Cognitive treatments


Outline; cognitive treatments

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; our thoughts influence our feelings which influence our behaviour. How we think about situation> how we feel> how we behave/react. CBT assumes not external things such as people, situations and events that control our behaviour. CBT; monitor/challenge negative thoughts, irrational assumptions, disordered thinking about a situation,then change behaviour to fresh, rational thinking. Teaches coping skills and new ways of reacting to situations rather than negative thought patterns. According to Albert Ellis (REBT), when we think rationally, we behave rationally, and as a consequence, we are happy, competent and effective.

Joint-enterprise between therapist and client. Therapist seeks to discover what client wants out of life; goals, tries to help the client achieve these, clarifying behaviour required, options available, possible routes. Client’s role; be frank about worries/concerns, reflect on what learning during therapy, put these lessons into action. One of main skills; self counselling; focus on rational self-counselling skills. Take responsibility for own life, now and in the future. Relaxation techniques may also be taught.

Briefer than many other forms of therapy, 16 sessions. Often time-limited; at the start, agree formal therapy end. Offers ‘instruction’ to the client, regular ‘homework’ assignments completed on time. Practise the skills and techniques studied during the therapy. Used alone or in conjunction with medication. 

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Evaluate; cognitive treatments

Effective as drugs in treating depression;  Significant strength removes limitations of drug therapy, i.e. side effects. Suggests altering cognitive processes alone can be a successful.

Fava et al. found CBT alternative to long-term drug treatment; evidence suggest that CBT is effective in long term treatment, useful alternative for therapists to consider. No drawbacks that drug therapy has, i.e. potential for addiction, etc.

Doesn’t address causes of mental illness; focused on altering the thought processes and biases of the patient.  Could be overlying symptoms of deeper issue, only the surface level symptoms. 

Patient dependent on the therapist; A strong relationship is likely to develop between the patient and the therapist and it may become the case that the patient becomes dependent on the therapist to help them on a regular basis.  This could make a final ‘cure’ difficult to find using this treatment.

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