Theories of Counseling: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Jennifer Z Lewis
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of treatment that helps clients detect and change dysfunctional and false thought and behavioral patterns through restructuring of their thought process.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has shown to be effective with many areas of mental distress including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and substance abuse. Cognitive behavioral therapy has three main founders: Albert Ellis, Aaron Beck, and Donald Meichenbaum. Each method has its strengths and weaknesses. Weaknesses of cognitive behavioral therapy include rigidity and lack of insight into ones past, which can create a cycling pattern in which the problems could resurface. Strengths of the theory are its use in anxiety disorders, phobias and depression, and helps people gain insight into their “disorder” allowing them to break free of the stigma of the mental illness label (Lam, 2008). Other strengths include retraining wrong self-beliefs and thought patterns, and its successful use in brief therapy scenarios. Care must be taken to ensure that cognitive behavioral therapy is the right fit for the client and if counseling within a Christian context, belief and thought patterns are turned towards Christ.
Theories of Counseling: Behavioral Cognitive Therapy
History of Behavioral Cognitive Theory
Behavioral Cognitive Theory (BCT) originated with Albert Ellis’s rational therapy in 1955, which was later known as rational emotive behavioral therapy or REBT (Corey, 2013). REBT not only was the first of the wave of cognitive behavioral therapies, it is still a major therapeutic approach used to deal with cognition and behavioral conditions (Corey, 2013). The basis of REBT is the assumption that cognitions, emotions, and behaviors significantly interact resulting in a cause and effect relationship (Corey, 2013). REBT is considered to be an integrative approach to counseling because of its emphasis on cognition, emotion, and behavior (Corey, 2013). REBT is based on the belief that all humans from birth have the potential to be either rational or straight thinking and irrational, or have crooked thinking (Corey, 2013). Ellis within his REBT context theorized that experiences and emotions that we are exposed to as children significantly influence the patterns that we exhibit as adults (Corey, 2013). If a person is raised believing that they have no value, they will exhibit irrational and self- defeating beliefs of themselves. A REBT therapist’s goal is to desensitize a person from their intense emotions by helping them learn to react in a healthy way such as rational anger or sadness without succumbing to depression, anxiety, or shame (Corey, 2013). Rational emotive behavioral therapy uses the A-B-C framework to help the therapist understand the feelings, thoughts, events, and behavior of their client (Corey, 2013). The structure of the A-B-C focuses on finding the activating event, naming the belief, assessing the emotional and behavioral consequences for the belief or reaction, and finally helping create a new response pattern with the client (Lam, 2008). Much of REBT entails the use of cognitive restructuring to help a client retrain their thought patterns by stopping their irrational belief thought pattern with rational thoughts (Johnson, et al, 2000). Ellis instituted the use of philosophical restructuring to change the dysfunctional personality traits of his clients (Corey, 2013). Ellis’ philosophical restructuring involves the client fully recognizing the they are responsible for their own emotional problems, that they are capable of changing these disturbances, that their emotional problems stem from their own wrong thought patterns, helping them acknowledge these beliefs and fight them, accept the need to change their dysfunctional patterns, and finally use the REBT methods to...
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