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Cognitive-Behavioural Approach

Over the past 20 or more years the primary paradigm in Clinical Psychology has gradually become the cognitive-behavioural, which is a (loose) combination of the cognitive and learning paradigms. Psychiatry has adopted a primarily biological paradigm. The previously dominant paradigm of Psychoanalysis (and to a lesser extent Humanism) has become considerably diminished in importance and usage in both professions. Thus an important aspect one might be expected to acquire in a Psychology course on abnormal behaviour is a basic understanding of the cognitive-behavioural approach. The following question is designed to meet that goal and evaluate your level of understanding.

What is the Cognitive-Behavioural approach to therapy? Essentially create a one hour lecture on the topic, in which you present the:

- Logic of the CBT approach
- The assumed causes of disorders
- The essential method used
- The evidence for and against its effectiveness

I need information and ideas on the above elements. Thank you.

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Please see the response attached (recommended for better formatting and links), which is also presented below.

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Question:

What is the Cognitive-Behavioural approach to therapy? Essentially create a one hour (essay form) lecture on the topic, in which you present the
- Logic of the CBT approach
- The assumed causes of disorders
- The essential method used
- The evidence for and against its effectiveness

1. What is the Cognitive-Behavioural approach to therapy?

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is indeed an empirically supported treatment that focuses on patterns of thinking that are maladaptive and the beliefs that underlie such thinking. CBT is a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the important role of thinking in how we feel and what we do. The term "cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)," however, is a very general term for a classification of therapies with similarities. There are several approaches to cognitive-behavioral therapy, including Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Rational Behavior Therapy, Rational Living Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, and Dialectic Behavior Therapy. (http://www.nacbt.org/whatiscbt.htm )

Logic of the CBT approach

Two ancillary assumptions underpin the approach of the cognitive behaviorist therapist: 1) the client is capable of becoming aware of his or her own thoughts and of changing them, and 2) sometimes the thoughts elicited by stimuli distort or otherwise fail to reflect reality accurately. (http://counsellingresource.com/types/cognitive-therapy/)

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is indeed an empirically supported treatment that focuses on patterns of thinking that are maladaptive and the beliefs that underlie such thinking. CBT therapists believe that the clients change because they learn how to think differently and they act on that learning. Therefore, CBT therapists focus on teaching rational self-counseling skills. (http://www.nacbt.org/whatiscbt.htm)

For example, a person who is depressed may have the belief, "I'm worthless," and a person with a phobia may have the belief, "I am in danger." While the person in distress likely holds such beliefs with great conviction, with a therapist's help, the individual is encouraged to view such beliefs as hypotheses rather than facts and to test out such beliefs by running experiments.

Furthermore, those in distress are encouraged to monitor and log thoughts that pop into their minds (called "automatic thoughts") in order to enable them to determine what patterns of biases in thinking may exist and to develop more adaptive alternatives to their thoughts. People who seek CBT can expect their therapist to be active, problem-focused, and goal-directed. (http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_Treatments_and_Supports&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=7952)

The assumed causes of disorders

The assumed causes of disorders are distortions of thought and perception which may be causing or prolonging psychological distress and related disorders. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps the client to uncover and alter these distortions of thought or perceptions which may be causing or prolonging psychological distress. (http://counsellingresource.com/types/cognitive-therapy/)

The essential method used

Thus, CBT aims to help the client to become aware of thought distortions, which are causing psychological distress, and of behavioural patterns, which are reinforcing it, and to correct them. The objective is not to correct every distortion in a client's entire outlook -- and after all, virtually everyone distorts reality in many ways -- just those that may be at the root of distress. The therapist will make every effort to understand experiences from the client's point of view, and the client and therapist will work collaboratively with an empirical spirit, like scientists, exploring the client's thoughts, assumptions and inferences. The therapist helps the client learn to test these by checking them against reality and against other assumptions. (http://counsellingresource.com/types/cognitive-therapy/)

Most cognitive-behavioral therapies have the following characteristics:

1. CBT is based on the Cognitive Model of Emotional Response.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations, and events. The benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we think to feel / act better even if the situation does not change.

2. CBT is Briefer and Time-Limited.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is considered among the most rapid in terms of results obtained. The average number of sessions clients receive (across all types of problems and approaches to CBT) is only 16. Other forms of therapy, like psychoanalysis, can take years. What enable CBT to be briefer is its highly instructive nature and the fact that it makes use of homework assignments. CBT is time-limited in that we help clients understand at the very beginning of the therapy process that there will be a point when the formal therapy will end. The ending of the formal therapy is a decision made by the therapist and client. Therefore, CBT is not an open-ended, never-ending process.

3. A sound therapeutic relationship is necessary for effective therapy, but not the focus.
Some forms of therapy assume that the main reason people get better in therapy is because of the positive relationship between the therapist and client. Cognitive-behavioral therapists believe it is important to have a good, trusting relationship, but that is not enough. CBT therapists believe that the clients change because they learn how to think differently and they act on that learning. Therefore, CBT therapists focus on teaching rational self-counseling skills.

4. CBT is a collaborative effort between the therapist and the client.

Cognitive-behavioral therapists seek to learn what their ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains the Cognitive-Behavioural approach to therapy on four levels: logic of the CBT approach, the assumed causes of disorders, the essential method used and the evidence for and against its effectiveness the theory. Research validated.

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