Applications of Cognitive-Behavioral Group Therapy (CBGT) Kevin J. Drab, M.A., M.Ed., LPC, NBCCH, CACD, EMDRT Behavioral Counseling & Training, 418 Stump Road, Suite #208, Montgomeryville, PA 18936 Tel: (215) 527-2904 e-mail: [email_address] website: http://BCTPRO.com
The Third Wave of Behavior Therapies First Wave - traditional behavior therapy, which works to replace harmful behaviors with constructive ones through a learning principle called conditioning. Second Wave - cognitive therapy seeks to change problem behaviors by changing the thoughts that cause and perpetuate them. Third Wave – movement away from cognitivism, toward new forms of behaviorism, including functional analysis, and traditionally nonclinical treatment techniques like acceptance, mindfulness, cognitive defusion, dialectics, values, spirituality, and relationship development. These therapies reexamine the causes and diagnoses of psychological problems, the treatment goals of psychotherapy, and even the definition of mental illness itself.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy does not exist as a distinct therapeutic technique. The term "cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)" is a very general term for a classification of therapies with similarities.
There are many approaches labeled as cognitive-behavioral therapy, including:
CBT is based on behaviorism, social learning theory, and generally covert cognitive structures. While recognizing that there may be various genetic and psychophysiogic susceptibilities contributing to the development of various mental health problems and substance use disorders, it is assumed that the primary mechanism is through learning, occurring mostly out of awareness, via social modeling, operant and classical conditioning, and adaptive biological changes in the body.
The goals of CBT are to: -- Recognize maladaptive patterns of thinking/acting -- Decrease the intensity & frequency of problematic symptoms -- Develop adaptive responses -- Increasing coping skills -- Prevent relapse
That thoughts, feelings and behaviors are interrelated and multidirectional. CBT is not a logical, intellectual approach. It is a collaborative exploration of the client’s phenomenological world: memories, thoughts, emotions, experiences, and patterns and structures of responding. In group therapy this involves both the therapist, and group clients. The focus at first is usually on identifying and challenging dysfunctional/irrational Automatic Thoughts which lead to self-defeating emotional and behavioral responses. Automatic thoughts coexist with a more manifest stream of thoughts, arise spontaneously, are negative, are usually very brief, and are not based on reflection or deliberation. e.g., I’m a total failure; Everybody is laughing at me; I can’t stand this; This will just get worse; I am losing control; etc. Beck’s favorite clinical question which he called the clinical probe was: “What is going through your mind right now?” Fundamental to a CBT approach is an understanding of the cognitive model.
Underlying the immediate automatic thoughts are the individual’s conditional or intermediate beliefs – the if-then statements by which an individual makes sense of the cause-and-effect relations in the world. The cognitive model holds that everyone has an array of conditional beliefs that have been learned and accumulated over a lifetime, and seem unquestionably true and obvious to them. Therapy helps the individual explore those conditional beliefs which are not helping them, are not true, and causing them troubles.
Beneath these conditional beliefs , the cognitive model locates what are called core beliefs or schemas . These are the deep, fundamental ways that a person regards him or herself. Individuals usually hold a combination of positive and core beliefs as to their lovability and competence in facing life’s challenges. Examples of negative schemas: I am helpless I am powerless I am not safe I am out of control I am weak I am vulnerable I can’t trust anyone I am responsible It will always be taken away from me I am inadequate I am ineffective I am stupid I am incompetent I will always fail I am defective (i.e., I do not measure up to others) I am not good enough (in terms of achievement) I am shameful I am unworthy I am nothing I am different I am undesirable I am unattractive I am unwanted I am uncared for I am bad I don’t deserve anything I can’t trust myself
The key active ingredients that distinguish CBT from other therapies and that must be delivered for adequate exposure to CBT include the following:
Functional analyses of relationships between thoughts, emotional problems, behaviors, substance use, and environmental influences
Individualized training in recognizing and coping with dysfunctional cognitions and physiologic responses causing problems.
Recognizing risk-factors, triggers, seemingly irrelevant decisions, and how to deal with impulses and urges (such as with depression or substance abuse)
Identification and debriefing of past and future high-risk situations
Encouragement and review of extra-session implementation of skills
Practice of skills within sessions
Essential Techniques: 1. Connection between thoughts, situational triggers, and elicitation of negative affect, including depression and anxiety. 2. Use of evidence gathering and thought distortions to become more objective about one’s thoughts. 3. Use of experiments. 4. Exploration of underlying beliefs and assumptions. Adaptive response : the primary therapeutic mechanism of CBT in which an individual learns to make effective changes in how they think, feel, act and adapt.
The notion that the patient’s everyday experiences could be used as a testing ground for checking the accuracy of various beliefs crystalized into the general concept of “Collaborative Empiricism” which became the cornerstone of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Examples of Various Techniques Used in CBT Cognitive reconstruction Self-monitoring (e.g. Thought Record) Descending Arrow Technique Socratic Questioning Techniques Advantages and disadvantages Rational-emotional role-play Relaxation Acting “as if” Behavioral experiments Homework Exposure Skills development Reconstructing personal history Balcony method Response Prevention Psychoeducation Cognitive continuum Acceptance Behavioral Activation Relapse Prevention Mindfulness Self-disclosure Core Belief worksheet Extreme contrasts Developing metaphors Historical tests Restructuring early memories Coping cards Problem-solving Pie Chart
Core Therapeutic Principles 1. Collaborative Empiricism in which the therapist and client “join forces to investigate thoughts and experiences in a manner that is reminiscent of the scientific method. This requires developing hypotheses about thoughts and testing these through logical analysis and collection of factual evidence.” 2. Socratic Dialogue , involves “a series of interconnected questions that lead to a more logical, objective conclusion about one’s experiences” and is also a common theme for all cognitive techniques.” 3. Guided Discovery in which the therapist helps to illuminate meaning of thoughts and problems in logic, or helps to create situations from which the patient learns new information and different ways of thinking, acting and feeling.”
Examples of Socratic Dialogue Questions Clarifying questions What do you mean by ______? What is your main point? How does ____ relate to ____? Could you put that another way? Let me see if I understand you; do you mean _____ or _____? Could you give me an example? Could you explain that further? Could you expand upon that?
Collaborative relationship involves continually developing a therapeutic alliance in which clients are actively involved in process and tasks, asking questions, providing inputs, and working with therapist to achieve goals. Facilitating group members to develop adaptive responses.
The following are elements of a collaborative relationship in CBGT:
Agenda – usually arrived at by consensus.
Feedback – relevant according to each client’s treatment goals.
Goal Setting – therapist guides discussion of goals, but goals originate from group members themselves.
Homework – behavioral experimentation, helping clients to find homework that they are motivated to do; group pressure.
Socratic Questio ning – clients begin to learn how to use this in their interactions with each other.