Cognitive behavioural therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy brings together two types of therapeutic treatments, because although behavioural therapies are successful in the treatment of some pathologies, other aspects involved in the way in which people respond to different situations have to be taken into account.
One part of cognitive behavioural therapy is behavioural therapy, which is based on the fact that people acquire behavioural habits that they have learned, either from the education they have received or from their life experiences. The learning of behavioural habits is related to the situations and consequences that each behaviour receives. In this way it can be understood that certain pernicious behaviours are maintained if they receive a positive response. In the case of children, for example, it is highly likely that a child will cry a lot and increasingly frequently if adults offer him sweets to calm him down every time he cries. When these behavioural habits prove inadequate and generate negative consequences, it is possible to learn new forms of behaviour that are more adaptive and provide greater well-being. It is important to find out which mechanisms lead each individual to maintain certain behaviours in order to be more aware of which stimuli cause a particular behaviour and what are the consequences of maintaining that behaviour.
Another part of cognitive behavioural therapy is cognitive therapy, which helps patients recognise negative automatic thoughts (or cognitions), and relate cognitions to effects and behaviour. Cognitive therapy helps identify the basis for believing the absolute certainty of thoughts and assessing whether they are in fact false beliefs that should be changed. Since the appearance of third generation therapies, such as the practice of mindfulness, cognitive instruction is no longer an urgent need to change our way of assessing situations and now leans toward accepting who we are, understanding that change will come from that acceptance.
We can use behavioural/cognitive and mindfulness strategies in the treatment of pathologies or disorders in childhood, adolescence and adulthood alike. The best therapeutic option for each person is chosen depending on the problem presented. When working with children or adolescents, parents should become experts in their child’s treatment so that they can confidently use the best tools to help them in their behaviour and, at the same time, do so with sufficient agility that the “technique” does not dominate the affection that they must continue to give their son or daughter.