Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

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Historical Origins & Major Contributions:
In the early 1960’s there was a drift towards Cognitive Behavior Therapy as people turned away out of disappointment in the psychodynamic theory for psychotherapy. Also at this time social learning theory was the new and upcoming study. This is when Cognitive theory emerged with Alfred Adler. He was the first Cognitive therapist who came up with the idea that an individuals beliefs and ideas is what makes up their behavior (Lantz, 1996). He believed that this type of psychotherapy would allow the clients to make changes in the way they think to change their behavior and solve their problems. Alfred Adler was not the only contributor to Cognitive theory. Between the late 1950’s and early 1960’s Albert Ellis came up with dysfunctional thinking or emotions that come from irrational beliefs. He sought out to change these unclear emotions with psychotherapy and by challenging these beliefs. His books are very well known and used a lot of by different therapist. He is basically considered the grandfather of Cognitive Behavior Therapy and his ABC model is used widely. Albert came up with Rational-emotive therapy, which was later on changed to Rational-emotive behavior therapy because Ellis wanted his clients to act upon their new beliefs by putting them into practice (Wilde, 1996, p. 9). Others who have contributed to Cognitive theory have been William Glasser, Arnold Lazarus, Don Tosi, Victor Ramy, Maxie Maultsby, Aron Beck and many more. William Glasser used effective psychotherapy to help his clients find courage to change their life style and become more responsible of their goals. He did this by pointing out the worth of self and the basic human need to be loved. His ‘reality therapy’ consisted of his clients focusing on personal responsibility to understand their own reality (Lantz, 1996). Arnold Lazarus came up with the seven modes of the client that help assess their functioning. These seven modes are sensation, imagery, cognition, behavior affect, interpersonal living and drugs (Lantz, 1996). These modes, according to Lazarus, would help come up with a treatment plan that would help the client in all areas of their function lives. Don Tosi contributed to Cognitive theory by intergrading hypnosis with the therapy. Hypnosis is used to help the clients picture their thoughts in a healthy way through exploration and redirection (Lantz, 1996). Victor Ramy focused his work on helping clients change their self-concept. His books show how to help a client work with and change the cognitive misunderstanding of themselves. Maxie Maultsby used the ABC model as used by Albert Ellis but he also contributed by using rational behavior therapy with youngsters, for self-help groups, and group therapy. Aron Beck was a psychiatrist who used cognitive treatment to help his clients who had anxiety and personality disorders. He did extensive research on effective Cognitive therapy and how it helps clients with a range of individual problems from suicidal patients to those who have borderline personality disorders.

Many of those who contributed to Cognitive therapy were not social workers. The first social worker that used Cognitive therapy was Harold Werner. Werner struggled early on when he tried to bring Cognitive therapy to social work as those who had a psychoanalytical point of view attacked him. His efforts allowed the theory to be accepted in the social work arena. Howard Goldstein also helped bring Cognitive therapy into the social work profession.

Behavior theory is a mixture of different theories combined and it first came about in the first quarter of this century. The work of Ivan Pavlov and his classical conditioning theory, the work of B.F. Skinner and J.B. Watson and their operant condition theory and the work of Bandura on the social learning theory is all combined in the behavior theory. The classical conditioning theory states that a conditioned...
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