Which Principle Underlies Cognitive Therapy

Welcome to our blog, where we take a dive deep into the fascinating world of psychology and therapy. In this article, we discuss one of the most effective therapeutic approaches that is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and try to understand which principle underlies cognitive therapy?


CBT therapy is a type of therapy that most people find helpful for different types of mental health problems such as anxiety and stress. It is well-known for being able to help with lots of different issues. So, what principle underlies cognitive behavioral therapy? Join us as we unlock the power of CBT and explore the core principle that drives its success.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that works on the change of people’s actions, behavior and way of thinking. With its extensive research and success in treating a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, ADHD, and physical pain, CBT has become a cornerstone in mental health treatment.

The basic principle underlying CBT therapy is that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all interconnected and these fundamentals are also known as the CBT triangle. When we start thinking too many negative thoughts, it can lead to negative emotions and unhelpful behaviors. In the same way, when we change our negative thoughts into positive, we can also change our emotions and the way we behave.

CBT helps people to identify and challenge their negative thoughts through cognitive restructuring. In cognitive restructuring, the therapist helps the client to examine their thoughts patterns and beliefs, and to see if they are based on reality. If there is no truth in their thoughts or in their imaginations, the therapist helps the patient to develop more realistic and helpful thoughts.

CBT therapy is a short-term therapy, generally lasting between 12 and 20 weeks but the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be long-lasting. Research has found that individuals who receive CBT have less chances to experience a return of their difficulties compared to those who do not receive CBT therapy.

Which Principle Underlies Cognitive Therapy?

These are the 9 principles underlies cognitive behavioral therapy are –

1. Building A Strong Therapeutic Relationship

Building trust and a good connection is really important before starting CBT therapy. The therapist needs to make sure the environment feels warm and caring by how they speak, how they use their body, and really understanding and sharing the patient’s feelings. 

At the end of each session, it’s helpful for therapists to talk about the treatment plan together with the patient and ask for their thoughts and ideas. If a therapist does these things, it makes a stronger relationship between the therapist and patient.

2. Goal-oriented And Problem-focused Approach

In simple terms, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focuses on achieving specific goals by knowing the patient’s problems as a starting point. By focusing on the problems raised during the initial session, therapists try to guide patients in defining their goals. 

For example, a depressed person may set a goal of sticking to a daily routine or want to maintain a healthy diet routine. Throughout the process of therapy, therapists help identify obstacles hindering goal attainment.

3. Empowering Patients To Become Their Own Therapists

In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), patients are encouraged to actively participate in their therapy. Apart from the therapy sessions, patients are given “homework” to do. This homework involves completing “CBT worksheets” that help them deeply understand what actually triggers their problems, practice some effective strategies to come out from difficult situations, and challenge negative thoughts. Doing this type of homework in CBT therapy is really helpful for their personal development.

4. Time-Limited Therapy

CBT therapy is designed as a short-term therapy, usually ranging from 6 to 14 sessions for people who suffer with anxiety and depression. However, it’s important to remember that people make progress at different rates, and some people may require more therapy sessions, especially those who have had extreme negative and unhelpful thoughts or beliefs for a long time.

5. Collaboration And Active Participation

Therapists tend to be more involved at the beginning of therapy, but as time goes on, they encourage patients to take an active role in their own treatment. Once patients are feeling better, they are given the right or power to decide what problems they want to focus on during therapy sessions.  This helps them to feel that they are in control of their progress.

6. Structured Sessions

Each CBT session follows a structured format in order to maximize effectiveness.  Usually, at the beginning of the session, the therapist checks how the person is in mood and how they are feeling and decides what they want to achieve during that time. Following this, the middle part of the session consists of reviewing the patient’s progress on previous tasks and providing new CBT worksheets. Finally, the session ends with a summary of the topics discussed.

7. Identifying And Challenging Dysfunctional Thoughts And Beliefs

The main goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to improve patients’ quality of life by helping them to evaluate or change their thoughts and beliefs in a positive way.  Therapists help patients identify cognitive distortions and teach them CBT techniques to challenge and redesign these negative patterns. Behavioral experiments are often conducted to test whether our thought and belief patterns are correct. They help us gather evidence that goes against unhelpful assumptions.

8. Individualized Formulation And Conceptualization

Therapists begin by gaining an initial understanding of the patient’s problems that the patient shares with them at the beginning of therapy. As therapy goes on, the therapist learns more about the patient and their problems as the patient shares more information. This ongoing learning helps the therapist come up with a proper treatment plan that is suited specifically to the patient.

9. Emphasizing The Present

While CBT therapy primarily focuses on finding the patient’s current issues, the therapist may attempt to explore past experiences if necessary or if the patient expresses a desire to attend to past events. By focusing primarily on the present, therapists help patients develop effective strategies to overcome cognitive distortions and improve their present well-being.

Best Institutes For Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Here I’m going to tell you the 4 best institutes for cognitive behavioral therapy.

1. Beck Institute For Cognitive Behavior Therapy – The Beck Institute is a leading provider of CBT training and certification. They offer several programs including live classes and online cbt therapy training, as well as provide training for specific populations, such as children and adolescents.

2. Academy Of Cognitive Therapy – The Academy of Cognitive Therapy is another well-respected provider of CBT training. They also offer several programs, including live sessions and CBT therapy online training, as well as training for specific populations, such as anxiety disorders and depression.

3. International Association Of Cognitive And Behavioral Therapies – The International Association of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies (IACBT) is one of the professional organizations that offers a variety of resources for CBT practitioners such as training programs, provide certification, and continuing education.

4. CBT Therapy In Pennsylvania University – The University of CBT therapy in Pennsylvania offers a Master’s in Applied Psychology in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. This wonderful program is designed to train students to become well known CBT therapists.


If someone doesn’t want to join any institute or doesn’t have time to take cognitive behavioral therapy online class then you can learn to do CBT therapy at home and get the benefit of self learning.

FAQWhich Principle Underlies Cognitive Therapy

Que1. What Does CBT Stand For?

Ans- CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Que2. What Are The 3 Important Components Of The Cbt Triangle?

Ans- The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) triangle is based on three crucial components – thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Que3. What Principle Underlies Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Ans- The principle underlying Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected with each other, and by shifting our thoughts and behaviors, we can positively command our emotions and well-being.

Que4. Is Online CBT Therapy Treatment Effective?

Ans– Yes, it can be effective for anyone, if you are consistent.

Que5. Which Disorders Does CBT Help In Curing?

Ans –  Cognitive behavioral therapy helps –

1. Reduce anxiety through cognitive behavioral therapy
2. CBT for insomnia
3. CBT for ADHD 
4. CBT for depression 

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