Baltimore City Community College
February 28, 2013
Cognitive Therapy is a type of psychotherapy used to help the patient address problems in their lives by acknowledging and changing known and unknown dysfunctional thinking, behaviors, and emotional responses. In this paper I will cover the counseling approach and its view of human nature, specific techniques, as well as the role of client and counselor. I will also detail my response to this particular approach as well as who it is best suited for, its effectiveness, what research indicates about its effectiveness and any other related information.
Cognitive therapy was developed in the 1960’s by an American Psychiatrist by the name of Aaron Beck. It is one of several approaches that originated from cognitive behavioral therapy. During the therapy process the counselor strives to help the client get a better handle on life difficulties by pinpointing and modifying dysfunctional thinking, behaviors, and emotional reactions. The client must learn how to change the way they view things and utilize new tools in order to change their current distorted and destructive thoughts. Once that process begins the client will be more likely to change his or her life.
Other cognitive behavioral therapy approaches would include Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Rational Behavior Therapy, Rational Living Therapy, and also Dialectic Behavior Therapy.
There are four revealing components that a counselor must collect from an addict, pertinent childhood facts that would reveal and develop into the dysfunctional beliefs, the dysfunctional beliefs that reveals just how the patients sees themselves, i.e. being unworthy of love, conditional expectations are rules the patient adheres to, to avoid harm, and finally compensatory plans that assist the client to cope.
One example of Cognitive therapy at work could be for example: if a wife is continually making mistakes or forgetting to do things her husband asks her to do and the husband insists on pointing it out to her or he gets angry because she forgot to do something that he needed done, thus making the wife feel like she can’t so anything correct in his eyes or at all for that matter, her internal dialog may sound something like this, “I am a failure at everything I do, why do I even try?” having these feelings about her abilities just makes her feel worse about herself and less likely to try and do better.
The cognitive model shows her perception of the situation that influences her emotional reaction. What needs to change is her inner voice and what she tells herself. In cognitive therapy this is considered a “problem cycle” and joint efforts of client and counselor are needed. Putting the client in similar situations and monitoring their responses allows the counselor to help the client adapt to those situations and work on changing the faulty thoughts and behaviors.
The views of human nature in cognitive therapy are; what we think and feel is intertwined. Dysfunction stems from childhood and more often then not can and will lead into adulthood, in childhood rational and irrational thoughts and feelings are formed. Once a client changes those irrational thoughts and feelings, he or she may begin the process of changing the dysfunctional behaviors.
In putting this therapy to the test, the idyllic goal is that the client will change their faulty drug-related, distorted beliefs with more realistic and practical beliefs, with the idea of discontinued drug use. In order to achieve these specific goals the counselor must be in tune to their client, understanding exactly what is needed and expected for and from them is imperative to their success. In the sessions it is important for the counselor to use open-ended questions, for example; how did that make you feel? How do you think you handled the situation?