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There are a variety of psychological perspectives regarding mental disorders, and each perspective has its strengths. One such psychological perspective is behavioral-cognitive therapy. Behavioral-cognitive therapy, which combines both behavior- and thought-oriented treatment, can be effective in treating many different psychological disorders (Wade & Tavris, 2012).
The central themes of cognitive therapy and behavior therapy are different, but together they form an effective form of treatment. Clinicians who practice behavioral therapy are concerned with the patient’s behaviors, while clinical psychologists who practice cognitive therapy focus on helping their patients understand their thoughts and beliefs (Wade & Tavris, 2012). Clinical psychologists who use behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy in conjunction treat the patient’s thoughts first, believing that constructive thinking will ultimately modify the patient’s behavior. (Wade & Tavris, 2012).
Rather than examining the unconscious mind like psychodynamic therapy or exploring the patient’s current life like humanist therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy helps patients change the way they think and behave, and this approach can help patients control their symptoms (Wade & Tavris, 2012). Cognitive-behavioral therapy implements a variety of techniques, including graduated exposure (a method in which a person suffering from panic attacks or a phobia is gradually exposed to the item or situation that they are fearful of) and rational emotive behavior therapy (a method which challenges “the client’s unrealistic or irrational thoughts”) (Wade & Tavris, 2012). This therapy technique is particularly effective in treating obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), but it is also effective in treating depressive disorders and other anxiety disorders (Wade & Tavris, 2012).
Behavioral-cognitive therapy is a valuable therapy technique. It focuses on changing the patient’s thoughts, and in turn changing their behavior. Although it is most effective in treating obsessive compulsive disorder, this form of therapy can be used to effectively treat a variety of mental illnesses and enhance a patient’s quality of life.
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