Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a school of therapy that interferes with both cognitions and behaviors. CBT states that a person’s thoughts create emotions and behavior emerges as a result. Their techniques also aim to interfere with both cognitions and behaviors.

Technique of Receiving Automatic Thoughts

Automatic thoughts are the thoughts that first come to the mind of the person after the event, whose reality has not been questioned and evaluated. The more biased the thought that comes to our mind about the event, the more dysfunctional in our emotions and behavior. CBT says that thoughts are conjectures and can be tested in their assumptions. It does this testing by collecting evidence from one’s thinking.

To get the person’s automatic thought, ‘What were you thinking at that moment?’ the question is posed. In CBT, treatment usually begins with addressing automatic thoughts.

Exposure Technique

It is to confront the client with the feared situation. It is to encourage them to be exposed to the situation they are worried about equal to the one whose anxiety is decreasing.

It consists of 4 stages.

1- Evaluation phase: Evaluating the anxiety dimension of the client and collecting detailed information about the problem.

2- Preparing the client for therapy: It is cognitively prepared by working with the client’s thoughts.

3- Exposure: It is confrontation and encouragement until the anxiety and fear decrease and disappear.

4- Self-control phase: Encouraging him to become his own therapist in order to consolidate the gains he has made throughout the sessions. Frequent encouragement about anxiety-provoking situations.


It is to enable the clients to learn the new behavior by observing the behavior of another person.

Symbolic Modeling: We can present the event and characters there as a model by suggesting a movie book about the client’s problem.

Participatory Modeling: Using a real model of what will be taught to the client. It is the technique in which the therapist participates. It is the therapist showing and modeling how to ride a client who cannot ride the escalator.

Systematic Desensitization

It is gradually confronting the person with the feared or anxious situation. The goal is to normalize what is feared. It is often used in phobias. First of all, the individual is taught relaxation-breathing exercises. The client is made a list of situations related to the thing he fears from the least frightening to the most frightening. Afterwards, it is gradually revitalized and relaxation exercises are applied. The last is gradually experienced in real life.

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