Topic 10: CBT Myths & CBT Competence {by 12/2}

[CBT Myths] – (1) Identify at least one common CBT myth you have heard from other people/professionals.  What are your thoughts when you hear such comments?  (2) Why do you think some of these myths continue to exist?  (3) What can you do to help dispel some of these myths?

 

[CBT Competence] – (1) How can it be a problem if CBT therapists has a strong aversion to practicing CBT techniques on themselves?  (2) What are some possible indicators to determine if you are receiving quality CBT supervision?  What type of feedback from your supervisor do you think would be most beneficial to your professional development as a CBT therapist?  (3) What are some possible negative outcomes if you do not stay up to date with CBT knowledge and skills?

 

Your original post should be posted by 12/2.  Have your two replies posted no later than 12/4.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

33 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Valerie Graveline
    Nov 28, 2021 @ 21:50:42

    [CBT Myths]
    1) A couple common CBT myths that I have heard from other people are that “CBT is a fancy approach to positive thinking” and “CBT is only for psychologically minded/motivated people”. When hearing these comments, it is clear that these individuals don’t truly understand both the concepts and goals associated with CBT. CBT is not simply a fancy approach to positive thinking as it pertains to restructuring individuals’ thoughts so that they are more realistic, rather than distorted. If CBT were to only focus on ideal, positive thoughts, it would feel as though we are trying to convince clients to ignore reality and only think strictly positively. Also, when hearing comments such as “CBT is only for psychologically minded/motivated people”, I think that the idea that CBT is focused upon psychoeducation is ignored as many, if not most clients, will come to treatment unaware of such concepts. As clinicians, it is our responsibility to help clients, no matter their levels of self-awareness or motivation, learn and understand these concepts so that they can ultimately apply them independently going forward.

    2) I wonder if some of these myths might continue to exist because it is a newer approach to treatment than other types of therapies. Aside from this, such myths might be perpetuated because individuals may not be corrected about these preconceived notions about CBT. It is important that these myths are addressed and corrected when they are brought up by professionals and others in order to avoid further confusion regarding the concepts and goals of CBT.

    3) To dispel some of these myths about CBT, it is important to correct others with accurate information in response to such myths. When these myths arise, it is crucial that they are addressed so that they are not believed to be accurate and thus, perpetuated. Otherwise, these myths can potentially be dispelled with the integration of at least some CBT in various counseling programs so that professionals gain a better overall understanding of the approach.

    [CBT Competence]
    1) It can be a problem if CBT therapists have a strong aversion to practicing CBT techniques on themselves as it will communicate to other professionals and clients that the clinician does not believe the interventions to be helpful or effective. Further, it can communicate to the client that the clinician is being disingenuous about the value of completing various CBT techniques, which will deter the client from completing the technique themselves. Being disingenuous about the techniques may also damage the therapeutic relationship with the client as it may make the client feel as though they are being misled in treatment.

    2) Some possible indicators to determine if you are receiving quality CBT supervision are if the supervisor ensures that you are strictly adhering to CBT theory and skills, observes your sessions in some way (whether it be live or with a recording of a session), and if the supervisor is competent in CBT and actively utilizes its approach in treatment. In order to work toward becoming a competent CBT therapist, it would be most beneficial to receive feedback from your supervisor pertaining to your case formulations and treatment plans. It is said that CBT skills themselves have little value if client’s problems are not being appropriately assessed, thus, it is crucial that the supervisor shares this feedback so that you can ensure you are properly adhering to CBT theory.

    3) If you do not stay up to date with relevant CBT knowledge and skills, it is possible that the interventions you are utilizing are no longer considered effective or appropriate for the client depending on what new information has been identified in the field. Also, it is possible that the clinician is not strictly adhering to CBT theory if they are not ensuring that the skills being utilized are still scientifically supported and accepted within the approach. It is important that CBT clinicians remain educated on the relevant therapeutic skills and interventions to ensure that the best possible care is being given to their clients.

    Reply

    • Jennifer Vear
      Nov 30, 2021 @ 11:45:16

      Hi Valerie!

      For your section on CBT Competence, I thought you did a really great job describing how to know if you are receiving quality CBT supervision. I completely agree with you on the fact that feedback on treatment plans and case assessment would be very beneficial. This is the part that will determine our treatment approach and if there is a better way of going about it or areas where we could improve, it would be very beneficial to know! I mentioned CBT skills, but you are right! The skills mean nothing if you are not taking the correct or best approach for the individual client! Great job!

      – Jenn

      Reply

    • Katie O'Brien
      Dec 02, 2021 @ 13:42:11

      Valerie,

      I think you might be right about how CBT being “newer” leads people to believe the myths more readily. I think of psychoanalysis for example and I’m pretty sure everyone has seen it depicted somehow at some point: a therapist sitting there with a notepad, asking “how do you feel about that?” and diving into childhood traumas. It’s been around so long that people probably assume that’s just what therapy is and that’s how it works, despite sitting in therapy long term without feeling better. Similarly, I think people have this notion that you go to therapy so your therapist can fix you, and as CBT is more collaborative and puts more work on the client, it can be sort of shocking to people. It’s new and different and sometimes people take some time to accept things if it’s not what they’re used to or originally expected. But that does not mean it doesn’t work!
      Nice point!

      Katie

      Reply

  2. Jennifer Vear
    Nov 30, 2021 @ 11:40:56

    [CBT Myths]
    1. One CBT myth that I have heard from other people and have even seen on TV is that we are devoid of any emotion and are rigid. To me, it really shows how little people know about CBT because, with my experience with it, it is everything but that. It is an old way of looking at the practice, but it is much more. When people see it in movies and TV shows, they believe that it must be true in real life. I have also heard that CBT is quick to learn and easy to practice. Many people create CBT self-help books for individuals to work on themselves. These can be helpful, but should also be used with a therapist. If people think that they can do it themselves, then they might not seek out therapy or believe that our practice is not worth it if a small book can do it for them.

    2. I have heard that people are scared of CBT therapy because the therapist will “tell them what to do” or tell them “something that they do not want to hear”. If that is the case, then they are seeing the wrong therapist. It is those therapists that act in that way that ruin it for the rest of us, damage the reputation of therapy, and continue the myths for CBT. Also, again, with movies and TV shows allowing the myths to exist.

    3. When I begin practicing, I can help to dispel some of these myths by showing that that is not how we act. Hopefully, by showing my clients the great things about CBT, they could pass it to other people and encourage others to go as well. That is all we really can do; do our job correctly and be compassionate.

    [CBT Competence]
    1. If a CBT therapist does not practice their techniques on themselves, how can they truly understand the benefits and how it works? By practicing some of these techniques on myself in class, I learned about how valuable it is to complete it for myself. Not only am I benefiting from completing the exercises, but it is also showing me what it is like being in a client’s shoes and the process and difficulties of experiencing some of these exercises. Without it, how would I truly know how to explain it to a client or help convince them of the value in completing them?

    2. Indictors that could demonstrate you are receiving quality CBT supervision would be if they frequently watch your sessions and give you constructive criticism. A good CBT supervisor will be an integral part of the training process to make sure that you are learning as much as you can. You will be able to go to them with questions and feel that you are learning something with their feedback to be a better therapist. Also, it can be beneficial to watch their sessions and observe key aspects of how they handle things. I believe that the most beneficial type of feedback is the critical skills-based feedback that will truly help you make sure that you are getting the most out of a therapy session. Only positive feedback will not help anyone. But if they are critiquing particular skills and explaining areas where you could improve or add things, then that will be the most beneficial to you as the learning therapist.

    3. If you do not stay up to date with CBT knowledge and skills, you could be missing out on new research that could show new ways of developing your skills. Science and research are constantly improving and it is so important to stay up to date with things that no longer work or could work better for the sake of your client’s well-being. For example, if a therapist believed that the Rorschach Ink Blot test was still relevant and still used it actively in therapy, a client would not be benefiting as much as they could be or they could think that the therapist does not know what they are doing. It is so important to stay up to date because of how fast science and the world is changing.

    Reply

    • Valerie Graveline
      Nov 30, 2021 @ 16:25:13

      Hi Jenn,

      I appreciated the point you made about how we can work to dispel such myths about CBT through our practice as clinicians, by showing clients that we are not devoid of emotion or are rigid throughout developing the therapeutic relationship with them. I think this would be very valuable because the more common it is for clinicians to dispel these myths in this way, clients and other professionals may see the benefit and effectiveness of CBT approaches. Also, I thought you highlighted the importance of practicing CBT skills as a clinician very well. It is important as clinicians that we understand how difficult it is to work through deeply held thoughts and beliefs as this will especially strengthen the empathy we have for our clients in therapy.

      Valerie

      Reply

    • Frayah Wilkey
      Dec 01, 2021 @ 19:22:59

      Jenn,
      Thanks for all your thoughts on the subject! I think you bring up a great point about the impacts of TV/ media/ social media has on how people view therapy and CBT specifically. There tends to be a very specific portrayal of therapy sessions and any deviation from that is usually misunderstood. I think it’s important to spread more accurate information so that these stigmas can be reduced. As you pointed out, this will make CBT less scary and more accessible to many individuals. Great post!

      Frayah

      Reply

    • Kaitlyn Tonkin
      Dec 02, 2021 @ 13:18:45

      Hi Jenn,

      You made some great points about why these CBT myths exist and the best ways to dispel those myths. In my post, I also talked about the influence that media has on perpetuating the myths surrounding CBT. In movies and such, therapists are portrayed as these unemotional beings who don’t actually care about what you have to say and just want to get you in and out of their office for their paycheck. People are quite receptive to things they see on screen, so these types of portrays are really damaging to the mental health field and the reputation of therapists. Also, you made a good point about showing clients that this is in fact not how therapists act. As mentioned in the book, showing is often more effective than telling, so actively dispelling these myths through our therapy practices will likely be the most useful when it comes to breaking down the myths surrounding CBT practices.

      Great blog post!

      -Kaitlyn

      Reply

  3. Giana Faia
    Dec 01, 2021 @ 17:07:40

    [CBT Myths] –
    (1) One common CBT myth is that CBT only focuses on thoughts and excludes emotions. Hearing this, it shows just how little people know about CBT that believe this myth. People who are familiar with CBT would know that yes, the focus of CBT involves modifying maladaptive thoughts. However, emotions can be helpful in identifying these thoughts. Specifically, when identifying automatic thoughts and core beliefs, strong emotions are usually indicators that help us narrow down these automatic thoughts and core beliefs. Without examining emotions, CBT would be ineffective in trying to modify maladaptive thoughts.

    (2) I think some of these myths continue to exist because sometimes it’s easier for people to believe what they hear/ are told rather than actually doing their own research on it. Those who believe these myths likely don’t care enough to seek out the correct information either from an actual CBT qualified professional or as simple as a google search. Additionally, people may have preconceived notions about CBT that align with these myths, so they find it easier to believe them rather than actually knowing what it is.

    (3) To help dispel some of these myths, we can educate others on what CBT actually entails. When interacting with others, it is important to correct any misinformation they might have regarding CBT, this way it reduces the possibilities of them spreading the misinformation along to others. Along with this, it would be helpful to have people observe sessions so they can see what effective CBT consists of.

    [CBT Competence] –
    (1) Having a strong aversion to practicing CBT techniques on yourself can be problematic as this can be picked up on by clients. As a result, you may be perceived as being disingenuous which could likely negatively impact their motivation and hope for change. Practicing CBT techniques on yourself can translate to being more empathetic toward clients and demonstrate your level of competency.

    (2) Some possible indicators to determine you are receiving quality supervision include having a supervisor who is experienced in CBT and specializes in it. Having a supervisor who is there and supervising sessions live is beneficial for providing context when being supervised. A supervisor who ensures your adherence to the CBT theory and skills is a quality supervisor. Getting constructive feedback from your supervisor would allow for us to know what we are doing effectively while also knowing what we could improve on moving forward.

    (3) If you don’t stay up to date on your CBT knowledge and skills, it puts you at risk of falling behind on the up-to-date techniques. The premises of CBT will evolve overtime and in order to evolve with them we must continue learning and training. If not, then you might be missing out on shifts or modifications in these techniques, which can negatively impact the effectiveness of therapy for clients.

    Reply

    • Frayah Wilkey
      Dec 01, 2021 @ 19:19:44

      Giana,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I liked reading your points about CBT myths and what we can do as future professionals to dispel them. It’s important for us to take an active role in correcting misinformation as you pointed out. Many people will spread myths because they haven’t been corrected so I appreciate that you bring this point out. Great work!

      Frayah

      Reply

    • Jennifer Vear
      Dec 02, 2021 @ 11:44:06

      Hi Giana!

      I like what you said about how people believe myths because it is easier to listen to other people instead of doing your own research. This is so true in many areas, not just mental health! You also mention that they find evidence to match their opinion, like confirmation bias. You could find “support” for essentially any opinion out there. However, many do not know how to properly research information that is actually studied or peer-reviewed. Thankfully, we can hopefully do our part and try to change that narrative for our clients and for other people in our lives.
      Great post!

      – Jenn

      Reply

    • Morgan Rafferty
      Dec 02, 2021 @ 12:43:05

      Hi Giana,
      It’s so true that individuals who already have preconceived notions about something are way less likely to change their mind. Having biased thinking is just part of human nature. Your point here makes me think about the need for us to be patient and forgiving if/when we are unable to change those inaccurate notions others have about CBT. We don’t want to come across as nasty therapists and give the school of CBT a bad name.

      Reply

  4. Frayah Wilkey
    Dec 01, 2021 @ 19:16:50

    [CBT Myths] –
    1. One common CBT myth I’ve heard is that the approach is very cold and rigid. Many people seem to think that it lacks ‘humanistic’ or positive traits that some other types of therapies have. I can see where people get this notion from because CBT relies so heavily on research and scientific practices. This foundation may come across as being unemotional to people who haven’t seen the practice actually implemented. However, when people actually experience CBT or do more research about its practical applications, I think they understand that it’s not a cold, rigid practice- the client is at the center of the treatment and it is extremely collaborative while incorporating research and most effective practices.

    2. I think that most CBT myths continue to exist because the treatment approach is considerably newer than other types of therapy. Anything that’s not mainstream will have some sort of push back from the general public. I think that people also tend to take therapy practices at face value and tend not to research them. This is a disservice because it continues to perpetuate myths and inaccuracies but it’s how many people operate.

    3. The most important thing a professional can do is spread accurate information. Whether that be through conversations with family and friends or posting on social media, spreading information can be far reaching and effective in combating myths. Then those people will have the correct information and they will be able to share it with the people in their own lives. I think that is the best way for a professional to dispel any myths they hear about their field.

    [CBT Competence] –
    1. If a CBT therapist has strong aversions to practicing CBT techniques on themselves, I would question their abilities to successfully implement treatment with their clients. It would seem that they don’t fully trust in the process and this could lead to subtle biases or missteps when working with individuals. It would seem clear that they don’t value the practices that they are attempting to treat others with, and it would appear to be disingenuous in my opinion. It’s a matter of ‘practice what you preach’ so I think it would be a point of contention for any mental health professional if they have an aversion to their own treatment techniques.

    2. Quality CBT supervision is the foundation for a successful career in treating mental health illnesses. It is important for a supervisor to check in frequently and make adjustments as necessary to ensure that the mentee is maximizing their knowledge and experiences. The mentee should also feel comfortable asking questions and receiving feedback about their work. A collaborative environment is key in quality supervision. The supervisor should make sure to give points on areas to work on with resources for learning, while highlighting the strengths of the individual so they know what they’re doing well.

    3. The most impactful outcome to falling being in CBT knowledge and skills is possible ineffective treatment. In this field, it is important to stay up to date and consider all new practices. This will allow the therapist to remain vigilant in their treatment standards, while ensuring that they are applying the best treatment possible. This will lead to better outcomes for the client overall.

    Reply

    • Valerie Graveline
      Dec 01, 2021 @ 22:00:48

      Hi Frayah,

      When discussing CBT competence and supervision, I thought it was important that you highlighted how quality supervision will involve a collaborative environment between supervisor and mentee. I agree with your point that it’s critical for the mentee to feel comfortable in this environment as it may prove difficult to receive feedback if they are not. With this said, it may be harder for them to improve their therapeutic skills and approaches in this environment. Initially when I answered this question, I only focused on the type of feedback that would be beneficial to receive from the supervisor. After reading your response, though, I will continue to remember the importance of the environment being collaborative and comfortable.

      Valerie

      Reply

    • Kaitlyn Tonkin
      Dec 02, 2021 @ 13:12:59

      Hi Frayah,

      I liked how you said these myths around CBT likely exist because it is a newer form of therapy. People tend to rely on old ways and get stuck in their thoughts, especially if they have believed something for a long time. Being introduced to something new, such as a new form of therapy, can be challenging for people to wrap their brains around and they may be resistant to learning about something new. I had not thought about this explanation when writing my post, so thank you for the thought-provoking post!

      -Kaitlyn

      Reply

    • Lisa Andrianopoulos
      Dec 02, 2021 @ 14:55:47

      Frayah,
      Great points about why is is so important to stay up to date on CBT practices. Yes, you always want to make sure you are providing the best treatment possible for your clients. We’ve already learned so much about how CBT has evolved since Aaron Beck first postulated this theory. It is bound to continue to grow and shift. A skilled therapist will grow and change with it.
      Lisa

      Reply

    • Giana Faia
      Dec 02, 2021 @ 19:28:42

      Hi Frayah,

      I agree that if people were to experience CBT, with a good therapist, the idea that CBT is cold and rigid would quickly be dismissed. They would understand that a therapeutic relationship is built through trust and empathy, which is very clearly the opposite of cold and rigid. Despite being an evidence-based practice, CBT includes collaborative work between the therapist and the client without being cold and rigid. Thanks for your thoughts!

      Giana

      Reply

  5. Francesc Bellizzi
    Dec 02, 2021 @ 09:35:53

    [CBT Myths] –

    (1) Two common myths about CBT that I have heard from other people and through research are that “CBT ignores emotions” and “CBT is a rigid, one-size-fits-all approach where a clinician applies a specific technique to a specific problem”. These two things resonate with me a lot because over our time – in this course alone – we have focused largely on multiple interventions, emotions, and tailoring techniques to appropriately address client problems. When I hear that “CBT ignores emotions”, my first thought is “well, it doesn’t really seem like you know what CBT is”. Instead, I think “CBT really does focus on emotions!” CBT focuses on teaching skills to help improve emotional states by focusing on the connection between thoughts and emotions, and the connection between behavior and emotions. When I hear “CBT is a rigid, one-size-fits-all approach where a clinician applies a specific technique to a specific problem” my immediate reaction is that CBT is tailored to the client just like any other form of client-centered therapy, while also having structure. CBT requires that clinicians have a detailed and deep understanding of every client and their individual needs. Because, of course, every person is different.

    (2) I think that some of these myths continue to exist because (not to be rude but to be blunt) people do not take the time to truly understand that which they don’t. Similarly, these myths may not have been challenged, therefore not correcting prejudged beliefs.

    (3) To try to dispel some of these myths the most impactful way we can help is to provide those with information to help them understand the process of CBT and all it has to offer. It is important to dry to challenge these myths whenever we can because the more they are believed the less likely people are to change their minds. We can use psychoeducation the same way we would in therapy.

    [CBT Competence] –

    (1) If CBT therapists have a strong aversion to practicing techniques on themselves, this could be a problem/area of concern. First, by practicing the techniques on yourself you gain a greater understanding of the exercise that provides you with greater empathy when working with clients. Most importantly, this aversion could be a problem because our clients tend to pick up on our own personal beliefs. If you don’t see the benefit of using/trying CBT techniques, then this could be noticed by the client – resulting in a reduction of motivation and hope for change. Not only would it negatively impact your client’s outlook on therapy, but it can also result in poor treatment outcomes.

    (2) Receiving supervision is a fundamental aspect of post-graduate training, as it helps us continue to learn and master CBT skills; therefore, it is important to receive quality supervision. Some indicators that you may not receive quality supervision is if the individual acts as though they “don’t see theoretical orientation” – that it does not matter. This is something to stay away from when looking for a supervisor, because they may not be able to provide you with the feedback you need to hone in on your CBT skills. Instead, you should look for indicators of quality supervision such as observing of sessions and finding someone who utilizes CBT and has a lot of experience with it. By observing your sessions, your supervisor will be able to give you more accurate and tailored feedback. Most importantly, having a supervisor who has a lot of experience with and utilizes CBT in their own practice is a foundation to receiving quality supervision as they can provide you with accurate, appropriate, and hyperfocused feedback on your CBT skills. The type of feedback I believe would be most beneficial to receive would be constructive criticism; however, I think trying to deliver criticisms in a “compliment sandwich” type of way would be productive. Constructive criticism is tremendously important when it comes to any form of professional development, as it helps us fine-tune our weaknesses. Yet, delivering a “compliment sandwich” would also be beneficial as it shows a strength and a weakness which can give the motivation to make changes, while also perfecting and utilizing our strengths.

    (3) If you do not stay up to date with CBT knowledge and skills, there is the possibility that you will fall behind and lack the skills to provide effective treatment. There are always people who are researching better ways to deliver treatment that are more effective than the last. It is important to stay up to date so you can continue to practice evidence-based treatments, and utilize all CBT skills.

    Reply

    • Francesca Bellizzi
      Dec 02, 2021 @ 09:37:30

      Well, I was wondering when I was going to misspell my own name… it’s Francesca guys!

      Reply

      • Morgan Rafferty
        Dec 02, 2021 @ 12:40:40

        Hi Francesc! 🙂
        I really like your descriptions of myths about CBT. I think it is great this week’s discussion board has this as one of the topics. It feels like great preparation for us in training to prepare a defense of and support for CBT. In terms of CBT ignoring emotions, by addressing a client’s cognitions and behaviors it is impossible to exclude focusing on their emotions as well as we learned these things are all tied together.
        I love your reference to the “compliment sandwich”. I am a big fan of highlighting positives rather than solely focusing on areas that need strength. I think we can incorporate the “compliment sandwich” in sessions with clients as well and it would be highly effective. We all enjoy hearing about how we have done well more than where we have fallen short. “Compliment sandwich” makes criticism easier to swallow.
        Great post FrancescA!

        Reply

    • Lisa Andrianopoulos
      Dec 02, 2021 @ 15:02:06

      Hi Francesca,

      I agree with what you said about the myth regarding CBT and emotions. Given how much we’ve learned so far, it seems silly to say that it ignores emotions. Aren’t emotions a main part of the cognitive triangle?? Thoughts, emotions and behaviors all influence each other in a bidirectional manner. This is CBT at its core. For anyone to say emotions is not considered in CBT speaks volumes about how much time they’ve even taken in trying to learn about it. The substantial research/evidence that supports CBT behooves all practitioners to at least try to learn as much as they can about it.

      Reply

    • Sergio Rodriguez
      Dec 03, 2021 @ 07:06:54

      Francesc! 😎
      I can not agree more with you It is imperative to be constantly updated on the most recent research and publications in CBT. Additionally, I consider it essential to have the ability to implement therapies that have their basis in cognitive-behaviorism and are evidence-based practice treatments, such as Dialectic Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Since these therapies have shown effectiveness for specific diagnoses or problems, this means that therapy is always evidence-based and that clients feel confident that all interventions have been scientifically proven.

      Great Post!
      Sergio R.

      Reply

    • Lindsay O'Meara
      Dec 04, 2021 @ 15:42:36

      Hi Francesca,

      I agree that we have heard so many positives about CBT, that it is hard to even understand the myths that we hear. I too hear our professors stressing how important the therapeutic relationship is. I think as long as we are competent, committed to our clients, and continue to make solid relationships in therapy, the narrative will change. It will just take time, and furthering the education of our non-CBT peers.

      Thanks,
      Lindsay

      Reply

  6. Morgan Rafferty
    Dec 02, 2021 @ 12:30:08

    CBT myths
    1)There are several myths about CBT that circulate within the field. One common myth is that CBT focuses on changing negative thoughts to positive ones. My original speculations about CBT were slightly similar to this line of thinking. I had assumed CBT involved leading a client to recognize how some of their cognitions are irrational. I understood CBT to involve opening a client’s eyes to other perspectives. For instance, if a client continually complains on and on about her husband, I thought CBT involved an attempt at guiding that client to recognize her husband’s side of the argument; an attempt to help a client see a situation in a different light. While there is some truth to this, CBT does not focus on changing negative thoughts to happy ones. It involves assessing and evaluating the validity of one’s thoughts. If a client’s cognitions are valid negative thoughts, altering those thoughts would not be a wise course of action. There are times when clients need to work on acceptance and coping when situations warrant doing so.
    Another myth about CBT is that is lacks building that therapeutic relationship. The thought is that sessions are stiff and stale and lack warmth and compassion. This is simply not true. Establishing good rapport between therapist and client is essential to solid CBT.

    2)I think some of the myths about CBT continue to exist because individuals are not educated on the ins and outs of CBT. Some therapists who are trained in a different school of psychotherapy often think their mode of intervention is best. In these cases they highlight the strengths of their school of thought while possibly having an inaccurate understanding of CBT.

    3)As therapists trained in CBT we can help dispel some of these myths by informing others as to how CBT works. To inform others about the foundation of CBT and the overall methodologies that are employed. We can politely point out when we hear someone share their misconceptions about CBT. This does not need to happen in a confrontational manner.

    CBT competence
    1)If CBT therapists are not willing to practice CBT techniques on themselves, they will not truly understand how the experience feels for their clients. In order to learn how to best work with clients, it is beneficial to sit in their shoes and know what style and strategies are effective or not.

    2)Quality CBT supervision would involve the supervisor listening really well as to what is going on with the client. He/she would provide positive and negative feedback on the therapists choice of treatment plans. The supervisor would provide tips on how to do certain things better or make the session run more smoothly.

    Positive, encouraging, and honest feedback would be most beneficial for me as a developing CBT therapist.

    3)If you do not stay up to date with CBT knowledge and skills, you will not be providing your clients with the best possible evidence-based methodologies. It is not good to remain stagnant in any professional position. Learning about new research and approaches help prevent the role of therapist from possibly becoming stale. Learning is a lifelong process.

    Reply

    • Katie O'Brien
      Dec 02, 2021 @ 13:35:58

      Morgan,

      I appreciate your thoughts regarding your prior expectations of what CBT was before starting the program. I agree, without truly studying it, it does seem to be based on changing one’s perspective, potentially even to a more positive one, despite the presenting situation. Like we’ve learned and like you said – CBT is not all about positive thinking, and in some cases, changing the thoughts is not all that helpful. A good CBT therapist would recognize when that is the case and work on coping strategies. I think that part is missed when non-CBT people discuss CBT. It’s easier to see why someone might not think CBT is valid if that were the case: some situations really do stink no matter what and we can’t positively think our way out of them. But that’s not what we’re trying to do! Good point!

      Katie

      Reply

  7. Kaitlyn Tonkin
    Dec 02, 2021 @ 13:06:48

    [CBT Myths]

    1. One common myth about CBT that I have heard from others is that CBT is too rigid and technique-focused. A friend once told me that all CBT therapists do is throw techniques at their clients and don’t actually listen to what they have to say. Hearing these types of comments is frustrating considering they aren’t true and it’s difficult to explain that to someone who does not have the knowledge about CBT. Another way it is frustrating is because the perpetuation of these myths fuels stigma against therapy and likely turns others away from getting the help they need.

    2. I think these myths continue to exist because there are so many sources that promote these myths and it’s easier to believe something quickly read on the internet or passed along through word of mouth than taking the time to educate oneself about the truth. I also think there are other forms of media, such as movies and shows that make these myths popular and again perpetuate the belief of the myths.

    3. As therapists, I feel like the best way to dispel these myths is through psychoeducation. People are not going to change their beliefs without getting the proper information. Upon hearing these myths, it is important to provide people with the correct information to stop people from promoting the wrong information.

    [CBT Competence]

    1. One way to be a competent CBT therapist is to practice CBT skills on yourself. When a therapist has a strong aversion to practicing skills on themselves it can be noticed by your clients. This might make clients feel like their therapist is being disingenuous and it can lower their levels of hope and motivation to change. Furthermore, having a therapist who thinks CBT is stupid or doesn’t work can have negative treatment outcomes. Practicing these skills on yourself builds competency because it provides therapists with greater self-awareness and insight which can translate to greater skill competency and empathy when working with clients. It is clear that having an aversion to practicing skills on yourself will have negative impacts on the therapy you provide to clients.

    2. Quality CBT supervision is done by someone who is a skilled, licensed therapist, who specializes in CBT. Another indicator of quality CBT supervision is being made to adhere to CBT theory and skills. Quality CBT supervision is done in person, through a one-way mirror or video feed because contextual clues can be observed that might be missed in verbal or written reports. I believe that concrete feedback with examples and suggestions for change would be the most beneficial for professional development. Perhaps even being given the opportunity to observe someone else practicing CBT would be helpful to see the ideal way to practice skills and theory in a therapy session. It is difficult to get feedback that is vague and states that you need to improve but there is no direction or guidance in how to do so. Supervisors should make sure they give concrete and specific feedback to their clinicians.

    3. Staying up to date on CBT skills and knowledge is very important for providing the best therapy to clients. Failure to do so can result in many negative outcomes, with the most detrimental outcome being ineffective treatment. Likely, new research will be published that can help therapists improve their skills and competency, so failing to keep up to date with that will hinder the effectiveness of one’s treatment skills, which will likely hinder clients’ treatment. Providing the best care and treatment to clients should be the therapist’s utmost concern, and staying up to date on skills and knowledge is one of the best ways to do so.

    Reply

    • Giana Faia
      Dec 02, 2021 @ 19:05:33

      Hi Kaitlyn,

      I agree with your point that something passed along by word of mouth can be much easier to believe compared to taking the time to gather the right facts and information. If more people took this time to do the research, I think a lot of what they claim to “know” would quickly be proven wrong. I also like how you pointed out how these CBT myths can be portrayed by the media, such as in movies and shows. What people tend to forget is that a lot of what is shown in movies and tv is not written by actual CBT therapists who know what they’re talking about, but rather people who have little to no knowledge about CBT at all. Thanks for sharing!

      Giana

      Reply

  8. Katie O'Brien
    Dec 02, 2021 @ 13:30:41

    [CBT Myths]
    1. I have often heard a number of CBT myths wrapped together in some form or fashion – that CBT therapists are cold and rigid, and CBT is just “gaslighting” the clients and how they feel. I think this is a combination of the too mechanical, little value to the client-therapist relationship, and that CBT is adversarial myths. I think this comes down to a combination of people not truly knowing much about CBT and potentially having poor experiences with CBT therapists who might not practice CBT all that effectively. As we’ve learned, the relationship is incredibly important and Rogerian principles are vital to implementing CBT skills effectively. I think it’s possible to validate someone and their emotions in regards to an experience while modifying their thoughts surrounding it, and if done correctly, the client should not feel gaslighted.
    2. I think the problem is that while there are many very good CBT therapists out there, there are likely some very bad CBT therapists out there too, just as there would be in any modality. However, when a client experiences bad CBT because for example, their therapist is too focused on techniques and not the relationship, or does not display adequate warmth and empathy, it perpetuates the idea that all CBT therapists must be like that. Also, as CBT is more science based, I think people are quick to assume that it’s practitioners must be cold and too focused on the science/techniques and not the client sitting across from them. I’ve even seen this stereotype of CBT therapists presented in movies and other media, and that certainly does not help.
    3. The best thing to do in my opinion is to continue practicing good CBT, while educating others on it. If we stay aware and on top of our training, the results will hopefully speak for themselves. Taking part in workshops and highlighting the good that CBT can do for people will hopefully diminish these negative associations over time. Trusting in the skills we’ve learned and implementing them effectively will lead our clients to believe in them more and as that happens, hopefully it will reach more people.

    [CBT Competence]
    1. I think this creates a number of problems. First, the clinician will not get adequate practice performing the techniques, but more so, the clinician misses out on a huge opportunity to build empathy for their clients and the unpleasantness some of these techniques can create. It also does not help build trust with your clients and give them hope that these techniques can work if they can tell that their therapist does not truly believe in them. If they did believe in them, they would use them themselves. It does not make much sense to preach to clients about the usefulness of certain techniques if the clinician cannot back that up with evidence and personal experience using them, and a true belief in their effectiveness.
    2. It is important that a supervisor uses CBT in their own practice and also ensures that their supervisee is using the techniques correctly. Similarly to how we monitor client progress, the supervisor should be observing their clinicians CBT skills and techniques in sessions, making sure they are giving feedback that is both reinforcing of their skills while also helping them to get even better and more confident in using their techniques. A good supervisor would also allow their clinicians to observe their sessions to see the way a more experienced therapist might implement certain strategies across various situations.
    3. As CBT is evidence based, if one does not stay up to date with their knowledge and skills, they will be missing vital information necessary for effectively treating their patients. As new evidence comes to light in regards to these practices, CBT will evolve and the clinicians must evolve with it so we are always using the most up-to-date and most effective methods. It does not make sense to continue using methods that are no longer supported for example, or to continue using certain strategies if newer ones have come about that are more effective in treating particular problems. Not only will sticking with the old way of things despite newer, better skills coming about be less effective in treating clients, it would also be unethical to forgo better strategies in order to use what is more comfortable and for the clinician.

    Reply

    • Francesca Bellizzi
      Dec 04, 2021 @ 13:03:51

      Hi Katie,

      Awesome post per usual! I loved the myth about CBT just being a gaslighting session, and listening to the way you described it in class, it sure seemed like this TikToker was not well versed in proper CBT. Maybe she was confusing it with DBT? I certainly agree with your point about how people might get this misconception of CBT, but just because we focus on the science doesn’t mean we can’t feel feelings!

      Great job, and thanks for sharing!!

      Francesca

      Reply

    • Lindsay O'Meara
      Dec 04, 2021 @ 15:28:17

      Hi Katie,

      I haven’t heard the myth that CBT therapists are rigid and cold, but I totally believe that it exists. I think that people typically generalize a lot. I’m sure that they have met someone who happened to be a CBT therapist who was cold, and then assumed that we all must be. I think that you’re right, and not recognizing the client-therapist relationship plays a role.

      Thanks,
      Lindsay

      Reply

  9. Lisa Andrianopoulos
    Dec 02, 2021 @ 14:49:47

    The CBT myth I’ve heard reference to a lot recently is that there is not enough (if any) emphasis on the therapist-client relationship. In truth, it is the opposite. A major tenet of CBT is that the therapist and client work together to figure out the problem(s) and address it. This concept of “collaborative empiricism” is vital to the process, and the CBT techniques employed are likely to fail if there is not a strong foundation of trust and alliance. This is supported by research that shows that collaborative empiricism is most effective when the therapeutic relationship is strong
    I think myths about CBT continue to exist largely among those who do not have proper training in it or an in depth understanding. If individuals only learn about CBT through bits and pieces of information that crosses their paths, they are bound to make false assumptions and fill in the gaps with their own philosophies. Also, for those who are well entrenched in their own theoretical orientations, it is easy to look for ways to find criticism as a way of validating their own beliefs or way of doing things. I, as a therapist, can dispel these myths by educating other therapists. This can be done by addressing the myths as they come up as well as participating in and offering trainings. I might also invite others who hold such myths to see CBT in action by offering case examples or allowing observations of it.
    If a CBT therapist practices the techniques on themselves, they gain a powerful understanding of what it might be like for the client. Additionally, it allows for the therapist to increase their self-awareness and insights in a way that would be very difficult to do otherwise. This insight and self-understanding can lead to overall improved skills and use of techniques with the client. If one is averse to doing this, then it lends itself to the belief that the therapist is offering a technique they don’t fully buy into. The client is likely to pick up on this and see the therapist as insincere. In doing so, the client is likely to lose trust in the therapist and not fully value the exercises or the therapeutic process, which in turn leads to poor treatment outcomes.
    For a quality supervision experience you will first want to make sure that your supervisor is a licensed therapist who specializes in and is experienced in doing CBT. Throughout supervision, the supervisor will ensure that you are adhering to CBT tenets and doing it with fidelity. The best-case scenario is for your supervisor to observe you doing sessions, or at the very list listening/watching live recorded or videotaped sessions, since research supports that this is more effective than verbal reports. The Cognitive Behavior Therapy Supervision Checklist is a great option for ensuring that you are receiving and benefitting from quality supervision.
    It is important to stay up to date with current CBT knowledge and skills because you will want to stay current with changes in the field as it evolves. If you do not do this, there is a danger in becoming stagnant. The more stagnant you become, the less knowledgeable you may seem to clients and eventually you may appear as if you’re just going through the motions. This could cause the client to lose trust or not see you as an expert. Additionally, it would be difficult to dispel myths or train others if you are not up to date on the latest in the field. There is always room to grow and learn, and a skilled therapist knows this. Being adept at CBT (or any technique/profession) is a lifelong journey.

    Reply

    • Sergio Rodriguez
      Dec 03, 2021 @ 07:23:12

      Hi Lisa,

      In reading your post, I identified one element that caught my attention. The importance of the supervisor seeing the therapist in vivo or a recorded session. I absolutely agree that having feedback on a live session where the supervisor can give better advice and help will allow the therapist to improve his/her professional practice. Likewise, it is essential to consider that many factors come into play when one is being evaluated or observed. For example, there can be increased anxiety, nerves, and this can interfere with the therapist’s performance. For this reason, I consider it important that there is a good relationship between the supervisor and the therapist. Both parties should be willing to see the relationship as an opportunity for constant growth and benefit the patient.

      GOOD POST!

      Reply

    • Francesca Bellizzi
      Dec 04, 2021 @ 13:08:18

      Hi Lisa,

      First off, great post!! Second, I really loved what you had to say about staying up to date with current CBT knowledge / skills. As therapists, it is important to continue to evolve with our field rather than getting left in the dust. By evolving, we are only building on our skills and increasing the effectiveness of the treatment we provide. I particularly really like your statement “the more stagnant you become, the less knowledgable you appear to your clients and eventually appear as going through the motions”. I could not agree more!

      Awesome job and thanks so much for sharing!!

      Francesca

      Reply

  10. Lindsay O'Meara
    Dec 04, 2021 @ 15:05:59

    [CBT Myths]

    1. The most common CBT myth that I have heard from other people is that CBT therapist-client relationships are of little value. When I hear this, I think of my current professors and how important it is to them that they have a solid relationship with their clients first. A solid relationship builds the foundation for good therapy. Personally, I relationship building is important to me in general, so I know that I will bring that into my practice.
    2. I think that some of these myths continue to exist because like in any compartmentalized group, there is always going to be a struggle for power. Each group thinks that their form of therapy is the best, therefore, there will always be myths that discredit other types of therapy. I also think that there has been a focus on the psychoanalytic approach for so long, that people are not open to evidence-based approaches. Change can be jarring, as we all know. I think that communities as large as the psychological community can be resistant to change, whether or not that is helpful.
    3. I think that continuing to practice evidence-based therapy is a good starting position when it comes to dispelling some of these myths. Being knowledgeable in your practice and educate other therapists. Continuing training can help to further your knowledge base and in turn help you to educate others.

    [CBT Competence]

    1. It can be a strong aversion if CBT therapists have a strong aversion to practicing CBT techniques on themselves because they themselves are not doing the work. We all have distressing moments, and since we believe that CBT is effective, we should welcome the idea of using the techniques on ourselves. Greater self-awareness can only help ourselves and our clients.
    2. There are many indicators that can determine whether or not you are receiving quality CBT supervision. One of which is that your supervisor is trained in CBT, not just familiar with it. Live supervision is better than a verbal report, your supervisor should be watching you so that they can better assess you. Group CBT can also be beneficial to developing your technical skills and help you to conceptualize treatment plans. I think that advice from a supervisor about techniques when conducting CBT therapy would be really helpful to me. Also, having someone to monitor and give feedback on tone, body language, etc, can be helpful as well.
    3. Not staying up to date with CBT knowledge and skills can negatively impact clients. Since psychology is a science, new information is constantly emerging. It is importance to stay up to date with new techniques and evidence-based practices so that you can continue to help clients. Growing with the field is a part of doing the work.

    Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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