To treat dysfunctional modes of either thinking or behaving in Cognitive Therapy three general 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. These steps are fundamental in the process as each step is an aspect of the developed sense of self or core belief. To describe each process is also important. The concept of deactivation is essential but usually only partial as the mode of thinking or behaving is likely based in some truth, in other words the core belief has a particle of truth that is held and developed by the individual for adaptation and survival, therefore the therapist may need to reassure those parts of the mode that are based on truth and then distract the individual by reality testing or modification of the whole of the mode process. The modification may include either or both modification of content (i.e. The core belief or some aspect of it) and/or the modification of the structure of the maladaptive mode of thinking or behaving to a more positive process that will elicit more favorable results from thoughts or behaviors. In the third step noted above the therapist then works collaboratively with the client to construct more adaptive modes of thinking or behaving and teaches them processes that will help them do this for themselves in the future, so they might be able to tackle more maladaptive thinking and behavior and respond to the world in a way that better meets their needs.
How Does CT Relate to Other Branches of Therapy
The mode process, described above has resulted in its own branch of cognitive therapy called Mode Deactivation Therapy, which specifically focuses on the mode step process and attempts to systematically attack specific thought/emotion/behavior constructs to help clients more fully deactivate behaviors and thought schemas that have troubled their lives. Additionally this work intends to at least briefly discuss how cognitive therapy relates to other forms of psychological therapy. Psychoanalysis, first applied and conceived of by Freud, attempts to allow (through self-analysis in the presence of a therapist) to client to discover his or her own dysfunction. The process is said to be very long-term as through the whole life span individuals will experience negative behavioral and thought processes by virtue of innate human flaws, some of which are seen as universal to the human condition. Cognitive Therapy is a more proactive approach, stopping short of telling the client what they are doing or thinking wrong but supported by the idea that guidance can help the client change his or her thoughts or behaviors. CT is also not guided by the premise that individuals are innately flawed, and attempts through cognition and thought adaptation to change the core beliefs that may fundamentally affect the individual and how he or she reacts (behaves) to the environment. REBT is a form of psychoanalysis, which is remarkably more active than psychotherapy, and shares some concepts and applications as cognitive therapy, such as it aligns thought and behavior and attempts to give the client a cognitive resolution for maladaptive behavior, which in REBT is said to be driven by globalization of thought, the all or nothing tendencies of normal thought, i.e. when one globalizes certain ideations or reactions and assumes that they apply to all or nothing then normal adaptive thoughts and behaviors become maladaptive. The most important distinction between REBT and cognitive therapy is that cognitive therapy does not hold to the idea that emotions are irrational, while REBT ascribes all emotions to irrational constructs, in that emotion according to REBT is the reflection of lack of thought rather than rational thought. (Robertson, D. 2010)
Cognitive Therapy has been sighted as one of the most popular and functional types of therapy used in the modern day. In part because the theories and systems is uses are thought of as easily understood and easily applied by both the clinician and the individual in later states of therapy or even after formal therapy has ended. Cognitive therapy can be applied to nearly every age group, used as an intervention model for children and as an intervention model for adults as well as an adaptive mode of therapy that has gained much from research, application and study. From CT have come many other applied types of therapeutic schema which have aided thousands of people over the years to live happier and more productive lives. In addition CT, or one of its derivatives, is a frequently applied effectively to some of the most enduring and destructive examples of human psychological dysfunction, such as depression and even in serious proven biologically-based maladaptive behavior problems. CT does not exclude collaborative or conjunction approaches of treatment with anti-depressive or anti-psychotic disorders and most importantly it supports the idea that emotions are normal and natural, that behaviors are linked to emotions and that core beliefs drive thought and behavior. These concepts are readily applied to nearly every type of social and emotional dysfunction and can be applied by a broad range of clinicians, if they are appropriately trained to do so. Some detractors of CT will say that some of the more enduring examples of maladaptive human behavior, including anger dysfunctions and those that are associated with clinical sociopathic or disengagement problems are not effectively treated by CT, as the individual can sometimes be clinically incapable of cognition regarding behaviors or simply chooses what they believe are rational behaviors based on a lack of social ethical connection. Yet, CT is an exceptional model of therapy for a great number of people and will likely continue to evolve and be applied in many cases very effectively.
Beck, J.S. (1995). Cognitive therapy: basics and beyond. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Hewstone, M. Fencham, F.F. & Foster, J. (2005). Psychology. Malden, MA: Blackstone Publishing.
Robertson, D (2010). The philosophy of cognitive-behavioural therapy: Stoicism as rational and cognitive psychotherapy. London, UK: Karnac Publishing.
Sanders, D. & Wills, F. (2005) Cognitive therapy: an introduction. Thousand Oaks,…