Cognitive Theory and Social Work Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Both types of reflection are ways to restructure cognition. Dynamic reflection focuses on problems and problem solving, while existential reflection seeks to discover meaning in life. In either case, the helper's role is to facilitate the reflection process.

Congruence with Social Work Values and Ethics

To determine the congruence between cognitive therapy and social work values and ethics, the writer consulted the National Association of Social Worker's (NASW) Code of Ethics (NASW, 2008). NASW's ethical principles are based on its six core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. The overriding purpose of cognitive therapy is service to the client -- helping her identify, challenge, and change the cognitive misconceptions that result in unhealthy emotions and dysfunctional behavior. Perhaps the most obvious congruence is between the values of dignity and worth of the person and social justice. The former is evidenced through being mindful of the client's time and believing in the client as his own change agent. The latter, social justice, is concerned with empowerment, and when the client takes over the job of being her own therapist, she has empowered herself.

The second of Beck's cognitive therapy principles concerns a sound therapeutic relationship. For this to occur requires integrity and competence on the helper's part. It also relates to the importance of human relationships, another of the NASW values. As Lantz writes, "When the social worker takes time to be with the client, shows
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interest in the client as a person, and responds to the client with empathy and concern, the social worker is frequently giving the client quite a different [from usual] message regarding his or her importance as a person & #8230;" (p.102-103).

Strengths and Challenges

Major strengths of cognitive theory as applied in social work are that it:

Aligns with the NASW Code of Ethics. In particular, it is respectful of the client's time and ability to take charge of his own mental life.

Can be used to treat a variety of conditions such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and personality disorders.

Can be used in a variety of treatment settings: individual counseling, group therapy, marital and family counseling.

Is a useful tool (e.g. Ellis' ABC analysis) for enhancing quality of life for one who has no diagnosed condition.

Some challenges to the approach are:

Knowing when the client is ready to leave treatment and become his own helper.

Knowing when to use certain cognitive therapy approaches or procedures and when to use an alternative. For example, Lantz recommends using dynamic reflection when problem solving is the goal and using existential reflection to gain a richer understanding of the meanings of human existence.

References

Lantz, J. (2007). Cognitive theory and social work treatment. In M. Mattaini & C. Lowery (Eds.), Foundations of social work practice: a graduate text (4th ed.), 94-115. Washington D.C. NASW Press.

National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkers.org/pub/code/code.asp.

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Lantz, J. (2007). Cognitive theory and social work treatment. In M. Mattaini & C. Lowery (Eds.), Foundations of social work practice: a graduate text (4th ed.), 94-115. Washington D.C. NASW Press.

National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkers.org/pub/code/code.asp.

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