Cognitive Therapy Research Paper

Pages: 8 (2526 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Psychology

Cognitive Therapy is a form of psychological therapy that is based on the premise that (cognitive) thinking processes affect and are affected by our emotions. Emotions like depression and/or anxiety are particularly affective of cognition and the therapist in a cognitive therapy application attempts to aid the client by seeking to link cognitive processes to emotions that are both more productive and affect thoughts in a more positive manner and vice versa. (Sanders & Wills, 2005, p. 3) the commonly recognized progenitor of cognitive therapy in its original form is Aaron T. Beck, working in the 1970s, who developed the idea that our thoughts (cognitions) and emotions and behaviors were integrally linked and that if any aspect of that linked chain were altered (in a therapeutic setting in the positive) the others would follow suit and allow the individual a better quality of life. Through the process the therapist attempts experiments on the thinking process to determine if such changes will alter the mood and therefore behavior to a more positive state. (Sanders & Wills, 2005, p. x)Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Research Paper on Cognitive Therapy Assignment

Cognitive therapy has evolved a great deal over the years, as a popular form of therapy in part because it offers a logical model of thought, emotion and behavior that for some is easily discernable and can therefore guide resolution for the client. The forms of application, models of application and strategies have borrowed from and added to other psychological models and in many ways has become an extremely popular form of therapy. Cognitive therapy is a broad term that included treatment modes such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) behavior therapy and constructivist therapy all of which are forms of CT in general and add to and aide the growth of the therapy's development and ability to aide individuals in their therapeutic processes and all of which will be further explained briefly in this work. (Sanders & Wills, 2005, pp. x) This work will also demonstrate the process of cognitive therapy through a discussion of its modes of application; Collaborative Empiricism, Guided Discovery, Reality Testing, and Core Beliefs. To treat dysfunctional modes the three approaches are applied: 1. Deactivation through distraction or reassurance 2, Modification of content or structure 3. The construction of more adaptive modes which "neutralizes' the maladaptive modes.

Collaborative Empiricism

In short collaborative empiricism describes the way in which cognitive therapy begins the process of formulating goals and ideation for potential change. The import of the process is that the therapist works with the client to determine the needed changes to form a treatment plan through a collaborative discovery process. It is only with the guidance of the client that the therapist can formulate theory associated with the links he or she has made in his or her cognition/emotion/behavior that are troubling to the individual and his or her life processes. The therapist then takes the information given by the client and develops a coherent plan of therapy that takes the clients specific needs into account above all other motive and/or theory and then these theories are tested through the treatment plan to see if they elicit desired changes in the cognition/emotion/behavior. (Hewstone, Fencham & Foster, 2005, p. 510)

Guided Discovery

Guided discovery is the process associated with the therapist asking questions and developing insight into what the meanings are behind thoughts. Through this process the collaborative empiricism is employed to allow the client to, through guidance assert to the therapist what meanings his or her thoughts have. or, what is behind these feelings and ideations about self and the environment. It is important to note that the guided in guided imagery does not involve the therapist making any attempt to change or alter the thinking of the individual. It is simply a guided process of discovery of thoughts and their possible meanings. (Beck, 1995, p.8)

Reality Testing'

Reality testing is the applied construct of taking those bits of information found while using collaborative empiricism and guided discovery to develop an idea of the function that might be applied by the client and testing the instinct ideation (possibly a core belief) by allowing the therapist to offer possible real events and occurrences that could happen in any given problematic situation. In other words the individual is asked to think, aloud the process of checking and rechecking the fears or anxieties they have with the therapist of a given situation. Reality testing happens frequently and independently for some individuals, when time allows, where they check and double check (through thoughts prior to a behavior) what the consequences of that behavior are. In reality testing the therapist interjects to the client the potential real outcomes for the fictitious situation or through a reenactment of past similar experiences with the client. (Beck, 1995, p. 76) to better illuminate this an example should be offered; in this scenario the client has expressed unrealistic fear and anxiety surrounding leaving her child at school in the morning, so much so that she often avoids doing so and allows her child to remain home when the child should be at school and this has begun to affect the child's learning and development. The therapist uses guided discovery and collaborative empiricism to discover that the fear of the client is that her child will be abducted; reality testing allows the therapist to offer the client suggestions about the real possibility of abduction of the child i.e. Has it ever happened before? Do you know a child that has been abducted at or from school? Have you taught your child coping skills for defense and avoidance from and of strangers? In this manner the therapist puts the unrealistic fear in context of reality, i.e. that it is very unlikely that the child will be abducted and there are steps you can take as a parent to help ally this fear, i.e. teaching with child, talking with teachers if there is a rational fear (perhaps a history or a person of fear) and mostly changing core beliefs about this possible event associated with unrealistic fear.

Core Beliefs

Core beliefs are those beliefs which the client holds on to and frequently falls back on regarding his view of self or society. Core beliefs can be either positive or negative (or both) and can unknowingly or knowingly guide the client to behavioral decisions. Discovering core beliefs is an integral part of the process, as described above, as these core beliefs can seriously affect behavior and decision making. Core beliefs are those ideations that are most central to an individual's idea of self. For instance the core beliefs of the client used in the example above are based around fear of abduction of her child. The core belief is that the child is only safe when he or she is in direct care of the parent and all others will not protect the child, to the extent that the parent will and the child cannot protect him or herself from abduction. The core belief of the client then is that he or she is the most capable and protective caregiver for his or her child and this can be based on part reality part distortion. Either way this is a core belief that has negatively affected the client's life as it has limited the ability of the client to develop outside interests and career goals. Though the guided discovery process the therapist may also discover that an aspect of the core belief is greater than simply the belief of the client as best caregiver and he or she may discover that the client is utilizing the child (and his or her need to be the exclusive caregiver) as a shield from social anxiety or fear of failure in other areas of his or her life. Core beliefs or the construct that develops from them are sometimes referred to in therapy and theory as schema.

Putting All These Principles Together

It is noted that without the utilization of all aspects that are noted above there is no ability to use the process of cognitive therapy. Each of the above elements is not discrete and linear to the other and the whole process of cognitive therapy is a fluid process that involves all of the above aspects. In other words each aspect will and should be a part of every part of therapy as guided discovery through collaborative empiricism as well as reality testing and core beliefs may become apparent and important later and very much after the initial preliminary guided discovery has taken place. There is a sense that the process is fluid and unending to some degree. The therapists' primary goal is to allow discovery, redevelop reality to test core beliefs and then impart these tools on the client so he or she may utilize the process outside of therapy to help resolve smaller problems and continue to work on the most enduring problems or those that brought the client to therapy in the first place, i.e.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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