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The Clinical Application Of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

2765 words - 11 pages

The Clinical Application of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is based on the concept that behavior change may be achieved through altering cognitive processes. The assumption underlying the cognitively based therapeutic techniques is that maladaptive cognitive processes lead to maladaptive behaviors and changing these processes can lead to behavior modification. According to Mahoney (1995), an individual's cognitions are viewed as covert behaviors, subject to the same laws of learning as overt behaviors. Since its inception, cognitive-behavior modification has attempted to integrate the clinical concerns of psychodynamic psychotherapists with the technology of behavior therapists (Mahoney, 1995). Cognitive-behaviorists have demonstrated an interrelationship among cognitive processes, environmental events, and behavior, which is conveyed in the context of one's social behavior. Psychotherapists in North America endorse cognitive-behavioral interventions as the second most widely used treatment approach (i.e., with an eclectic approach being endorsed as first) (Bongar & Buetler, 1995).
The cognitive processes that serve as the focus of treatment in CBT include perceptions, self-statements, attributions, expectations, beliefs, and images (Kazdin, 1994). Most cognitive-behavioral based techniques are applied in the context of psychotherapy sessions in which the clients are seen individually, or in a group, by professional therapists. Intervention programs are designed to help clients become aware of their maladaptive cognitive processes and teach them how to notice, catch, monitor, and interrupt the cognitive-affective-behavioral chains to produce more adaptive coping responses (Mahoney, 1994). Donald Meichenbaum is one of the founders of cognitive-behavioral modification and was voted one of the "top ten most influential psychotherapists of the century" in a survey reported in the American Psychologist (interestingly, four of the ten therapists were cognitive-behaviorists) (Bongar & Buetler, 1995). Meichenbaum is a clinical psychologist who has invented and utilized some of the most operationally defined techniques of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Meichenbaum's most famous piece of work, Cognitive-Behavior Modification: An Integrative Approach is considered a classic in the field of CBT. Meichenbaum bridged the gap between the clinical concerns of cognitive-semantic therapists (e.g. Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck) and the technology of behavior therapy. He was greatly dissatisfied with behavior therapy techniques because they overemphasized the importance of environmental events (antecedents and consequences) and therefore underemphasized, and often overlooked, how a client perceives and evaluates those events (Meichenbaum & Cameron, 1974). The disorders successfully treated by cognitive-behavioral methods include: depression, anxiety disorders, social phobias, bulimia nervosa, conduct disorder in...

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