Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
In considering the work environment and client/student population I wish to work with after graduation I believe “CBT can be a very helpful tool — either alone or in combination with other therapies — in treating mental health disorders, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or an eating disorder. But not everyone who benefits from CBT has a mental health condition. CBT can be an effective tool to help anyone learn how to better manage stressful life situations” (Mayo Clinic, 2023). I envision working at a private practice and these are the type of clients and presenting concerns that I envision working with along with those that suffer from anxiety, grief/loss, and/or substance abuse.
Useful Reasons of CBT
One reason why I believe that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy would be useful is that this theory believes that our feelings are linked to our thoughts and behaviors. If we want to change the way that we feel, then we must reframe the way we think and alter our behaviors accordingly. The identifying and challenging automatic thoughts and images technique identifies this concern. “Thoughts and images are the most readily understood aspect of the cognitive model because clients can easily “catch” them and because they can quickly see the direct connection between their thoughts and their negative feelings and dysfunctional behaviors” (Neukrug, 2018, p. 371). The second reason why I believe CBT would be useful is the behavioral and emotive technique. “If a client is to change his or her automatic thoughts, he or she should also address the emotions and behaviors that have resulted from them” (Neukrug, 2018, p. 377). CBT is a full circle approach that can get to the root issue of the challenges in our life and help clients develop positive techniques that will reframe the way they think, feel, and behave. I have worked with a CBT therapist in the past and it was very helpful. I learned more about CBT and the benefits that it can have on my life. It is an approach that focuses on the present moment as well. Dwelling on the past or fear/anxiety of the future can negatively affect our emotional well-being.
In researching deeper about CBT, I learned that since this approach is more focused on the present moment, it may not be useful for clients that have deeper issues with their childhood and or family systems. Some clients may need to have a therapy approach that dives deeper into their past. Past traumas can deeply affect our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of our present, so this is something to keep in mind when evaluating presenting concerns of my clients. A second potential limitation to this approach is when presented with a client that is not willing to go all in with the process. “To benefit from CBT, you need to commit yourself to the process. A therapist can help and advise you but cannot make your problems go away without your co-operation” (The CBT Clinic, n.d.).
Personal Application of CBT
I truly feel that this approach fits my passion for counseling along with Person-Centered Counseling Therapy. CBT concentrates on building a strong alliance with your client so integrating both I feel will bring out my most authentic self in addressing human dysfunction, wellness, growth, and change. CBT is goal-oriented and having goals in life I believe are important. When thinking about counseling I want to be able to have the client envision their end goal to our therapy process. In seeing an end goal, I believe the client is more likely to buy-in to the CBT process and work hard to experience the necessary change of their current thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are negatively impacted their lives.
Mayo Clinic. (2023). Cognitive behavioral therapy. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cognitive-behavioral-therapy/about/pac-20384610
Neukrug, E. (2018). Counseling theory and practice (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Cognella.
The CBT Clinic. (n.d.). Pros & Cons of CBT Therapy. http://www.thecbtclinic.com/pros-cons-of-cbt-therapy