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Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the merging of behavioral and cognitive therapies that mostly focuses on working with the client in the present. Although there are many approaches to CBT, there tend to be some common features. For example, CBT is generally a directive approach to psychotherapy that helps clients to challenge their problematic thoughts and to change the behaviors associated with those thoughts. In addition, most approaches to CBT are structured and time limited and include some type of homework where the client can practice the cognitive and behavioral strategies learned in the therapeutic setting. This entry focuses mostly on CBT as defined by Aaron Beck, one of the early founders of this approach.

Historical Context

The first approach to CBT to achieve widespread recognition was rational ...

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