5 Types of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Exercises

December 27, 2021

People from all walks of life will struggle with all sorts of problems– mental health disorders, family drama, trauma, work stress, financial problems, substance use disorders, etc. For many of these problems, cognitive behavioral therapy exercises can be used to help you manage stress, treat mental illnesses, or just help you through them.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most common types of psychotherapy also known as “talk therapy.” This form of therapy is so effective and popular that “cognitive behavioral therapy near me” is among the top searches regarding the topic.

CBT sessions are structured where you and your therapist or counselor will work together to guide you through your problems through various exercises and techniques.

Essentially, sessions consist of talking about your problems or learning about your mental health disorder. Then, you’ll learn techniques to help you relax, cope, and manage.

What Is The Goal Of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Which of the following is a basic goal of cognitive-behavioral therapy?

  1. Identify the cause/s of your problems.
  2. Teach you to manage your mental illness symptoms.
  3. Modify your negative thinking.


The answer is all of the above. However, CBT’s ultimate goal is to help you become your own therapist. By helping you understand your current ways of thinking, recognize the healthy and unhealthy behaviors, and practice techniques to change maladaptive patterns, CBT therapists equip you to be able to function even after therapy.

What Are The Types of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Woman in Gray Long Sleeve Shirt Sitting on Couch

Source: Pexels.com

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT addresses negative thoughts and behaviors. It then aims to change these with strategies like mindfulness and emotional regulation.

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Family Therapy (CBFT)

CBTF examines the dynamics and relationships of family members and understands how they influence the family’s functioning and dysfunction. Then, counselors work on changing destructive interactional patterns and restructure misconceptions brought about by faulty interactions.

  • Multimodal Therapy

Multimodal Therapy focuses on seven interconnected modalities: behavior, feeling, imagination, cognition, interpersonal factors, emotions, and biological considerations.

  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

REBT helps you identify irrational beliefs and teaches you how to change those thought patterns.

What Are The Principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

What principle underlies cognitive-behavioral therapy? Several ideas support CBT. Here are some of them.

  • CBT is a problem-oriented practice that focuses on the now.

As said before, CBT aims to make you your own therapist. It allows you to solve your immediate problems, allowing you to “loosen up” from life’s obstacles. By tackling the issues you have now will prepare you for the future.

  • A good patient-therapist relationship is a must.

Trust is essential for CBT to work. If the patient sees that their therapist is skilled and genuine, sessions are more likely to produce a successful outcome.

  • CBT uses various techniques to alter behavior, thinking, and mood.

Everyone is different. So, each client would need different techniques, exercises, and therapy types to suit their situation.

Concerned African American male in smart casual clothes sitting on comfortable sofa and sharing problems with empathetic female consultant in contemporary psychotherapy center

Source: Pexels.com

What Are The Types of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Exercises?

There’s a plethora of exercises and techniques CBT therapists use to help their patients. Here are some of them.

  • Cognitive Restructuring Or Reframing

You may be someone who overthinks or assumes the worst. This way of thinking can negatively affect how you live and may even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Cognitive restructuring or reframing lets you take a hard look at these negative thought patterns and modify them. Your therapist will ask you about certain situations and let you talk about your thought process. From there, you can identify the negative ones. Once aware, you can learn to reframe or restructure them to be more positive.

  • Relaxation and stress reduction techniques

More often than not, stress is the root of most mental health problems. In CBT, your therapist may teach you relaxation exercises to help you cope with or manage how you feel during stressful situations.

These include:

  • Imagery
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Deep breathing exercises


Learning how to lower stress and increase control can be beneficial in dealing with social anxieties and phobias, too, in addition to stress.

Thoughtful well dressed man with journal lying on sofa in office of modern female therapist and telling about problems

Source: Pexels.com

  • Exposure Therapy

This trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy is ideal for people being treated for PTSD or just to confront phobias.

Your therapist will gradually expose you to things that are associated with your trauma or fear. They also guide you on how to cope and manage them.

Exposure should be done in small increments as not to overwhelm the patient. The goal is that, over time, you won’t be as scared of the event or thing anymore.

  • Guided Discovery

Guided discovery puts your therapist in your shoes, lets them see your situation from your eyes. They’ll then ask you questions that challenge views and broaden your thinking.

Part of the process involves giving evidence that supports your assumptions and some that do not.

This exercise aims to show you other perspectives, particularly ones that you may not have thought of before. With that, it gives you more choices on how to think and allows you the freedom to choose.

  • Role-Playing

Role-playing is more than a fun activity that lets you act. It can teach you or improve upon valuable skills, such as:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Social skills
  • Communication skills


In a way, role-playing is like practicing for potentially difficult situations. When you play out various scenarios, you can be prepared for anything.

Why Is CBT Beneficial?

Wherever you stand in life, there will always be problems. Sometimes, you think you cannot handle them, but with the help of your CBT therapist, you can learn how to manage and become better during challenging times.

Everyone goes through all sorts of problems and it’s rare that you share the exact situation with someone else. So, the various cognitive behavioral therapy exercises can help practically anyone and everyone.

Start your healing in a place that offers both mental and medical care. Turn to Buena Vista Health and Recovery Center. Fully equipped, our team of professionals provides addiction help to anyone struggling with a substance use disorder. Along with a variety of treatment programs, we can help you get your life back.

You can contact us at (800) 922-0095, or go to any of our locations: 



29858 N. Tatum Blvd.

Cave Creek, AZ 85331



3033 South Arizona Avenue

Chandler, Arizona 85248



5151 East Pima Road

Tucson, Arizona 85712

Disclaimer: This post serves a strictly educational use. It does not reflect the services, products, or therapeutic approaches of this establishment or its healthcare practitioners. This blog aims not to advertise the products, services, or therapeutic approaches of any other establishment that may be associated with this site. On the subject of safe or legal services, products, and appropriate therapies, recommendations ought to be given by a qualified professional on a case-to-case basis.