How does Cognitive Therapy work?
The Therapist
Cognitive Therapy views the patient and his or her disorders principally from the
perspective of the patient's cognitions.  At the same time, the cognitive therapist
understands that thoughts are not the original cause of all problems.  The therapist
will examine the patient's thoughts, moods, behavior, medical status, and general
environment in order to develop an understanding of the patient's problems.  
Whatever the original cause of a patient's problem, thoughts play an influential role in
allowing dysfunctional behavior to persist.  As a result, the cognitive therapist will
focus therapy on the patient's thoughts, and coordinate therapy with a medical doctor
or psychiatrist when and where this is appropriate.  The cognitive therapist will also
use techniques from other psychotherapeutic orientations, such as behavioral
therapy, where these are appropriate or the best means to address the patient's
dysfunctional cognitions.
The Patient
Cognitive Therapy depends on a strong and healthy therapeutic alliance between the
therapist and the patient.  Both must be committed to the therapeutic process and
achievement of the desired outcomes.  Further, the patient must understand that the
success of the therapy depends on his or her active involvement and participation.  
An important purpose of the therapy is to teach the Cognitive Therapy process to the
patient.  The patient is taught to identify, analize, and modify his or her irrational or
dysfunctional thoughts.  The patient should learn to apply the therapy to any future
problems and also to prevent relapse.
The Therapy Session
Cognitive Therapy focuses on resolving problems and accomplishing goals.  
Whatever the diagnosis may be, the therapy will begin by focusing on the patient's
presenting problems.  The Cognitive Therapy process is expected to last for a limited
time, usually for a period measurable in weeks or months.  Sessions are structured
and maintain their structure throughout the evolution of the theapy.  
© 2005 - All rights reserved.
Dr. Emel Stroup
(0538) 304 04 15
Cognitive Therapy in Action