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Cognitive Behavioral School of Psychotherapy

Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy is a combination of both cognitive psychotherapy and behavioral psychotherapy which means it combines both thoughts and behavior. Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck (whom were previously mentioned) are both important contributors.

However, it was Donald Meichenbaum who made the cognitive behavior modification (CBM). It, “focuses on changing the client’s self-verbalizations,” (Corey, 2005, p.292). According to him it essential that the client must be self-aware about their thoughts feelings, and behavior before he or she can be ready or even open to a change in his or her behavior.

There are three phases for the process of change for the client which are self-observation, starting a new internal dialogue, and learning new skills (Corey, 2005, p. 292). Through the phases, “behavior change occurs through a sequence of mediating processes involving the interaction of inner speech, cognitive structures, and behaviors and their resultant outcomes,” (p.293).

The varieties of cognitive behavioral treatments are rational-emotional behavior therapy (REBT), Aaron Beck’s cognitive therapy, Meichenbaum’s stress inoculation training, Glasser’s reality therapy, control theory, choice theory, Linehan’s dialectical behavior therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and solution focused therapy. Rational-emotional behavior therapy (REBT) was created by Ellis and emphasized behavior. Aaron Beck’s cognitive therapy emphasized thought. Combining the two created helped to create cognitive behavioral psychotherapy which were previously mentioned above and ultimately motived Mechenbaum’s stress inoculation training.

Stress inoculation training (SIT), is, “a generic cognitive-behavioral program used for many different problems involving stress (a perception that life’s demands have exceeded one’s abilities to cope), whether by overcoming, reducing, or tolerating inner and outer burdens,” (Day, 2008, p. 381). Stress inoculation training was designed to work for all aspects and variations of stress.

Glasser’s reality therapy focuses on helping the client to face reality and believes that most, “patients have a common characteristic: they all deny the reality of the world around them,” (Day, 2008, p.383). His therapy involves the process of helping the client to see it.

Blame should be avoided, but natural consequences can be implemented. In other words, past or external events should not be emphasized in therapy; emotions are not emphasized either. Control therapy helps to explain how reality therapy works. Later on, it was named choice theory which is used, “to describe self-regulatory behavior in human beings,” (Day, 2008, p.384).

Linehan’s dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) relates behavior, emotions, and cognitive aspects of the client. It is used for drug or alcohol abuse, eating disorders, PTSD, and various personality disorders. However, it has mostly been used on female clients who have a borderline personality disorder. Dialectical is, “the interaction of two conflicting forces,” (Day, 2008, p. 386). In this form of therapy, the client learns to become comfortable with change in all forms.

A positive of CBT is that all types are much, “more structured, have measurable results, and are designed for time-limited interventions, (Corey, 2005, p. 394). A major contribution from cognitive behavioral psychotherapy is that it includes, “emphasis on a comprehensive and eclectic therapeutic practice; numerous cognitive, emotive, and behavioral techniques; an openness to incorporating techniques from other approaches; and a methodology for challenging and changing faulty thinking,” (Corey, 2005, p. 489). Most forms can be integrated into other forms of therapies as well.

Limitations can include cultural concerns, unfinished business, and brainwashing. With cultural concerns some have the perspective that this type of therapy can question one’s basic cultural values. Unintentional brainwashing can happen when a therapist misuses his or her power by imposing biased ideas of what he or she thinks is the correctly based goal or value when the client has a different set of goals or values. It is very important to respect the core values of the client even if they differ from the therapist. With unfinished business, “lack of attention to early experiences and unfinished business from the past characterizes most cognitive-behavioral treatments, say some critics,” (Day, 2008, p. 395).


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