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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – An Introduction and History
Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT is a psychotherapeutic approach used by therapists to help promote positive change in people by addressing their thought patterns, feelings, and behavioral problems. Difficulties with irrational thinking, dysfunctional thoughts, and faulty learning are identified and then treated using CBT. Therapy can be conducted with individuals, groups, or families, and the goals of CBT are to restructure thoughts, perceptions, and responses that facilitate behavioral changes.
The earliest form of CBT was developed by an American psychologist, Albert Ellis (1913-2007) in 1955, calling his approach Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). Ellis (right) is considered “the grandfather of cognitive-behavioral therapies.” Ellis credits Alfred Korzybski (who developed the theory of general semantics, which in turn influenced NLP) and his book “Science and common sense’ to start him on the way to founding REBT.
In the 1960s, an American psychiatrist, Aaron T Beck (below), developed another approach to CBT called ‘cognitive therapy’ which was originally developed for depression, but quickly became a favorite model to study because of the positive results he achieved. CBT therapists believe that clinical depression is typically associated with negatively biased thinking and irrational thoughts. CBT is now used to provide treatment in all psychiatric disorders and also increases medication compliance, leading to better outcome in mental illness. An important help in CBT is the ABC technique of irrational beliefs, the three steps are:
A is the triggering event, the event that leads to a negative thought.
B is beliefs, the client’s belief around the event.
C is the Consequence, the dysfunctional behavior that resulted from the thoughts and feelings originating in the event. An example would be: Susan is upset because she got a low grade on her math test, trigger event A is that she failed her test, belief B is that she must getting good grades or not worth it, consequence C is that Susan feels depressed. In the example above, the therapist would help Susan identify her irrational beliefs and challenge the negative thoughts based on evidence from her experience and then reframe them, that is, to reinterpret them in a more positive way. realistic Another very useful aid in CBT is to help a client identify with the ten distorted thought patterns:
1 All or nothing thinking: Seeing things in black or white, if your performance is not perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.
2 Overgeneralization: Viewing a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
3 Mental Filter: Pick a single negative defeat and dwell on it as your view of reality darkens.
4 Disqualifying the positive: You dismiss positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” by maintaining a negative belief.
5 Jumping to conclusions: Make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts to convincingly support your conclusion, this includes “mind reading” and “guessing” or “assuming”.
6 Minimizing Magnification (Catastrophizing): Exaggerating or minimizing things, this is also called the “binocular trick”.
7 Emotional Reasoning: Assuming your negative emotions reflect how things really are, “I’m sorry, therefore it must be true.”
8 Statements of should – “should”, “should” and “should” are infringing.
9 Labeling and mislabeling: Instead of describing your mistake, attach a negative label to it, i.e. “I’m a loser.”
10 Personalization: You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event for which you were not actually responsible.
These are just some of the techniques used in CBT, others are relaxation techniques, communication skills training, assertiveness training, social skills training and doing tasks for the client.
Simply put, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy aims to help the client become aware of and correct the distortions in thinking that are causing psychological distress and the patterns of behavior that are reinforcing them.
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