Beck and Ellis Explain Why Cognitive Therapy Is Particularly Effective in the Treatment of ________
Cognitive therapy has a wide range of applications, but its success rate in treating depression has been particularly remarkable. According to several meta-analyses, approximately 80% of adults treated with cognitive therapy experienced positive outcomes; many therapists now utilize this technique for this purpose (Butler and Beck, 2000).
Cognitive therapy is a type of mental health therapy that emphasizes changing thoughts and behaviors through “cognitive restructuring.” The therapist and client collaborate to identify and correct faulty thought patterns that cause negative emotions and behavior.
The therapist creates rapport by listening attentively and asking probing questions. She may then prompt the client to reflect on his thoughts and feelings as a means of comprehending how they pertain to problems. Through teaching, the therapist equips clients with skills for applying rational understanding of life circumstances to alter unhelpful behaviors or attitudes.
At the start of cognitive therapy, the therapist recognizes a specific irrational belief that is impeding her client’s progress. For instance, they might ask them to describe an event from recent memory that has caused some negative feelings.
Beck emphasizes the detrimental effect of illogical thought processes, which can cause great anxiety or depression. He contends that people who hold such beliefs often resist changing them. A supportive Socratic technique can help clients discover and acknowledge these irrational thoughts by providing them with encouragement to explore them further.
Ellis’ rational-emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is a type of cognitive therapy that also addresses irrational beliefs. Through this type of approach, clients are guided to understand how these negative thoughts may be detrimental and require alteration in order to move forward.
Once the therapist has identified irrational beliefs, she can challenge them by reframing them in order to recognize their true nature. This may involve asking the client to consider different perspectives on a situation or giving him homework assignments designed to test his irrational thoughts.
Albert Ellis (1957) developed the ABC Technique of Irrational Beliefs to assist clients in recognizing and replacing irrational beliefs with more rational ones. This technique involves identifying an activating event (the cause) in a three-column table, then recording its belief, consequence, and action.
A therapist may then ask their client to consider viewing events from another perspective and record his thoughts on paper. Once it is determined that this new perspective is more accurate, she can work together with them to alter and reframe this thought so it makes more sense logically.
In addition to challenging irrational and maladaptive thinking, a cognitive therapist may also encourage their client to explore alternative methods of dealing with stress. For instance, when someone has an all-or-nothing approach to stress management, the therapist could give him homework assignments that promote healthier alternatives that don’t involve substance use.