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Therapeutic Interventions: Evaluating a Behavioral/Cognitive Approach

Discuss: What are the strengths and weaknesses of using a behavioral/cognitive approach with the following client?

Client Profile:
Name: Aaron B. Gender: Male Age: 17

Ethnicity: Syrian-American Religion: Jewish

Relationship Status: Single

Description of Presenting Issue:

Aaron was referred for counseling by his physician. Aaron is a star athlete on the high-school track team and attributes all his symptoms to his efforts to be the best possible runner that he can. He eats little, limiting his diet severely, and now weighs only 120 pounds, even though he is 5'10" tall. He believes that if he can lose another 10 pounds, he will be able to run even faster. Aaron keeps lists of everything he eats, weighing each food item and computing its fat content. In addition, he tracks his daily training by keeping a record of how many minutes he runs and how many steps he takes, counting his steps as he runs. Aaron also has many other lists that guide his life, including a list of every possession he owns and every person he talks to each day. If he forgets to include an item on one of his lists, he becomes very anxious and only calms down when he has recopied the list with the forgotten item at the top of the list. He tends to check his lists repeatedly, making sure that words are in alphabetical and size order. Despite his youth, he has few friends and activities other than his running, but is able to work delivering pizzas.

Occupation History: Part-time pizza delivery

Education History: Currently attends high school; maintains a B+ average

Medical History: Aaron acknowledges that he has developed osteopenia (thinning of the bones) and also tells you that he has knee and shin pain.

Family History: Aaron is an only child. His mother and father divorced when Aaron was 10 due to his father’s infidelity. Aaron lives primarily with his mother. She owns a successful interior design business and travels frequently. Aaron describes his mother as hard-working, with high standards and expectations. Aaron’s father works in the finance industry, was remarried four years ago, and has two children (ages 1 and 3) with his second wife.

Alcohol/Substance Use: Aaron does not smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal substances. He occasionally takes Vicodin (a painkiller) prescribed by his physician for his knee and shin pain.

Solution Preview

(a) Case Study analysis

In his desire to be the best runner, he is eating less and limiting his diet in the belief that it would help him to run faster. In addition, he meticulously keeps a list of every possession he owns, and every person that he talks to. He also tracks his daily training, and counts the steps he takes as he runs. Thus, in exhibiting this behavior, Aaron is setting unrealistic expectations, of what he should do to be the "best". Moreover, his behavior is counterproductive evidenced by symptoms that have brought him to therapy. His irrational behavior is affecting his mood. Moreover, several factors must be considering in choosing an intervention for Aaron including his race, religion and age.

(b) Behavior Therapy (REBT)

Behavior Therapy is a clinical approach that can be used to treat a variety of clinical disorders such as depression, substance abuse and eating disorders (Corey, 2005). Behavior therapy place emphasis on what can be observed. The focus is on learning and on ways in which an individual's behavior can be shaped by experiences in their cultural and social environment. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy explores feelings and behaviors. REBT can be applied to a number of clinical problems such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, obsessive disorders, and eating disorders.

(c) Cognitive Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavior therapy is focused on thought processes, and factors that ...

Solution Summary

This solution examines the strengths and weaknesses of two different therapy approaches: the behaviour therapy approach and the cognitive therapy approach. This is all completed in about 880 words and includes three references.

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