What you need to know about Cognitive Behavior Therapy

By Dr. Lisa Jones- Contributor

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help terminally ill patients to prevent or manage  psychosocial suffering at the end-of-life and help establish a sense of purpose and meaning.

It can also help with the anticipatory grief related to leaving behind family and losses that come with having a terminal diagnosis.

Coping techniques can be evaluated and attempted. “The idea behind Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is that an outcome of behavior (positive or negative) can be created by a chosen reinforcement behavior.”[1]

CBT can be used to correct bad behavior, increase positive behaviors, or to view a problem in a different light.

“It may be beneficial for patients who are focusing more on negative thoughts and feelings about themselves or others[2]”.

There is considerable research showing that CBT is effective for treating grief, anxiety, and depression in patients with advancing diseases.


  1. [2]Michael P Nichols, Family therapy: Concepts and Methods (Boston, MA: Pearson education, Inc, 2010), 52.
  2. [3]Nancy R. Hooyman and Betty J. Kramer, Living through loss; interventions across the life span (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006), 34.


Hospice Chaplaincy is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting excellence in spiritual care at the end of life. We are committed to the belief that people from all backgrounds, cultures and faith traditions should experience the end of life in a way that matches their own spiritual/religious values and goals. The task of dying is complicated and often confronts us with lots of spiritual, emotional and physical suffering. Hospice Chaplaincy is dedicated to providing support and professional development resources for hospice chaplains, patient advocacy, and education services to the public, to create a cultural shift to inform and transform our thinking around the psychosocial and psychospiritual issues at the end of life .

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