Recovery Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT therapy and Recovery Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R) in PA

When meeting with new clients, we often hear how they’re looking for something different from previous therapy experiences. They usually describe meeting regularly with a mental health counselor or psychologist, talking about their past week(s) since their last session, sometimes feeling validated and better, but noticing that this feeling often doesn’t last long. Although traditional talk therapy can be effective in alleviating some symptoms or challenges, sometimes a change of pace or a more nuanced form of treatment might be needed.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in evidenced based psychotherapy (EBP) approaches to mental health treatment. Two of the most commonly used approaches are Recovery Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CT-R and CBT are both evidence-based therapies (EBT) that are commonly used to treat a diverse range of mental health issues. While they share some similarities in their approaches, there are also significant differences between the two. In this blog post, we will explore the key differences between CT-R and CBT.

What is Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R)?

Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy is a newer form of therapy that is based on the important foundational principles of Cognitive Therapy (CT), but places a greater emphasis on the client’s recovery journey and personal growth. It is designed to help people with mental health conditions to develop their own goals and take an active role in their recovery by focusing on their own beliefs, values, and most of all aspirations.

CT-R is based on the idea that mental health conditions can be activated by negative/defeatist beliefs that will result in changes in mood and behavior. CT-R emphasizes that the best way to help people recover is by placing importance on self-determination and empowerment, as well as the development of coping skills and strategies to manage symptoms. The therapist works with the client to develop a collaborative relationship, where the client is an active participant in their own recovery journey while finding new ways to think and behave.

Two women in therapy using Cognitive therapy approaches such as CT-R and CBT.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a widely used therapeutic approach that aims to change negative patterns of thinking and behavior. It is based on the idea that negative thoughts and beliefs can lead to negative emotions and behaviors, and that by changing these negative thoughts and beliefs, people can improve their mental health. CBT is often used to treat anxiety disorders, depression, and other mental health conditions.

In CBT, the therapist works with the client to identify negative patterns of thinking and behavior and develop strategies to replace them with more positive ones. This may involve cognitive restructuring, where the therapist helps the client to identify and challenge their negative thoughts, and behavioral techniques, such as exposure therapy or relaxation training, to help the client change their behaviors.

How are CT-R and CBT Similar?

CT-R and CBT share many similarities as they are both evidenced based and designed to help individuals with various mental health disorders, which include depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis, etc. Here are some areas that both therapies share:

Focus on thoughts and behaviors: Both CT-R and CBT focus on changing negative thoughts and maladaptive behaviors that can contribute to mental health disorders.

Goal-oriented: Both therapies are goal-oriented and aim to help individuals achieve specific, measurable, and realistic goals.

Time-limited: Both therapies can be time-limited and typically involve a set number of sessions.

Collaborative: Both therapies involve a collaborative approach between the therapist and the client, with the therapist providing guidance and support.

Empowerment-focused: Both therapies are empowerment-focused, helping individuals to take control of their thoughts and behaviors and learn new coping skills.

Person-centered: Both therapies take a person-centered approach, meaning that they are tailored to the individual’s unique needs and circumstances.

Overall, while there are some differences between CT-R and CBT, they share many similarities and are both effective in helping individuals recover from mental health disorders.

What are the key differences between CT-R and CBT?

While CT-R and CBT share some similarities, they differ in several key ways:

Focus on recovery

One of the main differences between CT-R and CBT is the recovery orientation of CT-R. While CBT focuses on changing negative thoughts and behaviors and alleviating symptoms to improve functioning, CT-R emphasizes the importance of the client’s own recovery journey and personal growth. The therapist works with the client to identify their own aspirations and develop strategies to help them achieve them with the aim of the client regaining a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.

Emphasis on resiliency

CT-R emphasizes the importance of resilience and self-determination. This approach encourages individuals to take an active role in their recovery while developing the skills and strategies they need to recognize their own capability in managing their symptoms.

Focus on strengths and integration of lived experiences

CT-R also places a greater emphasis on the client’s strengths and resources. The therapist helps the client to identify their strengths and build on them, rather than focusing solely on their weaknesses and negative thoughts. CT-R integrates an individual’s lived experience into the therapy process. This approach recognizes that individuals have unique experiences and challenges that may not be adequately addressed by traditional therapies.

Resilience in CBT and CT-R


Recovery Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are two commonly used evidenced based therapeutic approaches with some fundamental differences. While CBT is effective in treating a wide range of mental health conditions, CT-R is designed for individuals who struggled to gain benefit from other approaches. CT-R’s focus on recovery, empowerment, lived experience, and collaboration can help individuals with severe mental illness regain a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, either approach will be worth considering.

Counseling can help you move towards your aspirations and a life worth living. Our Kennett Square counseling center has caring clinicians who specialize in psychotherapy, collaborative assessment, supervision, and consultation. Feel free to explore their profiles by following these links:

To start your counseling journey, follow these simple steps:

  • Contact Edward Jenny & Associates
  • Meet with one of our expert ADHD specialists and therapists
  • Start working towards your best self and accomplish the goals that are meaningful for you!

Other Counseling Services at Edward Jenny & Associates

Maybe you’re wondering how attachment styles in relationships can service you in other areas of life. If you need additional help, we can serve you.Our therapists also specialize collaborative assessmenttreatment for depressionPTSD treatment and trauma therapycounseling for college studentscouples therapy, and assessment, and treatment for anxiety. We also provide an anxiety support group for those who work better in a community setting. Additionally, we offer consultation and supervision for those seeking professional support. We look forward to working with you and developing better mental health in person or via online therapy in Pennsylvania!

*This blog is partially generated by the use of the GPT-3 language model developed by OpenAI, the generated text was then edited and refined by the author. We would like to thank OpenAI for providing access to the GPT-3 model and for the contributions it made to this blogpost

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