Distinguishing Between Cognitive & Behavioral Approaches

Cognitive vs Behavioral

It is common for people to believe they have a clear understanding of cognitive and behavioral processes, treating them as separate concepts. Both of these aspects play a crucial role in our learning, understanding, and interactions with our environment and the important people in our lives. Cognitive elements involve our thinking, imagining, reasoning, and remembering abilities, while behavioral elements consist of the reactions or actions we take in response to stimuli in our environment. However, our mind and body do not function independently; rather, they work together, leading to a significant overlap between cognitive and behavioral therapies used to address cognitive and behavioral issues. Cognitive behavioral therapy, for example, combines techniques from both cognitive and behavioral therapies to overcome emotional and behavioral problems. The fundamental idea underlying this therapy is that mental problems stem from both cognitive and behavioral factors.

Key Takeaways

  • Cognitive elements involve thinking, imagining, reasoning, and remembering abilities.
  • Behavioral elements consist of reactions or actions in response to environmental stimuli.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy combines cognitive and behavioral techniques to address emotional and behavioral problems.

Cognitive Therapies

Cognitive therapies are based on the assumption that our behavior results from our feelings, which in turn are formed based on our thoughts or perceptions. The way we think influences how we start to feel. If this is accurate, the goal of cognitive therapies is to identify and change the faulty perceptions and thinking styles that cause mental problems, forcing a change in these self-defeating ideas and cognitions. Cognitive therapies focus on identifying issues in our cognitions and modifying them to make us more productive. The ultimate goal of cognition therapies is to help individuals cope with emotional distress and lead a more satisfying life.

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapies are based on the assumption that most of our behaviors and reactions to our environment result from a learning process and can therefore be unlearned. Many of our phobias cause us to overreact to situations, and behavioral therapies attempt to desensitize us by exposing us to these things and situations. Anxiety, for example, is a behavioral pattern that causes numerous problems in an individual’s life. It is possible to reduce anxiety levels by changing the way we react to stimuli in our environment.

Differences between Cognitive and Behavioral

  • Cognitive refers to our mental abilities, such as thinking, reasoning, memory, and imaging.
  • Behavioral refers to our actions and reactions to the stimuli present in our environment.
  • Cognitive therapies are used to treat emotional and mental problems, such as phobias, anxiety, and depression, assuming that our faulty perception and thinking styles are responsible for our behavior. These therapies attempt to change our thinking and perception.
  • Behavioral therapies believe that our reactions are a result of learning, and that it is possible to teach us to unlearn and modify our behaviors.
  • It is better to think of cognitive and behavioral therapies as lying apart on a continuum where cognitive-behavioral therapy is positioned between these extremes.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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