Cognitive therapy: foundations, conceptual models, applications and research

Paulo Knapp Aaron T Beck About the authors

OBJECTIVE: There is growing interest in the cognitive model of psychotherapy stimulated by an extensive body of research findings demonstrating its effectiveness for a varied set of psychiatric disorders and medical conditions. This review article aims to give an overview of the historical and philosophical background to contemporary cognitive and cognitive-behavioral approaches to psychotherapy, pointing out similarities across and differences between them. A presentation of the cognitive model as designed by Aaron Beck, and some of the cognitive and behavioral techniques used in emotional disorders will be discussed. Outcome studies and meta-analyses contemplating the efficacy of cognitive and cognitive-behavioral therapies in various psychological and medical conditions will be briefly depicted. METHOD: Through review of articles and textbooks, especially the works of Aaron Beck from which this review article has heavily borrowed, the origins and foundations of the cognitive-behavioral approaches to the treatment of psychiatric and medical conditions are described. Through Medline, the search of randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses has pointed out the evidence-based efficacy of this psychotherapeutic approach. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Cognitive-behavioral therapies in general and Beckian cognitive therapy in particular hold a theoretical foundation and a varied set of techniques, whose evidence-based efficacy was demonstrated for the treatment of diverse mental and physical conditions.

Cognitive therapy; Behavior therapy; Review literature; Techniques and procedures; Research


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