Cognitive therapy, a system developed by Aaron Beck, stresses the importance of beliefsystems and thinking in determining behavior and feelings. The focus of cognitivetherapy is on understanding distorted beliefs and using techniques to change maladaptivethinking while also incorporating affective and behavioral methods. In the therapeuticprocess, attention is paid to thoughts that individuals may be unaware of and toimportant belief systems.Working collaboratively with clients, cognitive therapists take an educational role,helping clients understand distorted beliefs and suggesting methods for changing thesebeliefs. In doing so, cognitive therapists may give clients assignments to test out newalternatives to their old ways of solving their problems. As the therapist gathers datato determine therapeutic strategies, clients may be asked to record dysfunctionalthoughts and to assess their problems through brief questionnaires developed for a varietyof different psychological disorders. In their approach to treatment, cognitivetherapists have outlined types of maladaptive thinking and specific treatment strategiesfor many psychological disturbances, including depression and anxiety disorders.
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