The CBT Fallacy.
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The CBT Fallacy.

Bangor : United Kingdom | May 27, 2011 at 5:53 PM PDT
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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is often ascribed high status in the world of therapy. It receives more funding than any other type of counselling therapy, and training courses are highly over subscribed. CBT works on the premise that through altering cognitions (thought patterns) and behaviour through specific techniques, mental health can be improved; it is currently used within the NHS to treat a variety of mental health problems.

The predominant reason for CBTs popularity is it's use of consistent, observable techniques, as compared to other therapies which may rely more on talking (e.g psychoanalytical therapy). This use of techniques in some cases makes it easier to track clients progress, and keeps therapy experience consistent for different clients; factors favoured from scientific viewpoints.

Research studies (see below) however have largely disputed CBTs dominance over other therapies. Comparisons of the three main current therapy treatments (psychoanalytical, person-centred, CBT) has shown similar outcomes for clients across all therapies; an effect commonly labelled the 'dodo effect'.

There are many reasons suggested to explain this effect, most attributing it to the individual factors of each client, rather than the specific treatment effects. It may be that some individuals are predisposed to be more motivated to help themselves get better, and thus will positively respond to a wide range of diverse treatments.

Perhaps counselling research should focus more on the factors that cause some individuals to respond better than others to treatment, and look at ways of fostering these differences in the unwell that struggle to improve.

References:

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=414415

sophieavmills is based in Bangor, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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