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Efficacy Issues Associated With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy by Stacey Millichamp (2/2)

August 24, 2011

Efficacy Issues Associated With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy by Stacey Millichamp  (1/2)

One main drawback of the Cognitive Model of Emotional Response, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in general, lies in the presumption that external stimuli exerts little or no control over the way an individual reacts to challenging situations. To this end, a person suffering from low self-esteem, previous trauma, or depression caused by a biochemical imbalance may find it extremely difficult to reverse patterns of all-or-nothing (dichotomous) thinking as they lack the capacity for objective self-examination.

With roots in stoic philosophy, cognitive behavioral therapy emphasizes pragmatic rationalization for the purpose of confronting personal weaknesses and shortcomings. A CBT therapist will strive to bolster a patient’s ability to view mental and emotional problems as surmountable within a defined period of time. For patients who exhibit mild, moderate, or severe anxiety or depression-related symptoms, the struggle to overcome feelings of defeat or hopelessness tied to negative self-image tend to intensify during periods of stress at home or at work, instances that occur on an unpredictable and ongoing basis.

Another excellent example of why cognitive behavioral therapy falls short as a permanent solution for certain patient groups can be found in cases of past physical or sexual abuse. One can hardly argue that experiences such as these do not leave a scar on one’s life to some degree. Presuming that a person can reframe reality via cognitive restructuring fails to address the heart of the problem, as conjuring a new, false remembrance of the past is counter-intuitive in the short term (although often effective), as well as unproductive in long-term therapy.

About the author: overseeing a private practice in London, England, since 1995, Stacey Millichamp holds a Master’s degree in Psychotherapy, a diploma in Couple Therapy and Clinical Supervision, and credentialing in Psychosynthesis Counseling and Therapy, among other distinctions. A fully accredited member of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, Stacey Millichamp presently devotes a large portion of time and energy towards her supervisory responsibilities at the Psychosynthesis and Education Trust.

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