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Welcome to Creative CBT. This is the website of therapist/life coach Benjamin Mathews. Benjamin specialises in cognitive behavioural therapy via the internet. If you are new, why not check out the Getting started tab on the right hand side? Alternatively, click here if you would like to contact Benjamin or make an appointment.

Ten Key Principles in Cognitive Therapy

In her book Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond, Judith Beck lists ten key principles in cognitive therapy. I have rephrased them, in order to make them more accessible, but I have also included a summarised version of the original from her book.

The ten principles of cognitive therapy (simplified):
No.1 The client's difficulties should be described in a way that helps the problem solving approach of cognitive therapy.
No.2 The client and therapist should be on good terms with each other and trust each other.
No.3 The therapist and the client should be a team. Cognitive therapy should be teamwork. In the beginning the therapist may be more active in sessions than the client, but over time the client will be empowered to share many of the roles previously filled by the therapist. This will eventually enable the client to become independent, and in a sense their own personal therapist available at an instant 24/7.
No.4 Cognitive therapy should be goal oriented and problem focused. The therapist and client should work together to identify the thoughts that are acting as obstacles. Then they can problem solve in order to tackle those obstacles and reach their goal.
No.5 Cognitive therapy emphasises the now. Of course, for some patients it will be necessary to examine the past in order to see where the difficulties first started or came from, but where looking at the past is not necessary, the here and now will be focused on instead.
No.6 Teaching the client "to fish" so that they can survive on their own. The therapist wants to teach the client the counselling and problem solving skills they need so that in time they can survive on their own.
No.7 Cognitive therapy aims to be short. It aims to empower the client so that therapy doesn't need to be life long. As the client becomes empowered, gradually the therapist and client decide to meet less and less. Every once in awhile the client and therapist can meet again, to go over the problem solving techniques again or address any new difficulties that have come up. If necessary therapy can become more frequent again, but  most often this is not necessary.
No.8 Sessions are structured – they have a beginning middle and end, and activities for each.
No.9 Cognitive therapy should teach clients the problem solving skills they need.
No.10 In addition to cognitive therapy methods, other counselling/therapeutic techniques can be used, here at the creative clinic especially, we hope to emphasise this where beneficial.

The ten principles of cognitive therapy (original - summarised):
Principle No. 1. Cognitive therapy is based on an ever-evolving formulation
of the patient and her problems in cognitive terms.
Principle No. 2. Cognitive therapy requires a sound therapeutic alliance.
Principle No. 3. Cognitive therapy emphasizes collaboration and active
participation.
Principle No. 4. Cognitive therapy is goal oriented and problem focused.
Principle No. 5. Cognitive therapy initially emphasizes the present.
Principle No. 6. Cognitive therapy is educative, aims to teach the patient
to be her own therapist, and emphasizes relapse prevention.
Principle No. 7. Cognitive therapy aims to be time limited.
Principle No. 8. Cognitive therapy sessions are structured.
Principle No. 9. Cognitive therapy teaches patients to identify, evaluate,
and respond to their dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs.
Principle No. 10. Cognitive therapy uses a variety of techniques to change
thinking, mood, and behaviour.

Taken from pages 5-9 of Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond, by Judith Beck. The original elaborates on each principle, giving more information and examples.