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Confronting Bad Behavior Is Not New


As the leadership and staff of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, we are shocked and saddened by the attack on the US Capitol and on American Democracy. As an organization committed to the understanding and improvement of human functioning and to the enhancement of health and well-being, ABCT stands firmly against threatening and hate-filled behavior, especially when directed toward those who are most vulnerable.

Perhaps this event is not surprising. There was plenty of press leading up to it. But to see the clips on news stations and to hear reactions to this event from leaders around the globe gives us pause. Violence, looting, and disregard for democracy are unacceptable. The psychological effects of exposure to terrorism, whether foreign or domestic, are well-documented and include posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and substance use. As a membership organization focused on advancing the scientific understanding, assessment, prevention, and treatment of human problems through the global application of behavioral, cognitive, and biological evidence-based principles we must make ourselves accessible to those who do not know how to cope with these terrifying current events.

What can you do as a citizen, therapist, or member? Be a good citizen. Model good behavior. The golden rule continues to work well as a starting point. Teach tolerance and teach what’s right. As parents, as teachers, as bosses, even as friends and colleagues, share your expectations and the strategies for accomplishing them. We live in turbulent times and need our members to be the leaders in their setting and to share their knowledge on combating anger, anxiety, depression, and suicide prevention based on science. As scientists, we must further speak out against the deliberate misinformation and distortions that fueled these actions and the blatant racism that buoyed them.

Below are actions you could consider taking:

Share your knowledge and skill sets: Inform local community groups, religious organizations, regional newspapers, websites, and other opportunities in your area that there are many evidence-based treatments to deal with anger, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and suicide prevention.

Teach tolerance. Don’t miss opportunities to teach our children what’s right and to share examples of how we live with our friends and colleagues. Reinforce the importance of listening.

Be Informed. Some of the following ABCT materials might help in understanding some of the problems and how best to overcome them and/or help others:

Related Information

What Is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of treatment that is based firmly on research findings.  It places emphasis on changing your cognitions (thoughts) or behaviors (actions) in order to effect change in how you feel. These approaches help people in achieving specific changes or goals.

Changes or goals might involve:

A way of acting: like smoking less or being more outgoing;
A way of feeling: like helping a person to be less scared, less depressed, or less anxious;
A way of thinking: like learning to problem-solve or get rid of self-defeating thoughts;
A way of dealing with physical or medical problems: like reducing back pain or helping a person stick to a doctor’s suggestions.

Cognitive behavioral therapists usually focus more on the current situation and its solution, rather than the past. They concentrate on a person’s views and beliefs about their life. CBT is an effective treatment for individuals, parents, children, couples, and families. The goal of CBT is to help people improve and gain more control over their lives by changing behaviors that don’t work well to ones that do.

How to Get Help

If you are looking for help, either for yourself or someone else, you may be tempted to call someone who advertises in a local publication or who comes up from a search of the Internet. You may, or may not, find a competent therapist in this manner. It is wise to check on the credentials of a psychotherapist. It is expected that competent therapists hold advanced academic degrees. They should be listed as members of professional organizations, such as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies or the American Psychological Association. Of course, they should be licensed to practice in your state. You can find competent specialists who are affiliated with local universities or mental health facilities or who are listed on the websites of professional organizations. You may, of course, visit our website ( and click on “Find a CBT Therapist”

The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) is an interdisciplinary organization committed to the advancement of a scientific approach to the understanding and amelioration of problems of the human condition. These aims are achieved through the investigation and application of behavioral, cognitive, and other evidence-based principles to assessment, prevention, and treatment.

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