CBT incorporates the central theoretical principles of cognitive and behavioural therapy. CBT thus encompasses a variety of theoretical notions and accompanying intervention strategies from two initially separate frameworks:
Cognitive therapy seeks to identify, evaluate and restructure dysfunctional beliefs that are considered central to emotional disturbance and self-defeating behaviour.
Behavioural techniques are used as a means of reducing emotional distress, altering dysfunctional behaviour and restructuring cognition.
In addition, what Beck has referred to as intermediate or core beliefs, and what Ellis has referred to as core evaluative beliefs that are often more entrenched and more difficult to change, are often present but not verbally articulated and thus need first, to be uncovered. Cognitive therapy thus often initially involves the uncovering of such attitudes, assumptions, rules and core beliefs prior to any sort of intervention. Once identified, the most clinically-relevant beliefs are typically evaluated as either helpful or unhelpful and then replaced with healthier alternatives. This is referred to as “cognitive restructuring” or “cognitive disputation”.