Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Topics: Thought, Psychology, Mind Pages: 5 (2252 words) Published: April 8, 2009
Bias is one of the biggest concerns in psychotherapy of all types. It is impractical to believe that our own life experiences will not effect the way that we counsel our clients and view their behavior. In fact, often times the style of therapy we choose to use is derived from an agreement with the different theories of personality formation. For example, if we believe that our experience in early childhood speaks volumes about who we are today, we may identify with the psychoanalytic theory and use its techniques in our counseling method. Beyond specific theories, however, all counselors form their own opinions about why people come to behave the way they do. For me, I believe that childhood experiences can explain much of current behavior. Many of the reasons why we are the way that we are were learned in during childhood. However, people have a tendency to rely on the explanation of why we are the way that we are as a crutch for not changing present behavior, as we see in psychoanalytic theory. Instead, I agree with Adler when he said, “people are both the producer and the product of his environment.” Behavior is not static, it can be changed. As counselors we all have to have this core belief, or we would all begin to question what the point of our profession truly is. I believe that we make choices to behave in unhealthy ways, most often by listening to “insane” thoughts that come to mind. I think that the ABC theory explains much of behavior, in that it is not the activating event that causes consequences, but in fact one’s own flawed belief system. Additionally, I believe that people are motivated by two major factors '' fear and love. Often we can discover our worldview through the phrases we use. My most commonly used phrase is, “Everything happens for a reason”, and “This too shall pass.” For that reason I believe that people often chose, whether it be consciously or unconsciously, to be mentally ill or stay in an unhealthy state of mind, and that since there is meaning and purpose in everything, and one can grow to be a stronger person because of it. The thought process outlined above also speaks to what type of counseling I would find to be the most effective. We cannot help but be effected by our past. Most unhealthy behavior has its roots in childhood experiences, and often this shapes the way we think about ourselves and the world. I value Adler’s research on birth order, and think where one falls in the family constellation can be the first inclinations of one’s future personality. As a middle child, I certainly fit the description of the peacemaker who tries to hold the family together, but I also have the more negative symptoms of feelings of unfairness, and went through my “problem child” phase more than either of my siblings. As the second child I felt like I was constantly running after my sister, trying to catch up. As the eldest and first born, she tends to be a bit more distant, and is the hardworking, determined one in the family which is common of the firstborn. My brother, the youngest, is of course the most pampered, and so has grown up with a sense of entitlement in life. Other factors that can have an effect on personality and behavior that stems from childhood can include ideas of gender roles imparted by one’s parents, cultural influences and expectations about how one should behave, relationships with siblings, parents, friends and teachers, in addition to how one experienced discipline from one’s parents, and the nature of the relationship between one’s parents. As we move through our early life we develop certain thought patterns, and often it is these faulty thought patterns that causes unhealthy behaviors. In this sense we see that while our childhood experiences are important to look at in terms of where and how these kinds of cognitions were established, it is in the present moment that we must learn to change the way that we think. I look to the ABC theory to...
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