Discuss the major differences between behavioral and cognitive approaches. What are the advantages of incorporating a cognitive approach when working with clients? What are the disadvantages?

Mental disorders can be treated using different techniques. Two well-known techniques are behavioral and cognitive approaches.  Each method as its advantages and disadvantages.

Cognitive Behavior therapy is used to alter overt behavior as well as the thought patterns that drive it. The goal of this therapy is to help people break out of distorted, harmful patterns of thinking and replace them with healthier ones that in turn result in positive behaviors. (Feldman, 2010).

Behavior-oriented therapy works without looking for unconscious motivations and meanings. Instead, it focuses on helping people to realize that their behaviors are learned and can be modified. With this type of therapy, it is posits that feelings will change as behavior changes (Feldman, 2010). Behavior modification is one type of behavior-oriented therapy and focuses on eliminating undesirable habits by providing positive reinforcement for the more desirable behaviors.


Feldman, R. S. (2010) Psychology and your life. New York: McGraw Hill.

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