Cognitive therapy is an active, time-sensitive, problem-focused approach to treatment that was developed in the 1960s and 1970s by Aaron T. Beck at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. The central premise underlying cognitive therapy is that the way in which people think or make meaning of their life circumstances plays a large role in their emotional experiences and behavioral responses. Beck was attempting to validate the theoretical tenets of psychoanalytic theory when he observed that helping patients identify and shift thinking that was exacerbating their mental health problems seemed to be more direct and efficient in treating these problems than the psychoanalytic techniques that were commonly used at the time. On the basis of that observation, Beck implemented a systematic research program in ...

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