Identification of problematic cognitions known as "automatic thoughts" (ATs) which are dysfunctional or negative views of the self, world, or future based upon already existing beliefs about oneself, world, or the future
Identification of the cognitive distortions in the ATs
Rational disputation of ATs with the Socratic method
When utilizing cognitive restructuring in rational emotive therapy (RET), the emphasis is on two central notions: (1) thoughts affect human emotion as well as behavior and (2) irrational beliefs are mainly responsible for a wide range of disorders. RET also classifies four types of irrational beliefs: dire necessity, feeling awful, cannot stand something, and self-condemnation. It is described as cognitive-emotional retraining. The rationale used in cognitive restructuring attempts to strengthen the client's belief that (1) 'self-talk' can influence performance, and (2) in particular self-defeating thoughts or negative self-statements can cause emotional distress and interfere with performance, a process that then repeats again in a cycle. Mood repair strategies are implemented in cognitive restructuring in hopes of contributing to a cessation of the negative cycle.
When utilizing cognitive restructuring in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), it is combined with psychoeducation, monitoring, in vivo experience, imaginal exposure, behavioral activation and homework assignments to achieve remission. The cognitive behavioral approach is said to consist of three core techniques: cognitive restructuring, training in coping skills, and problem solving.
Critics of cognitive restructuring claim that the process of challenging dysfunctional thoughts will "teach clients to become better suppressors and avoiders of their unwanted thoughts" and that cognitive restructuring shows less immediate improvement because real-world practice is often required. Other criticisms include that the approach is mechanistic and impersonal and that the relationship between therapist and client is irrelevant.
Applications within therapy
There are many methods used in cognitive restructuring, which usually involve identifying and labelling distorted thoughts, such as, "all or none thinking, disqualifying the positive, mental filtering, jumping to conclusions, catastrophizing, emotional reasoning, should statements, and personalization."  The following lists methods commonly used in cognitive restructuring:
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^Linehan, M.M. (1993). Cognitive behavioural treatment of borderline personality disorder. Nueva York: Guilford Press.
^Chronis, A.M., Gamble, S.A., Roberts, J.E., & Pelham, W.E. (2006). Cognitive-behavioural depression treatment for mothers of children with attention-defi cit/ hyperactivity disorder. Behaviour Therapy, 37, 143–158.
^Jime´nez-Murcia, S., .A´ lvarez-Moya, E. M., Granero, R., Aymami, M. N., Go´mez-Pen˜ a, M., Jaurrieta, N., et al. (2007). Cognitivebehavioral group treatment for pathological gambling: Analysis of effectiveness and predictors of therapy outcome. Psychotherapy Research, 17, 544-552.
^Ellis, A., & Grieger, R. (1977). Handbook of rational emotive therapy. New York: Springer
^ abFrojan-Parga, M.X., Calero-Elvira, A. & Montano-Fidalgo, M. (2009). Analysis of the therapist’s verbal behavior during cognitive restructuring debates: a case study. Psychotherapy Research, 19: 30-41.
^Werner-Seidler, A., Moulds, M. L. "Mood repair and processing mode in depression". Oct 24, 2011. US: American Psychological Association.
^ abHuppert, J.D. (2009). The building blocks of treatment in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Israel Journal of Psychiatry Related Science, 46: 245-250.
^Eifert, G. H., & Forsyth, J. P. (2005). Acceptance and commitment therapy for anxiety disorders: A practitioner’s treatment guide to using mindfulness, acceptance, and values-based behavior change strategies. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.