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11) Pyschological Therapies – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

CBT is based upon the assumptions of the cognitive model of abnormality which states that abnormally stems from incorrect thoughts and beliefs.

The main type of CBT is Rational-Emotional Therapy (RET). This therapy was developed by Albert Ellis; he believed that by correcting irrational thoughts you can remove the abnormality. It has recently been renamed Rational-Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT).

RET helps the patient understand that his thought processes are irrational, and the consequences of these faulty thought processes.

It then helps them to recognise any “self-defeating” (thoughts that are irrationally negative towards yourself).

Over time the patient will then learn to move from irrational to rational thoughts.



+ Effectiveness – RET has done well in outcome studies (tests that designed to measure effectiveness of treatments). Engels et al (1993) said that RET is an effective treatment for a number of different disorders, which include OCD and social phobia.

+ Useful for a wider population – RET isn’t just useful for people who have “clinical” problems (abnormalities such as long-term anxiety or severe phobias) but it is also appropriate for people who suffer from small “non-clinical” problems such as exam stress or lack of assertiveness


– Irrational environments; not just thoughts – RET fails to deal with problems outside of irrational thoughts, such as irrational environments (bullying etc.). Because of this the irrational environment will continue to produce irrational thoughts, even if RET is attempting to rationalise these thoughts.

– Not suitable for everyone – RET does not always work. Ellis said that this is because the people undergoing it do not follow the procedure, either because they don’t want to be given such blunt advice by therapists or they struggle to but their revised beliefs into action

– Ethical Issue of Religion – Some therapist might regard a certain religious belief as being an irrational thought, however to the patient this is a vital belief, so being told it is “irrational” could be highly upsetting.


About Sam Cook

A blog set up to help A Level students revise Sociology


2 thoughts on “11) Pyschological Therapies – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

  1. Actally ReBT is just one of the approaches covered by the umbrella term of CBT. CBT represents a unique category in psychological interventions as it originates from both the behavioural and cognitive psychological models of human function, these include theories of emotion, developmental (both normal and abnormal) and psychopathology. Behaviour therapy, the earliest of the cognitive and behavioural psychotherapies, is based on the clinical applications of extensively researched theories of behaviour, foremost of which are the roles of classical and operant conditioning. Behavioural approaches do not necessarily investigate the role of cognition and cognitive processes in the development or maintenance of emotional disorders. Cognitive therapy is based on the clinical application of the more recent, but also extensively researched, prominent role of cognitions in the development of emotional disorders. ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ is not a therapy per se, but a collection of therapies including behaviour therapy, cognitive therapy, and other therapies based on the pragmatic combination of the behavioural and cognitive theories.

    Posted by Adrian Soden | June 9, 2011, 8:45 pm
    • Yes, I understand that CBT is a collection of therapies, but for our exam board we need to analyse it as a therapy, its just one of the hoops you have to jump through to get the marks, unfortunately.

      Posted by Sam Cook | July 19, 2011, 10:57 am

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