Cognitive therapy, a core approach within a collection of psychotherapeutic techniques known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is fundamentally about changing peoples' thoughts-helping them overcome difficulties by recognizing and changing dysfunctional thinking styles. Among other strategies, it requires encouraging the development of skills for rehearsing new habits of thought, modifying biases in judging and interpreting social and emotional information, and for testing assumptions underlying dysfunctional and negative, distorted thinking. In How and Why Thoughts Change, Dr. Ian Evans deconstructs the nature of cognitive therapy by examining the cognitive element of CBT, that is, how and why thoughts change behavior and emotion. There are a number of different approaches to cognitive therapy, including the classic Beck approach, the late Albert Ellis's rational-emotive psychotherapy, Young's schema-focused therapy, and newer varieties such as mindfulness training, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and problem-solving strategies.
Evans identifies the common principles underlying these methods, attempts to integrate them, and makes suggestions as to how our current cognitive therapies might be improved. He draws on a broad survey of contemporary research on basic cognitive processes and integrates these with therapeutic approaches. While it may seem obvious that how and what we think determines how and in what manner we behave, the relationship between thought and action is not a simple one. Evans addresses questions such as: What is the difference between a thought and a belief? How do we find the cause of a thought? And can it really be that thought causes behavior and emotion, or could it be the other way around? In a reader-friendly style that avoids jargon, this innovative book answers some pertinent questions about cognitive therapy in a way that clarifies exactly how and why thoughts change. Evans demonstrates that understanding these concepts is a linchpin to providing and improving therapy for clients.