Difference Between Cognitive and Behavioral

Cognitive vs Behavioral

We think we know all about our cognitive and behavioral processes and treat them as different concepts. Both these aspects are important in all our learning and understanding as well as dealing with our environment that includes important people in our lives. Whereas cognitive elements are our thinking, imagining, reasoning, and remembering abilities, behavioral elements are the reactions or actions that we take in response to stimuli present in our environment. However, our mind and our body work, not in isolation, but in unison which is why there is a lot of overlap between our cognitive and behavioral therapies to solve cognitive and behavioral problems. In fact, there is even a cognitive behavioral therapy that combines the techniques of both cognitive and behavioral therapies to overcome our emotional and behavioral problems. The basic premise underlying such therapy is that our mental problems have their origins in cognitive as well as behavioral factors. Let us take a closer look.

Cognitive Therapies

Our cognitive therapies are based upon the assumption that our behavior is a result of our feelings and our feelings are formed on the basis of our thoughts or perceptions. How you think, is how you start to feel. If this is true, then the aim of cognitive therapies is to get to the faulty perceptions and thinking styles that cause mental problems and also to force a change in these self defeating ideas and cognitions. The focus of cognitive therapies lies in unearthing problems, in our cognitions, and changing them so as to make us more productive. In fact, the aim of cognition therapies is to help an individual to cope with his emotional distress and lead a more satisfying life.

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapies are based upon the assumptions that most of our behaviors and the way we react to our environment are a result of a learning process and as such these behaviors can also be unlearned. Most of our phobias cause us to overreact to things and situations and behavioral therapies try to desensitize us by exposing us to these things and situations. Even anxiety is a behavioral pattern that causes so many problems in the lives of an individual. It is possible to reduce the levels of our anxieties by making us change the way we react to the stimuli in our environment.

What is the difference between Cognitive and Behavioral?

• Cognitive refers to our mental abilities such as thinking, reasoning, memory, imaging etc.

• Behavioral refers to our actions and reactions to the stimuli present in our environment.

• Cognitive therapies are used to treat our 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 try to make changes in 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 finds a place right in between these extremes.