The basis for Cognitive Therapy as described by Aaron T. Beck, M.D.

My present notion of cognitive therapy is that it is based on a theory of psychopathology (information processing model), and the techniques that are utilized are those that can help to ameliorate the dysfunctional aspects of the individual’s beliefs, interpretations, and avoidance behaviors, as well as dysfunction in attention and memory. Thus, in a given case, at a given time, the therapist might choose to focus on the beliefs, misinterpretations, safety behaviors, selective focus or selective attentional inhibitions, aberrations in memory, or defects in executive function. The selections of interventions will vary according to what seems to be most feasible for a given patient, and also, the therapist’s particular skills. Basically, the therapeutic armamentarium that is available will be utilized selectively. In general, however, the main thrust of the therapy will be to modify the dysfunctional cognitive processing.