Human beings are made up of the intermingling of mind, body, and spirit. Put in other words, an individual person is, among other things, a collection of biological structures and processes, thoughts (cognition), behaviours, and emotions. Intervening at any of these levels will inspire change on each other level. That is, a change in behaviour will inspire change in thoughts and emotions, a change in thought patterns will inspire change in behaviour and emotions, and a change in emotions will inspire change in thoughts and behaviour.
Clinicians who incorporate cognitive behavioural techniques into therapy believe that some people respond especially well to learning new ways of behaving and thinking. For these individuals, intervening at the level of behaviour and cognition (thought), is an extremely effective way to stimulate change at the emotional level. Examples of behavioural change include learning to be more assertive, learning parenting skills, or learning communication skills. Examples of cognitive change include learning to examine the assumptions that guide the way you look at the world (for example, believing that you have nothing to offer other people), and learning to evaluate your thoughts so that you may change the thinking patterns that are self-defeating.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is similar to other types of therapy in that it is based on trust and directed at fostering greater self-awareness. It differs in its emphasis on helping the client to become a trained observer of his or her own behavior and a trained evaluator of his or her thinking. As such, cognitive behavioural therapy typically involves 'homework assignments' such as keeping a record of thinking patterns or testing new behaviours.