CBT Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Case Study Essay

Length: 6 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Psychology Type: Essay Paper: #41705783 Related Topics: Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Dissonance, Countertransference, Memes
Excerpt from Essay :

Cognitive Behavior Therapy- A Case Study

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) Case Study

Case report

K is a forty-eight-year female who referred to Midlothian's clinical psychology psychosis service. K has a twenty-year history of mental health conditions. She first decided to contact mental health services because of the episodes of paranoia and severe depression she had experienced. During her initial contact with the mental health services she was diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder in 1996. When she was first referred to the mental health services department she was a single. She told of having only two close relationships in her past life. She however also said that she found these relationships challenging when it came to intimate contact. She also generally described that she found it somewhat difficult to form friendships or to trust people in her life. Despite the mental health conditions her general physical well-being was good. K was prescribed with antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs. Before the prescription she had had no prior contact with any form of psychological therapies. In her description of her mental problems she described them as affecting her regularly and that they were greatly linked to her sense of inadequacy and failure. Her depressive episodes were lengthy, sometimes lasting for several days and they severely affected her vocational and social functioning. At times, in her depressive thoughts she could turn paranoid and believe that her sister had the ability to control her, a belief that was linked to unusual physical sensations in K's body. K also described a difficult childhood especially with regards to her relationship with her mother, which was not cordial at all; that her mother constantly belittled her leaving K with a sense of inadequacy. K had also been sexually abused when she was a child causing further disturbances to her sense of self. These childhood disruptions were later extended to her adult life in her relationship with her older sister, who treated her in the same manner as her mother, constantly deriding her and thus contributing further to K feeling that she was not good enough. In spite of her early difficulties, K gained an admission into a university and successfully completed her higher learning. Upon graduation, she held different temporary positions over the years such as waitressing and working as a receptionist and working at a bar. Most of these jobs were cut short due to her depression episodes. At the time of the psychological evaluation, she had not worked for quite a number of years and had only a handful of social contacts (Ponniah & Hollon, 2008; Harper, 2013; Morrison, 2007).

The belittling, neglect and abuse k suffered in her upbringing seems to have resulted in a negative self-schema associated with a sense of inadequacy and failure. She tended to view other people around her as superior, untrustworthy, and potentially harmful. The world was as an evil place to her. The time periods in her life in which negative schema were active led to experience of paranoia, depression and associated unusual experiences. Subsequently, K developed different coping strategies to prevent the activation of negative schema in her life, and thus, these ways of coping were understood as underlying assumptions (U.As). These underlying assumptions involve her being cold and avoiding any expression of emotion or emotional needs and her avoiding to open up or to trust those around her in fear of rejection. The resulting suppression of personal needs and social isolation were therefore just representations of negative schema. The main cognitive element of the problem was marked by self-criticism, leading to emotional issues such as frustrations, anger and depression. The above mentioned description of the problem and its progression was discussed after the first evaluation/assessment and K agreed that it was a logical


The rationale behind this explanation was that negative schemas and their associated dysfunctions emerge out of gaps in the primary nurturing experience right from early childhood and such schemas are made of a combination of the behavioural, cognitive, emotional and psychological affectations. Awareness of this fact allowed K to be less self-critical of herself, this is because she realised that her problems could be attributed to different factors instead of solely on herself. She also became aware that the active negative schemas were directly associated with her childhood experiences and thus her 'feeling like a girl', feeling emotionally overwhelmed or out of control were rational actions for her when the negative schemas were active (Harper, 2013).

According to Morrison (2007), a dysfunctional schema is a broad organizing principle that is used by one to make sense out his or her life experiences and that schemas are thought to be formed in the early stages of childhood and continues to be superimposed and elaborated upon with later experiences in life. Dysfunctional schemas can, be formed to help one understand problems in psychosis in this case (Harper, 2013) and have in several occasions been implicated in the formation and maintenance of psychotic experiences. And thus psychotic experiences can at times be thought as schemas. In our case (K's case), it was thought that a schema formulation and clinical intervention was needed because of her self-described negative self-sense that had persisted in her life since she was a child. Dysfunctional schemas were identified via Socratic dialogue and clinical questioning, through a procedure that was first proposed by Morrison (2007). Obviously, this may not be the best method for assessing the presence of dysfunctional schemas; however the schemas that were identified matched with what K had described and agreed with and thus provided a basis to form important heuristics that would allow the schema level work to continue. Harper (2013) schema level formulation was followed and therefore, the case-level formulation was broken down into two working formulations; one extending the negative self-formulation and the other developing the positive one.

Positive self-formulation was however much more difficult to form because the positive sense of self was much less experienced even though it was acknowledged to be present. And thus during therapy K was asked the question that which aspect or type of self did she feel closely resembled who she really was or liked to be. In response, K chose the positive sense of self and this step was regarded as crucial in encouraging her to continue being engaged in therapy. The negative and positive sense of self were then weighed and noted to be two real parts of self and that the negative self-dominated due to childhood experiences and other difficult adult life experiences building on that as described earlier. In the same setting, the idea of schema as prejudice, the negative sense of self was thought of a 'lens' through which K saw her life (Zayas, Drake & Jonson-Reid, 2011). Moreover, K was encouraged to see her negative sense of self-linked behaviours and beliefs as functional on the grounds that they only appeared to help her cope with negative self schema activation. Therefore, using the term that Drisko (2014) utilized, these associated beliefs and behaviours were supposed to be considered as 'good reasons'. This part of the discussion was to help K in reducing self-criticism.

The logic behind schema-based CBT was conceptualised and discussed in order to make more room to allow the experiencing of positive self and to form strategies to cope more effectively with negative sense of self. Negative beliefs are not likely to be adequate to cause emotional change, as emotional processing level that is linked to schematic beliefs is stored at different levels and not just in the cognitive domain. Therefore, for there to be any form of emotional change, clients need to change their way of 'being' and not merely their way of thinking. Discussions from ICS on the implications were thus thought to be the best way of motivating K to continue with her therapy work, particularly in behavioural experiments as the new ways of being would take somewhat longer to take root and in turn also longer to affect the linked schema level emotional states. The emotional change or implicational meaning was then discussed as a long-term objective of the therapy, while cognitive change was expected to occur more quickly. Discussing these issues motivated K to continue with behavioural experiments which at the initial stages provoked anxiety in her (Harper, 2013; Zayas et al., 2011).

Positive Self Data log

Another method that was utilized to bring about a positive sense of self was the incorporation of a positive self-log that followed the one proposed by Harper (2013). And again, the concept of schema as self-prejudice (Priyamvada, Kumari, Prakash & Chaudhury, 2009), and the function of the negative self as a 'lens' to see or experience life provided the reason for the use of a positive self-data log.…

Sources Used in Documents:


Bladek, M. (2014). Against memory: Acts of remembering in Jamaica Kincaid's My Brother. Retrieved from http://criticism.english.illinois.edu/2007%20Fall%20Documents/Affect%20Abstracts/Abstracts.htm

DeJong, P. & . Berg I.K (1998): Interviewing for solutions. Thomson: Brooks/Cole.

Drisko, J. (2014). Research Evidence and Social Work Practice: The Place of Evidence-Based Practice. Clin Soc Work J. 42:123-133 DOI 10.1007/s10615-013-0459-9

Freud, S. (1924) A general introduction to psychoanalysis. New York: Boni & Liveright.
Priyamvada, R., Kumari, S., Prakash, J., & Chaudhury, S. (2009). Cognitive behavioral therapy in the treatment of social phobia. Industrial Psychiatry Journal, 18(1), 60-63. http://doi.org/10.4103/0972-6748.57863
Vries, J. M. (2009). The 'Cognitive Dissonance Meme' and Psychotherapy. Retrieved from http://iahip.org/inside-out/issue-57-winter-2008/the-cognitive-dissonance-meme-and-psychotherapy

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