, theory based on ABCDEF model.

CT (Cognitive Therapy): Aaron T Beck, father of contemporary CBT. Collaborative, based on individual case conceptualization. Focused on understanding internal reality and origins thereof. CT model consists of linking biology, thoughts, feelings and behaviour within context of the person. Thoughts are explored to bring about change in other areas. Emotions, behaviour and circumstances (present and past) may all be points of focus during therapy, depending on treatment protocols and therapeutic relationship.

‘Third wave’

ST (Schema Therapy): Created by Jeff Young. Focus on complicated/chronic cases and Personality Disorders. Based on a combination of CBT, experiential, interpersonal and psychoanalytic therapies.

ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy): Designed by Steven Hayes. Using Acceptance and Mindfulness strategies, opening up to unpleasant feelings and moving to ‘valued behaviour’.

MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy): CT incorporating Mindfulness and Meditation to prevent depression relapse vs MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) which targets stress management vs MBRP (Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention) which works with addiction. Similar in theory. Focus on living in the moment, ‘decentring’ techniques meaning being aware of thoughts and feelings without reacting to them.

MCT (Meta Cognitive Therapy): Originated by Adrian Wells. Discovering what people believe about their thoughts, ‘thinking about thinking’. Therapy includes experiential, attentional and mindfulness components.

TBCT (Trial Based Cognitive Therapy): Written by Irismar De Oliveira. Metaphorical, organized and focused on changing Core Beliefs.

CBASP (Cognitive Behavioural Analysis System of Psychotherapy): Initiated by McCullough. Treatment designed for chronic depression, with an interpersonal focus.

CFT (Compassion Focused Therapy): By Paul Gilbert. In cases of shame, guilt experienced. Creating inner warmth, safety via compassion training.

Imagery rescripting: Reliving and transforming distressing images into self-soothing images.

EFT (Emotion Focused Therapy): Includes elements of Gestalt, person centred, systemic and attachment theory. Emotional awareness, regulation, reflection and transformation brings about required change through the therapeutic relationship.

DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy): Created by Marsha Linehan, often used for Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, substance abuse, suicidality. Based on CBT plus emotional regulation, distress tolerance and mindfulness. Combination of individual and group therapy.

UP (Unified Protocol for trans diagnostic conditions): Owned by David Barlow. Emotion focused CBT consisting of one protocol for anxiety and co-morbid conditions. Treatment consisting of five elements (emotional awareness, cognitive flexibility, identifying patters of emotional avoidance and maladaptive behaviour, awareness and tolerance of physical sensations, exposure exercises).

Resource: Wikipedia

In the 1950-1960’s Dr AT Beck, a psychiatrist and trained psychoanalyst relooked the theories about depression and realized that when he focused on the patients thinking patterns and transformed meaning it led to improvement in the patient’s condition.

Under psychological distress thinking often becomes distorted, whereby perceptions are interpreted according to own belief systems and assumptions which affect feelings and behavior. It is this interaction between the environment, thoughts, feelings, actions and biological components which make up the cognitive model.

By the mid 1980’s a system of psychotherapy was in place, which included:

  • Theory of personality and psychopathology based on empirical findings.
  • A model of psychotherapy.
  • Empirical findings based on over 1000 outcome based studies. He termed it Cognitive Therapy, which later became known as CBT and is used interchangeably.1,2



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