Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Christopher J. McCarthy & James A. Archer
Cognitive therapy is based on the idea that beliefs determine feelings and behavior. Albert Ellis, who along with Aaron Beck pioneered the cognitive approach to therapy, favored this quote by the Stoic philosopher Epictetus (first century A.D.): “What disturbs people's minds is not events but their judgments on events.” Cognitive therapists use a variety of techniques and approaches to identify and then modify the cognitive distortions and irrational beliefs that clients bring to counseling. Thoughts are typically defined as distorted or irrational when they do not square with reality or cannot be supported with objective evidence, and when they cause emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. Cognitive therapists utilize the counseling relationship to educate their clients about how thinking affects feelings and behaviors. Cognitive therapists formally or informally assess clients' patterns of thinking and how their beliefs have contributed to their current problems. A variety of techniques can then ...