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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Theory, Principles, and Techniques

Principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

In this paper I will dive more into the theory of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This paper will cover what exactly the theory of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is, how and when the theory was formed and originated. This paper will also discuss the principles of this theory, its advantages, disadvantages, and short comings.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an evidence-based therapy that has been proved to be more effective than other forms of psychological therapy or medications. Cognitive Behavioral therapy was developed by Albert Ellis, a psychologist in the early part of the twentieth century. The theory uses a hands-on practical approach to problem-solving. The basics of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy concepts are thoughts, emotions, and behaviour which means, “how we think affects our emotion and how we behave can influence how we feel” (Corey, 2017).

There are three levels of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, these are core beliefs, dysfunctional assumptions, and negative automatic thoughts. Core beliefs are the negative beliefs about oneself and others, these core beliefs are related to statements like; ‘I am useless or wealthless’. The core beliefs are more about what one thinks of themselves, what others think of them and the future for example, ‘things will not work out for me’. Dysfunctional assumptions are defined as: ‘conditional rules of living’, which means that one can believe that its better not to try than to risk failing. Negative automatic thoughts are those thoughts that occur when one has a low self-esteem (Fenn and Byrne, 2013). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps one to face their fears, change their beliefs, self-regulate, and re-evaluate the world. In other words, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy allows the client to identify the root cause of the problem. This therapy encourages a client to take control of his life through psycho education (Okamoto & Kazantzis, 2013).

There are five common techniques used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, these are: smart goals, guided discovery and questioning, journaling, self-talk, cognitive restructuring and thought recording. Smart goals, refer to specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time limited goals. Guided discovery is whereby at therapist helps one to question any assumptions that may have and challenge the questions by positive viewpoints. Journaling is whereby one is asked to write down all the negative beliefs or thoughts and replace them with positive beliefs through writing. Self-talk is a technique the therapist will use to tell a patient about their current situation and challenge them to replace negative self-talk with constructive self-talk. Cognitive restructuring helps oneself not to jump into conclusions when faced with a difficult experience. Thought recording is replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts (Corey, 2017).

Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is commonly used to help people who are suffering from anxiety, depression, panic attacks, hard relationships, mental health insomnia, eating disorders and many more (Glenn, 2012). This therapy can be used in a variety of settings like health care, schools, group settings and it can be used to help both children and adults. In other words, the Cognitive Behavioral therapy accommodates all different age groups Cognitive Behavioral Therapy also helps the client to practice a new way of thinking for example when one is going through a breakup and would feel like they are unworthy and useless. A trained therapist would teach the client to change their negative thoughts.

There are ten principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy requires a sound alliance, meaning it is essential for the therapist and a client to have a strong and trusting relationship. By so doing, it will help the client to share the challenges they might be going through. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy emphasizes collaboration and active participation which means teamwork is highly recommended throughout the session and an active participation from the patient is very important for long lasting results of the treatment. CBT is goal oriented, and problem focused which means the patient is required to set goals and record their progress to keep motivated. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy emphasizes on the present which means the therapy only focuses on the present programs. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is educative, this means it teaches the patient to be their own therapist and to understand the process, how their thoughts influence emotions and plan to change their behaviour. CBT is time limited and for patients suffering from anxiety and depression they can have six to fourteen sessions and for people with severe mental health illness their sessions can take up to months and years. Cognitive sessions are structured which means there is an introduction which refers to mood check, review. Also, Middle refers to reviewing discussing agenda and final which is giving back.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy teaches patients to identify, evaluate and responds to their dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs. Lastly, CBT uses a variety of techniques to change negative thoughts, mood and behaviour which means behavioral and problem-solving techniques are essential in the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Vyskocilova, Prasko, Slepecky & Kotianova 2017). These techniques are very essential when dealing with a vulnerable individual because the process helps the clients to feel at ease when sharing their experiences. These techniques are useful because they encourage the clients to be in charge of their sessions and that boosts the client’s self-esteem.

Challenges of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Furthermore, with the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy patients are sometimes given worksheets to help themselves with their progress. According to Stirman (2021) the worksheets have seven steps, on the left column, there is a portion to write down the date time the dysfunctional thought occurred, on the second column is where the current situation is written, and this is where the therapist will instruct the patient to clearly describe in detail where the negative thought is coming from. The third column is for the automatic thought and this where the negative belief thought is recorded with a rating of zero to hundred percent. The fourth column is where the emotions elicited by this thought are listed, also with a rating of intensity between zero to hundred percent. The fifth column is where the client will identify which cognitive distortions, they are experiencing such as jumping into conclusions etc. The second of the last column is where the patient will be encouraged by the therapist to write down all the positive thoughts to replace all negative thoughts. Lastly, the last column is used to write the outcome of the exercise.

Advantages of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are that it starts dealing with negative thoughts, feelings and then behaviour. By so doing, it helps the client to think positively because it a reality of a man is his thought. The positive thought effect is very crucial since it changes the client’s perspective to believe that they can live their dream. It also gives people hope and faith about their current situation. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help people to build their self-esteem because most of the mental conditions are associated with low self-esteem and it can help people to develop more confidence. The CBT helps people to relax instead of stressing about their current situations and it teaches people to control how they respond to mental health symptoms.

Challenges of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are that for one to benefit from this therapy he or she needs to be fully committed to get the desired results. The therapist may try by all means to give the client all the advice but if the client doesn’t fully cooperate then there will be no positive results. CBT doesn’t help people with more complex mental health issues or learning disabilities. Some scholarly critiques argue that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy doesn’t help the client to deal with underlying issues of mental health conditions such as rough childhood. Also, CBT only focuses on the individual capacity to change their thoughts, feelings and behaviours and doesn’t involve family problems or systems (Arntz, 1994). According to Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing (2000) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was poorly designed and had many negative outcomes and this therapy increases and maintains more depression in clients.

References or Research applying this theory to CYC practice

There isn’t much research about the Cognitive Behavioral therapy being used in the Child and Youth Care practice. However, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy theory can be used to help different age groups, children, youth, and adults. According to Villabo (2018) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be used to help young children with anxiety disorders and other mental health challenges for ages between zero to twelve and seven to thirteen years. Counsellors use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for everyone which is good since some countries don’t value the importance of children’s mental health conditions. In addition, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be used to engage parents, educators, and their children to manage the mental health disorders they might have. According to Levine & Anshel (2011) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is also used to treat Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in school aged children and adolescents.

The criticisms of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are that in Cognitive Distortions causes symptoms of mental health issues such as irrational thinking, dysfunctional thoughts and negative thoughts which results in depression, anxiety, and mental health disorders. For example, mental health disorders cause irrational thinking and irrational thinking causes mental health issues. Also, CBT It tends to avoid the root of the problem and it sugar-coats the real issues in other words cognitive behavioral therapy doesn’t deal with the actual problems since some of the mental health issues are caused by childhood traumas. In addition, it encourages the patient to look at the situation differently instead of dealing directly with the problem because its dangerous to do that to a troubled patient and the results will only be for a short term instead of long-term results.

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