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Comparing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Cognitive Therapy: Which is Right for You?

Learn more about the differences between cognitive behavioral therapy vs. cognitive therapy in this comprehensive article

Table of Contents

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Cognitive Therapy

There are many different types of treatments used for mental health conditions. But, how do they differ? 

Disocver the differences between cognitive behavioral therapy vs. cognitive therapy below:

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy approach. It focuses on the relationship between:1

  • Thoughts
    • Emotions
  • Behaviors
It’s based on the premise that our thoughts and beliefs influence our feelings and actions.

What Does CBT Involve?

CBT involves working with a trained therapist. They help patients examine and challenge unhelpful thoughts and beliefs. These often contribute to psychological distress.
The goal is to replace these negative patterns with more constructive thoughts. This process is known as cognitive restructuring.2

What is Cognitive Therapy?

Cognitive therapy is also known as cognitive restructuring or cognitive treatment. It’s a therapeutic approach that focuses on identifying negative or distorted thought patterns.3It’s a core component of cognitive behavioral therapy. But, it can also get used alone.

Premise of Cognitive Therapy

The premise of cognitive therapy is that our thoughts and interpretations of events influence our emotions and behaviors. The therapy aims to help people become aware of their automatic thoughts.4

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Cognitive Therapy: Primary Differences

Although they’re related, these techniques are not the same. There are many differences between these two treatments.

Below are some of the differences between cognitive behavioral therapy vs. cognitive therapy:

Scope of Treatment

CBT is a broader therapeutic approach. It encompasses both cognitive and behavioral components. It addresses the interplay between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It also recognizes that all three of them are interconnected.

Scope of Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy focuses on thoughts, beliefs, and their influence on emotions and behaviors. It places an emphasis on cognitive processes and their modification.

Approach to Treatment

CBT integrates cognitive and behavioral techniques. It targets negative thoughts and beliefs. It also addresses behavioral patterns and reinforces adaptive behaviors.

Cognitive Therapy Approach

Cognitive therapy focuses on thoughts and beliefs. It aims to change negative thinking patterns to reduce distress. This also works to promote positive emotions and behaviors.

Behavioral Components

CBT focuses on changing behaviors to improve thoughts and emotions. It uses techniques like:
  • Behavior activation
    • Exposure therapy
  • Skills training

Behavioral Components of Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy also works on thoughts and emotions. But, it doesn’t use as many explicit behavioral techniques as CBT. It recognizes the influence of behaviors on thoughts and emotions but in a more indirect way.

Historical Development

CBT evolved from the integration of cognitive and behavioral therapies. It gained popularity in the 1970s. It was built upon the foundation of cognitive therapy by Aaron T. Beck. It also incorporated behavioral principles.

Development of Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy was developed by Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s as a treatment for depression. It first focused only on cognitive processes. It later became one of the components of CBT.

How Do These Approaches Influence the Treatment of Psychological Conditions?

When it comes to cognitive behavioral therapy vs. cognitive therapy, treatment may vary. This includes approaches and goals. 

Below are the main approaches of cognitive behavioral therapy vs. cognitive therapy:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’s Approach

CBT can approach treatment in several different ways. This includes:
  • Holistic methods
    • Symptom reduction
  • Skill building
  • Relapse prevention
    • Evidence-based treatments

Cognitive Therapy’s Approach

When it comes to cognitive behavioral therapy vs. cognitive therapy, approaches look similar. This is especially true given that cognitive therapy is one of the roots of CBT. Despite this, cognitive therapy is unique in a few different ways. 

Unique Treatment Approaches

Here are some of the unique approaches to cognitive therapy:
  • Thought modification
    • Core beliefs
  • Insight and awareness
  • Specific conditions
    • Collaborative approach

Distinct Theoretical Foundations of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Cognitive Therapy

When examining these treatments, it’s important to consider similarities. This includes the fact that both have theoretical foundations. But, there are differences between the foundations of these modalities.
These include:
  • CBT Theoretical Foundation: The foundation of CBT’s based on our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors being connected. It draws from cognitive theory. Cognitive theory suggests that our thoughts influence our feelings and actions. CBT also incorporates behavioral theories. These theories emphasize how our behaviors reinforce or change our thoughts and emotions.
  • Cognitive Therapy Theoretical Foundation: The theoretical foundation of cognitive therapy’s rooted in cognitive theory. It focuses on identifying negative or distorted thoughts that contribute to emotional distress. Cognitive therapy recognizes the influence of our thoughts on our emotions and behaviors. It aims to replace negative thoughts with more realistic and adaptive ones.

How Do These Frameworks Shape the Therapeutic Techniques Used?

When considering cognitive behavioral therapy vs. cognitive therapy, understanding theories is important. Understanding the theories behind these treatments is only part of choosing a treatment. It is also important to consider therapeutic techniques.

Here are the differences in the techniques of CBT vs. cognitive therapy:

Cognitive Therapy Techniques

It focuses on changing distorted thinking patterns. It does so through questioning and replacing negative thoughts. Clients may get assigned tasks outside of therapy. The goal of these tasks is to practice identifying and challenging negative thoughts.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques

CBT combines changing thoughts (cognitive restructuring) with addressing behaviors. It targets specific behaviors and uses strategies like gradual exposure and skills training.
Patients also learn practical skills to:
  • Cope with stress
    • Solve problems
  • Improve social interactions

Specific Psychological Conditions or Disorders Treated Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Cognitive Therapy

Both types of therapy can be beneficial for treating a variety of disorders. Due to their similarities, they often overlap. But, despite this, these are still two separate treatment options.When deciding between cognitive behavioral therapy vs. cognitive therapy, consider your condition.

Below are some of the differences in the conditions treated:

Conditions Treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Some conditions treated by CBT include:
  • Anxiety Disorders: CBT helps with anxiety disorders. It does so by addressing anxious thoughts and engaging in exposure exercises.
  • Depression: CBT treats depression by changing negative thinking and increasing positive activities.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): CBT, specifically exposure and response prevention, gets used to reduce OCD symptoms.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): CBT, including trauma-focused therapy, helps process and reduce PTSD symptoms.
  • Eating Disorders: CBT works to treat EDs when combined with other approaches. It targets distorted thoughts and behaviors related to eating disorders.

Conditions Treated with Cognitive Therapy

Below are some conditions treated by cognitive therapy:
  • Depression: Cognitive therapy focuses on changing negative thoughts and beliefs in depression treatment.
  • Anxiety Disorders: Cognitive therapy can get used for anxiety disorders. It works by challenging anxious thoughts.
  • Specific Phobias: Cognitive therapy addresses irrational thoughts and beliefs related to specific phobias.
  • General Psychological Distress: Cognitive therapy helps people with psychological distress by modifying unhelpful thinking patterns.

What are the Respective Advantages and Limitations of Each Approach?

When learning about CBT vs. cognitive therapy, there are factors to consider. This includes advantages and limitations. It is important to know that these may vary.
Some people may experience better results from cognitive behavioral therapy vs. cognitive therapy. The opposite is also true.
Here are some of the factors to consider with CBT vs. cognitive therapy. 

Advantages of CBT

CBT combines cognitive and behavioral techniques for a broader range of interventions. It provides practical skills and strategies for daily life. CBT also sets specific goals and provides a sense of progress.

CBT’s Evidence-Based

One of the most important factors is that CBT is an evidence-based treatment. As a result, there have been years of research spent understanding the benefits and usages of CBT.  It can be a beneficial treatment for a variety of conditions.

Limitations of CBT

Although CBT can be helpful, there are disadvantages or limitations, such as: 
  • Time-Limited: First, it is a time-limited treatment. Some people may need more treatment in the long term.
  • Focuses on the Present: It may also overlook emotions and interpersonal factors. It does so in favor of a focus on thoughts and beliefs. It may also overlook emotions and interpersonal factors in favor of a focus on thoughts and beliefs.

Advantages of Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy targets thoughts and beliefs. Because of this, it helps gain insight into thinking patterns. It also aims for lasting changes, much like CBT.

Limitations of Cognitive Therapy

There are limitations to address, though. First, cognitive therapy does not include the same behavioral aspect as CBT. Because of this, it may not address behaviors.

Less Versatile Treatment Option

It is also a less versatile treatment. As a cognitive-based treatment, it may not be a good choice for behavioral conditions. It also relies on patients’ ability for self-reflection.

Role of Thoughts and Beliefs in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Cognitive Therapy

In cognitive behavioral therapy vs. cognitive therapy, both therapies include cognitive theory. This means both address thoughts and beliefs. But, they do so in different ways.

Addressing Thoughts and Beliefs with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive therapy recognizes the impact of thoughts and beliefs on emotions. It uses cognitive restructuring to change negative thoughts and beliefs. It does so for better mental well-being. It also uses behavioral activation to address behaviors influenced by these thoughts.

Addressing Thoughts and Beliefs with Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy recognizes the impact of thoughts and beliefs on emotions. It uses cognitive restructuring to change negative thoughts and beliefs for better mental well-being. It targets core negative beliefs to change a person’s perspectives.

Both Treatments Address Thoughts and Beliefs

With these treatments, both acknowledge thoughts and beliefs’ role in emotions and behaviors. CBT adds a behavioral aspect, while cognitive therapy focuses on thoughts. The goal is to develop healthier thinking patterns for improved well-being.

What Empirical Evidence Supports the Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Cognitive Therapy?

CBT’s supported by research across various conditions. This includes those such as:
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • OCD
  • PTSD
  • Eating disorders
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have shown the effectiveness of CBT in reducing symptoms. It also improves functioning.

Empirical Support of Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy has empirical support for treating depression and anxiety disorders. There is also research supporting this therapy’s treatment of other conditions. These are conditions related to thoughts and beliefs. It’s able to lead to lasting changes in thinking patterns. It also improves emotional well-being.

Both Treatments Are Effective

Both CBT and cognitive therapy have strong empirical evidence supporting their effectiveness. This makes them recommended therapies for various conditions. Ongoing research further enhances our understanding and application of these approaches.

Implications for Clinical Practice and Patient Outcomes

When researching CBT vs. cognitive therapy, it’s important to understand the implications. This includes clinical practice and patient outcomes.

Clinical Practice Implications

There are many clinical practice implications with cognitive behavioral therapy vs. cognitive therapy. These are factors to expect from your therapist. This can include the following:
  • Tailored Treatment: Therapists customize treatment plans based on individual needs, symptoms, and goals.
  • Collaboration: Therapists and clients work together to address maladaptive thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors.
  • Skill-Building: Therapists teach practical skills for managing symptoms and coping with stressors.
  • Flexibility: Therapists adapt techniques and integrate other approaches to benefit the client.
  • Patient Outcome Implications: There are also patient outcome implications.
  • Symptom Reduction: CBT and cognitive therapy reduce symptoms, improving quality of life.
  • Improved Coping: Clients learn effective coping skills and healthier thinking patterns.
  • Prevention of Relapse: These therapies help prevent relapse and maintain progress.
  • Enhanced Well-Being: Clients experience improved mood, self-esteem, and resilience.
  • Empowerment: Clients become active participants in their healing process, fostering self-efficacy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Cognitive Therapy: The Interplay Between Cognitions, Emotions, And Behaviors

Both approaches emphasize the interplay between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. They change negative thoughts to improve emotions and behaviors. This enhances psychological functioning.

Addressing This Interplay with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Below are the ways that cognitive behavioral therapy addresses this interplay.

Thoughts

CBT identifies and changes negative thoughts to improve emotions and behaviors.

Emotions

Cognitive behavioral therapy acknowledges that thoughts can trigger emotions. It aims to reduce distressing emotions through thought restructuring.

Behaviors

CBT targets maladaptive behaviors influenced by thoughts. CBT encourages practicing new, adaptive behaviors.

Addressing This Interplay with Cognitive Therapy

Below are the ways that cognitive therapy addresses this interplay:
  • Thoughts: Cognitive therapy focuses on modifying negative thoughts to reduce distress. This works to promote positive emotions and behaviors.
  • Emotions: Cognitive therapy recognizes that thoughts shape emotions. It aims to reduce negative emotions through thought changes.
  • Behaviors: While thoughts and emotions are primary, it acknowledges their impact on behaviors.

How Can Boardwalk Recovery Help Patients Get CBT or Cognitive Therapy?

Ready to transform your thoughts and reclaim your life? Explore the power of therapy with Broadwalk Recovery.

About Our Programs

Our expert therapists offer both cognitive behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy. Each program gets tailored to your unique needs.
Whether you prefer cognitive behavioral therapy vs. cognitive therapy, our team is here for you.

Contact Boardwalk Recovery Today

Take the first step towards lasting change. Schedule your therapy session at Broadwalk Recovery today. Your path to a healthier mind starts here.

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