The main cognitive theories are
- Psychoanalytic Theory: Described by Freud as the “royal road” of psychotherapy. In this theory, the unconscious drives and instincts of an individual influence the development of personality and behavior. These unconscious forces are described in terms of sexuality, aggression, and defense mechanisms. These mechanisms include denial, displacement, rationalization, projection, reaction formation, and regression.
- Behavioral Theory: Behaviorism is based on the idea that all human behavior can be explained through stimulus-response relationships. This theory was developed by B.F. Skinner, who introduced a number of behavioral experiments, including operant conditioning and Pavlovian conditioning.
- Humanistic Theory: Humanistic theory, put forward by Carl Rogers, is based on the belief that an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by his or her social environment. Humanistic therapy emphasizes the need to help patients achieve a more satisfying interpersonal relationship.