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Comparison And Contrast Of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Approaches With Postmodern Therapy Approaches

711 words - 3 pages

Postmodern counseling approaches have begun to challenge the paradigms of modernistic counseling theories. Modern theories emphasize the use of empirically validated treatment approaches to psychotherapy. The modernistic therapy perspective endorses the premise that psychological problems are the result of disturbances in cognitive processes. The focus of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is on helping clients to examine and restructure their core beliefs in order to reorganize one’s behavior. Postmodern approaches to therapy, however, stress the importance of context in people’s social and interpersonal world. The postmodern perspective is interested in the client’s world external to individual dynamics. This paper will compare and contrast the key points, therapeutic relationship, application, contributions, and strengths and limitations of CBT and postmodern versions of therapy.
Modern and postmodern theories differ widely in their assumptions regarding reality. Two popular branches of CBT (a blend of related psychotherapies) are cognitive therapy (CT) and rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). These therapies assume that cognitive processes—thoughts, beliefs, self-statements, and perceptions—are the major determinants of an individual’s emotion and behavior. CT and REBT assume that reality is objective and can be observed. Similar to CBT, postmodernism is also a group of related therapies. In contrast though, postmodernists, assume that reality does not exist independent of observational processes. Postmodern approaches such as social constructionism (SC) and narrative therapy (NT) assume that truth and reality are merely a way of understanding a situation within the context of the client’s social and cultural context.
Modern and postmodern theories also significantly recast the role the therapist plays. Cognitive-behavioral therapists function in the role of teacher and the client as student. The therapist helps clients move from a self-defeating view of themselves and others to a more accurate and accepting view based upon objective evidence. This is accomplished by showing the client how they have integrated many inaccurate and irrational “shoulds, oughts, and musts” (Corey, 2013, p. 295). In postmodern therapy the therapist sheds the role of teacher and pays careful attention to what the client is already doing that works. When practicing the solution-focused and narrative approaches...

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