Topic 10: CBT Myths & CBT Competence {by 4/20}

[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 4/20.  Have your two replies posted no later than 4/22.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

62 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mikayladebois
    Apr 13, 2023 @ 12:38:31

    Some myths I have heard about CBT are that it relies too much on homework and it is critical of the clients. When hearing the first one I was curious as to how much is “too” much homework to rely on. I feel that if the client does not apply the work they do in a session to their outside lives, there is really no purpose to therapy because no change would come about. I also know that the professional I was talking to worked at a residential setting and I was wondering if the effectiveness of traditional CBT was affected by the overall motivation and willingness of the clients.
    The second myth came from reading about a different treatment model that was made because the practitioner felt that telling clients that their thoughts or behaviors were maladaptive was the wrong message to send. Mode Deactivation Therapy (MDT) was a kind of response to CBT that was supposed to be more supportive of the clients and their unique backgrounds. At the time of learning about MDT, I had very little knowledge of CBT but after this semester I am much more skeptical of the claim that CBT offends clients. There may be a right and wrong way to present challenges and some clients may be more inclined to feel offended, but if done the right way CBT should not be seen as offensive or critical.
    I think these myths continue within the field because members of different disciplines feel like they are on opposing teams. People look for reasons to distrust one method or another to make themselves feel like they chose the correct path when really the separate approaches will be effective in different situations.
    As therapists with in-depth training in CBT, we should be able to address many of the concerns about CBT when they are raised to us. We don’t need to be critical of other people because they did not choose Assumption University, but we can educate them on what CBT is and provide them with enough evidence to make their own decisions.
    Therapists who do not have enough belief in the techniques they are applying to their clients to use on themselves are operating at a highly hypocritical level. They either do not think the work they are doing is actually going to help their clients or that they are too good to need help and are above their clients. Therapists should be working in the best interest of their clients and that includes using the techniques they think will be the most effective.
    To know that we are getting good CBT supervision, we would ideally have a supervisor who also practices CBT regularly or has been fully trained in it. If they don’t have either of those things, the advice or direction they give will not be with CBT in mind and that won’t make us better CBT therapists. The best type of feedback will likely be about the actual skills we are using, not just our demeanor or Rogerian skills. The “soft” skills are what we will change depending on the client but the techniques and skills we use are applicable across the board and that is the most important part of using CBT.
    If we do not keep up to date with CBT knowledge we may be acting unethically and unprofessionally. We have a duty to our clients to provide them with the best service we can and using outdated information and techniques does not do right by them.

    Reply

    • Tiana Faulkner
      Apr 13, 2023 @ 19:11:05

      Hi Mikayla. I like the myths that you had included within your answer. I did not even think about how sometimes professionals using different therapeutic techniques see each other as opponents and this contribute to the myths that are continuously shared about CBT.
      I also agree with the point you made about therapists being highly hypocritical when they do not practice their techniques on themselves and only give them to clients without truly understanding their importance or how a specific client would react to using it. I understand what you say when you talk about “soft skills” and wanting to hear about skills, however I think just gaining as much info as possible about every aspect of what you are doing is extremely helpful. And you are absolutely right about how not keeping up to date with CBT knowledge is unethical. It has the potential of being incredibly dangerous.

      (Not me accidentally replying to my own post)

      Reply

    • Magdalen Paul
      Apr 14, 2023 @ 18:04:46

      Hi Mikayla! I like your point that many of these CBT myths likely persist because many members within the mental health field may feel like they are on “opposing teams.” This is unfortunate, as we are all meant to be on the same team–the team that strives to improve the lives of others. This field should not be about “us” so much so as it should be about the good of the client. In this way, it would be ideal for all members of this field to respect each other’s varying views and theoretical perspectives, while striving to be as competent for their clients as possible. With competence comes the flexibility and humility to consider other frameworks and utilize techniques that are most effective and evidence-based–even if that means looking beyond the framework you would like to defend.

      Reply

    • Jonas C Horan
      Apr 17, 2023 @ 17:12:21

      Hi Mikayla!

      I’ve never heard of MDT but it sounds like they are reacting to some pretty aggressive clinicians! It makes me think of Albert Ellis and his “New York style” CBT. I think that a few bad clinicians can really alter people’s opinions, especially if someone screwed up therapy for them or someone they care about.

      Reply

  2. Tiana Faulkner
    Apr 13, 2023 @ 19:04:36

    One common myth is that CBT is a one size fits all technique. This is the belief that CBT lacks individuality, requires too much structure, and has inflexible treatment. As we know this is in fact not true. CBT requires that clinicians have a detailed and deep understanding of every client and their individual needs. Every person has a different history, different circumstances, different qualities and traits, and different factors that maintain their symptoms. While there are some structured techniques within CBT, this is more for effectiveness within session. In order to dispel myths about CBT, it is all about education. People do not know what they do not know, the only way to help others understand CBT and its effectiveness is by teaching them and providing the research to back up your claims when needed.
    How can you effectively distribute CBT techniques and expect positive results if you do not fully understand how the technique works? If the therapist does not try the techniques first, they will not know what parts their clients may not enjoy, they may not fully understand the benefits, or how exactly the technique works, even how long it may realistically take to use. Most importantly, they may not fully understand how to distribute the technique in a way that will appeal to their clients.
    Quality CBT supervision includes having a supervisor that knows and uses CBT, having the support of your supervisor in tough situations, a relationship that has trust leaving you to feel comfortable when there is a tough situation at hand, respect is also an important factor, the knowledge your supervisor has and shares is also extremely important, however, if they do not invest the time to help and teach you, their knowledge is irrelevant. The most beneficial feedback would just be honesty and criticism when warranted but also focusing on actual skills. I cannot become better at what I am doing if I do not know what I am doing wrong. Having outdated knowledge is extremely unprofessional and could lead to negative outcomes in therapy, the client may not benefit from what you are trying to provide. There is even the potential of putting clients at risk if the content of what you are teaching, or techniques being provided during therapy are no longer used or trusted in the current CBT model.

    Reply

    • Tiana Faulkner
      Apr 13, 2023 @ 19:10:20

      Hi Mikayla. I like the myths that you had included within your answer. I did not even think about how sometimes professionals using different therapeutic techniques see each other as opponents and this contribute to the myths that are continuously shared about CBT.
      I also agree with the point you made about therapists being highly hypocritical when they do not practice their techniques on themselves and only give them to clients without truly understanding their importance or how a specific client would react to using it. I understand what you say when you talk about “soft skills” and wanting to hear about skills, however I think just gaining as much info as possible about every aspect of what you are doing is extremely helpful. And you are absolutely right about how not keeping up to date with CBT knowledge is unethical. It has the potential of being incredibly dangerous.

      Reply

    • Magdalen Paul
      Apr 14, 2023 @ 17:53:50

      Hi Tiana! I really like your point that, even if a supervisor has been trained in CBT, this does not guarantee that they will offer quality supervision. Having their support, respect, trust, and willingness to help/teach you is foundational before anything else. Learning CBT skills through a knowledgeable supervisor would be ideal, and therefore the condition that your supervisor actually has the desire to support you must be present, also. Thus, a motivated, supportive, respectful, and eager supervisor trained in CBT would likely yield quality supervision. I think this ties in with being a quality CBT therapist, too. If you are motivated, supportive, and respectful toward your clients all while having thorough knowledge in effective practices, this will likely provide greater value.

      Reply

    • mikayladebois
      Apr 14, 2023 @ 20:52:01

      Hi Tiana! I realized after reading your response I had also heard that CBT is a “one size fits all” situation. From the start, we know this is not correct because each person will be coming from a different background which will have a different impact on their specific thoughts. I feel like this myth stems from lazy or inadequate therapists who really do take the approach that one tactic can fix most things. I also agree with your desire for honesty and appropriate criticism from a supervisor. In the same way that we need feedback on our papers, we need to know what we are struggling with before we can fix it.

      Reply

  3. Magdalen Paul
    Apr 14, 2023 @ 08:03:32

    I have heard people claim that CBT is too “robotic”/mechanical, that it’s only for intelligent people, and that it minimizes the importance of the therapist-client relationship. These are all myths. When I hear these comments, I can only imagine that someone either had a bad experience with CBT (perhaps as a client), they simply aren’t well aware of the nature of CBT as it has evolved today, or they are defensive of their own theoretical framework. The rigidity myth may still exist because cognitive and behavioral therapies were the first theoretical therapeutic approaches to use manual-based treatment. To dispel this myth, it can be useful to convey that CBT manual-based treatments have actually enhanced flexibility and innovation across a variety of diverse disorders and populations. The “intelligent people” myth may still exist due to the logical nature of CBT and the importance of clients as active participants in their own therapy. To dispel this myth, it can be useful to convey that any theoretical orientation will likely be better understood by one who is more intellectually aware, not just CBT. Further, research has demonstrated the effectiveness of CBT across a variety of populations and disorders (including learning disabilities and psychosis, for example). Finally, the “devaluing of relationships” myth may still exist as some may believe that Rogerian conditions such as empathy, genuineness, and unconditional positive regard are sufficient for long-term client change. To dispel this myth, it can be useful to convey that such factors are necessary within CBT—in fact, without a strong therapeutic relationship, CBT skills may have little effectiveness—but that the techniques are important, as well.

    If CBT therapists have strong aversion to practicing CBT techniques on themselves, this can convey little belief in the techniques—perhaps resulting in less self-awareness, sense of competence, and empathy. Ultimately, clients can pick up on this, which may decrease their own sense of interest and motivation in trying the techniques. As with anything, when someone is passionate about a specific topic or concept, others are naturally drawn to this enthusiasm and thereby more likely to want to listen and learn from them (why are they so passionate about this? What is “so great” about it?). Some possible indicators that you’re receiving quality CBT supervision is that the individual has some level of experience with CBT—not just “familiarity.” One-on-one and group supervision that integrates CBT techniques and involves the assessment of and discussion around CBT skills will also indicate quality CBT supervision. Feedback from my supervisor surrounding my technical skills, conceptualization, and treatment plan skills will be highly valuable. Especially from a CBT standpoint, having a supervisor with significant CBT experience will likely enhance feedback, as it may be spun through a CBT perspective that ultimately aligns with my framework. If I don’t stay up to date with CBT knowledge, I may lose effectiveness as a therapist. I have a moral and ethical obligation to stay current with evidence-based practices, because this will promote my competence as a CBT therapist. Research is ever-evolving, and knowing that there may be a more effective technique for a given disorder yet choosing to use those which are outdated because it’s “easier” for me, can put a client at a disadvantage/potential harm and make me both look and feel less competent.

    Reply

    • mikayladebois
      Apr 14, 2023 @ 21:00:38

      Hi Maggie! I love your idea about the enthusiasm of the counselor leading to greater interest in the client. We have all experienced a professor who has very little interest in the topic they are teaching and it makes for a sleepy class. It is so much easier to buy into the teacher that comes dressed as a water droplet, why is it any different with therapists? Relying too much on enthusiasm or charisma can lead to burnout or incompetence, but that is why we need a strong theoretical and practical framework to fall back on.

      Reply

    • Tiana Faulkner
      Apr 16, 2023 @ 11:19:01

      Hi Maggie! The myths you listed are very interesting. I was not even aware that people even believe that CBT is for intelligent people. I agree with your comment on why these myths may still exist. A bad experience can carry a lot of weight for anyone with any activity. Also, how CBT has advanced so much up until this point. Things are always changing and updating, there is so much more flexibility within techniques and even research to confirm its effectiveness.
      I also agree with the points you made for the second part of the post. Clients may very well be able to pick up on therapists sense of competence or overall lack of enthusiasm of the technique and may lose interest. As for the quality supervision, a great place to start is in fact having someone that has experience using CBT not just familiarity as you stated.

      Reply

  4. Gitte Lenaerts
    Apr 16, 2023 @ 12:39:47

    There are plenty of myths about CBT, one main one that stood out to me is that CBT is easy, and it is only worksheets. Obviously, we know that CBT is not easy, and it does not only consist of worksheets, though they are a big part. CBT has numerous different aspects, and it is not something you learn overnight. CBT does not only focus on worksheets, but it also focuses on taking the client into consideration and meeting them where they are at. CBT also incorporates numerous different techniques that do not only involve worksheets. A big thing about CBT is psychoeducation, which is important for therapists to perform adequately. Providing psychoeducation is something that takes years of studying to provide as therapists learn the roots of psychology in undergrad and then fine-comb their skills in graduate school. When I hear these comments, I get annoyed, and funny enough I heard this comment this past weekend. I get frustrated as CBT has so much evidence behind it and there are so many success stories that come from using CBT. Additionally, there is a lot of work that goes into CBT. I think these myths continue to exist because people in the field may not have received the right training or received poor training. I think also this myth exists because people may not see what is actually going on during CBT therapy sessions. Something that not only I but others in the CBT realm can help dispel these myths is providing background on CBT. When I heard this comment this past weekend, I explained that there is so much more to CBT than worksheets and described some of the other principles of CBT such as being empathic, providing structure, and providing psychoeducation. The person who made this comment is a social worker so they may not have received information or training about CBT. But I explained that though there is structure with CBT there is also a lot of room to be empathic and to discuss other topics.

    It can be a problem if CBT therapists have a strong aversion to practicing CBT techniques on themselves as it can show incompetence. A big thing about being in this field is practicing what you preach, if you cannot be a solid competent CBT therapist, it can be difficult to provide CBT. Practicing these techniques on yourself aids in a better understanding of the techniques, which will help provide better education to clients. Having experience with these techniques also aids in greater self-awareness and insight within oneself which can aid in an increase in empathy when working with clients. Possible indicators that determine if you are receiving quality CBT supervision could be reviewing session structure in supervision. As discussed having structure in sessions is a vital part of CBT and therapy as a whole. We as CBT therapists want to go into a session with structure that was based on the last session. Discussing previous sessions and the next session will look like shows good CBT supervision. Doing group supervision is also an indicator of receiving CBT supervision. Having group supervision can help provide new skills ones can use during therapy. Having multiple CBT therapists together can help facilitate new skills and provide help with challenging cases or when one feels stuck in therapy. I think having both critical and positive feedback is beneficial when in supervision. Currently, in my supervision, I discuss pertinent issues or comments around my clients, and my supervisor mainly listens and sometimes provides steps that I can take to better help my clients. I think when doing therapy, I would like my supervisor to go over my cases and the skills I am doing with my clients. I would like my supervisor to provide me with feedback that will help me and my clients. Negative outcomes that can happen if one does not stay up to date with CBT knowledge and skills is that it can show incompetence. Yes, doing the skills that you learn during graduate school or in the field is helpful, but these skills can change and grow into more beneficial for clients. More negative outcomes maybe not having many clients because you are no longer providing the new update techniques or your clients may not be getting better.

    Reply

    • Grace Ling
      Apr 17, 2023 @ 01:45:54

      Hi Gitte, I agree that it is annoying and frustrating that people lean into the misinformation about CBT. Just as psychoeducation is important in sessions with clients, it is important in informing those who do not have a lot of knowledge about it. Informing those around us about what we do and how it works is also psychoeducation and definitely helps debunk those myths. I also agree with the second half of your response. Being aversive towards techniques that we are using with clients is a display of incompetence. As therapists, we should be able to understand clients as they go through the process of CBT practice. If we don’t practice what we preach, then what was all of this training for? Thank you for sharing your experience!

      Reply

    • Alysha Benoit
      Apr 24, 2023 @ 12:45:59

      Hi Gitte!
      I have also heard people speak about CBT in a way that makes it sound like it is “easier” than other therapeutic modalities. I agree with you that it is much more than doing worksheets with your client and that meeting them where they are at is essential to the therapeutic alliance. This is crucial to CBT as a whole. I also like the point you make about psychoeducation. It’s so important that clients are able to understand why and how therapy works for them. Psychoeducation is more than just describing CBT but is important in allowing clients to process and understand the connection between thoughts, feelings, behaviors, past life events, and core beliefs.
      I also like that you mention group supervision as a way of knowing you are receiving quality CBT supervision. I think that having a perspective from more than one person/colleague/supervisor is a great way to ensure you’re receiving quality supervision and that you are providing quality therapy to clients as well.

      Reply

  5. Ashley Millett
    Apr 16, 2023 @ 18:50:38

    A common myth I have heard about CBT is that there is a set guideline and structure to follow. This would mean that every single session for every single client would be the same. Even if the client has a different idea or a different concern, the therapist would keep on going at the same rate as all the other sessions. It is almost like a timeline that the therapist has to “follow” in order to get the client in and out. However, we know that is not the case. Each client is different. Clients need their own individual care and attention during their sessions. If a client has an issue with one thing, a CBT therapist will continuously work on that one thing rather than moving on to the next one. I think these myths continue to exist because there are so many people who still do not understand CBT and therapy. I think that though there is a rise of therapy and self-awareness of therapy, there is a lack of understanding of CBT. Many can also assume that CBT is “just another type” of therapy for someone to do. You can hear a lot of therapy in general but no one talks about what type of therapy is out there. I think the one way to dispel myths is to bring awareness to CBT. Stated before, many do not realize that there are different types of therapy (I was included in this until undergrad). On Tv, all you see is the idea of therapy, rather than a certain type of therapy. If there was more awareness for CBT, then maybe more myths would be debunked. I also think educating people on the different types of therapy such as CBT will help with debunking myths.

    There can be areas of concern if CBT therapists have a strong aversion to practicing CBT techniques on themselves. Many would include if they make the comments “this is stupid” or “this won’t work on me.” If CBT therapists are not willing to open themselves with these techniques, then the same results might be with their clients. Clients can see if a CBT therapist either does not know what to do or shows annoyance to the techniques. If a client sees this in a therapist, then it can also put off the client into them doing these techniques. Supervision is important for a starting CBT therapist. Depending on the supervisor, they are able to watch you during sessions via one way mirrors, recordings, or watching it live (with the client’s permission). Group supervision is a great way for a supervisor to help a future therapist with their technical skills. They are also able to help assist conceptualization of either cases or groups along with treatment plan skills. I would like my supervisor to simply help me with my skills to make sure they are still well kept. I think especially after graduation, we may lose some of our skills. I think being able to have quality supervision can help keep these certain skills in tack. I would also like to receive feedback on case formulations. I do believe that it is one of the important aspects of CBT to get a good understanding of. I would like for them to look it over and give me advice on what to put in and not put in. It is important to keep up with CBT skills throughout your lifetime. If not, it may lead to negative outcomes for the client and the therapist. CBT just like everything else can change over time. CBT now is not what it used to be back when it was first created. A therapist should be able to stay up to date with the new skills/techniques from CBT. If not, it can lead to faulty care for the client. Also, a therapist would need to keep up to date with skills in order to talk with other therapists in their practice. Though the past is important to know, all therapists would need to stay up to date with skills/techniques in order for the client to get quality care.

    Reply

    • Melissa Elder
      Apr 17, 2023 @ 11:36:02

      Hey Ashley, it is crazy how some people believe CBT looks the same for everyone, something like this is unethical and would never work. As we know everyone is different and holds different needs that are needing to be met, there is no way this could be done with identical treatment plans and/or sessions for every client. I agree that myths continue to do individuals to be uneducated on the topic, which can really be true for any myth. I agree that bringing awareness to CBT can help in minimizing myths, people have this imprinted idea of what they believe it is, but we must be the ones to show the facts. I agree that a client can pick up on a therapist who does not believe in what they are preaching, what do you think would happen to the therapeutic relationship over time in a situation like this? I also agree that in order to be the best therapist we can be for our clients we need to continue to educate ourselves as it is true just like anything else CBT does change with time.

      Reply

    • Taylor Poland
      Apr 18, 2023 @ 10:28:31

      Hi Ashley!
      I am glad you chose to talk about the common misconception that there are set guidelines and strict structures that must be followed in CBT. I have also encountered people who hold this belief about CBT. I think individuals may have this idea due to a bad prior experience or due to never attending a therapy session. I agree that the media portrays the idea of therapy, not a certain type, which makes it difficult for a client to conceptualize it differently. During the first few sessions with a client, it is important to explain what CBT is and what the sessions will look like to ensure the client can decide if it is right for them.

      Reply

    • Stephanie Lugo
      Apr 18, 2023 @ 15:52:37

      Hi Ashley,

      I also have heard the myth about how CBT is very structured and pretty much every session is the same. This is a very common myth for therapy in general. I think when someone thinks of therapy they automatically think all therapy sessions are just the client and therapist talking about situations. We know that therapy is more than just talking. It’s also about the exploration in too topics, emotions, and behaviors. Yes, we can do this by talking with the client, but we also have tools like journal prompts, homework assignments, and charts that can be used to enhance the therapy sessions. For someone who doesn’t know about CBT all of these things seem very rigid and structured but in reality, they are actually helping make therapy more hands-on for clients.

      Reply

  6. Stephanie Lugo
    Apr 16, 2023 @ 20:11:58

    One common CBT myth that I have heard is that ‘CBT is not concerned with a client’s past or their childhood.’ After hearing this myth my first thought was I understand where it could come from as regression therapy is not really a part of CBT. CBT is more focused on the current problems in an individual’s life and how they are impacting the client. CBT’s main focus is not to focus on past problems alone, but when a therapist needs to they will delve into the past. I think the biggest reason that these myths continue to exist is that CBT is misunderstood by many. There is a lack of knowledge about mental health in general, so of course there is a lack of knowledge about treatment options. The biggest thing we can do to dispel these myths is to provide more knowledge and background regarding what CBT actually does. Also making sure any clients or their families who may be weary about CBT know what CBT entails and all that it can do for someone who is struggling with a mental illness.

    If CBT therapists have a strong aversion to actually practicing the common CBT techniques on themselves it can lead to a lack of understanding about how the techniques actually work. It also shows that the therapist doesn’t actually have complete belief and trust in the techniques they are willing to use on their clients. This can lead to less effective treatment as the techniques may not be used in the correct manner. This will negatively impact treatment and can lead to an incorrect diagnosis.

    Receiving quality CBT supervision is essential to help us better develop as counselors. Without proper supervision, we will never learn how to use correct practices to help our clients. One possible indicator to determine if we are receiving quality supervision is if it is on a regular schedule. As clinicians, we need to receive regular supervision in various different situations. Without proper supervision in situations that vary we will be unable to work properly or handle different situations.

    Another indication is whether or not our supervisor gives us good-quality feedback. As beginning clinicians we need to get as much quality feedback as we can as we practice CBT. The type of feedback that is most important and beneficial to help us develop as a CBT therapists is the type that relates to our skill set. Receiving feedback on the skills and techniques that are essential when it comes to CBT can only help us develop. Giving us feedback on how we use specific CBT techniques is what will make us better CBT therapists. Without proper feedback about our skills and how we can improve them, we will not learn how to use these skills across the broad area that we are set to treat.

    If we do not keep up to date with CBT knowledge it will cause us to be horrible CBT therapists. It’s unprofessional to identify yourself as a CBT therapist if you do not know how to properly use the techniques and skills we are meant to. One negative outcome of this is the lack of trust that may develop between the clinician and the clients. The lack of trust will have a huge negative impact on the client’s therapeutic treatment. It also will make it less likely for the clinician to learn about the client as they will not feel comfortable. That is why proper knowledge will only lead to an increase in positive therapeutic practices.

    Reply

    • Grace Ling
      Apr 17, 2023 @ 01:53:40

      Hi Stephanie, I do not think I have ever heard this myth before. It is interesting that people think CBT does not consider clients’ pasts and childhoods. These things are definitely important when coming up with a case formulation. We are required to take a developmental course for good reason. I also agree with your comment in quality supervision includes quality feedback. If someone does not point out our mistakes and help us correct them, we may potentially harm clients. Consulting with others allows us to be better therapists and more competent practitioners of CBT.

      Reply

    • Whitney Andrew
      Apr 17, 2023 @ 16:58:37

      Hi Stephanie!

      I had not heard this myth before but my first thought after reading it was very similar to yours. I do agree that CBT is more of a present focused therapy and frames childhood and past as more of a shaping experience to who you are now.
      I had also written about the reluctance of therapists to practice CBT themselves shows that there isn’t a full belief in the techniques of CBT. It makes me wonder if those are the therapists that fall to the wayside of talk therapy as a result of not believing in CBT techniques.
      I really liked how you mentioned that not staying up to date with CBT education can develop a lack of trust between clinicians and counselors, I never thought of that! It is usually pretty easy to tell when someone does not know what they are doing, so this is a real possibility if clinicians aren’t educating themselves.

      Reply

    • Ashley Millett
      Apr 21, 2023 @ 08:43:12

      Hi Stephanie,

      I think I have heard of that myth before but I am not entirely sure. I agree with you that CBT is misunderstood by a lot of people. I do believe that it takes education and awareness of CBT to help others understand it. I always think awareness is a big step into fixing the problem. There is a lack of awareness and a lack of knowledge on mental health and CBT in general. I like what you said about how therapists need to do the techniques on themselves. I also agree with what you said that it would not lead to a lack of understanding. The phrase practice is key can go for both the clinician and the client. I also liked what you said that it is important to keep up to date on CBT knowledge. I think it is important that we know the techniques and begin to learn new ones that are created through time. It is important to use our knowledge to help better our clients but also ourselves. If we are stuck in the past techniques, we can not move forward for our clients.

      Reply

  7. Grace Ling
    Apr 17, 2023 @ 00:24:34

    A CBT myth that I have heard is that CBT simply changes one’s negative thoughts into positive ones. To some degree, it is true. But rather than switching someone’s mindset, it is widening their thoughts to be more realistic. Even the idea of not having any negative thoughts is unrealistic. CBT can help people take a step back from their cognitive distortions and reflect on them before moving forward through their behaviors or next actions. This myth continues to exist due to misinformation and the idea that happiness is an “ultimate life goal” for some people. In regards to misinformation, the mental health field is still a relatively new one that is starting to be more widely-recognized and less stigmatized. Hopefully, people can understand that mental health is important given the state of our environments and how it can benefit people to improve quality of life. When it comes to happiness, many people want to be “happy” so they will use their own coping mechanisms to maintain that state, whether it be from repression or suppression. For some people, not thinking about their problems means the problem does not exist. To dispel some of these myths, I hope I can be a way for those in my community to be more comfortable with having difficult conversations regarding their mental health. I know that I will not be able to reach everyone, but I hope that being a part of this field will “demystify” it and encourage people to seek help.

    CBT therapists who have an aversion to practicing CBT on themselves can translate to a disbelief in the effectiveness of CBT techniques. We want to understand what the client experiences when we are implementing these techniques on them. If a therapist does not believe in the treatment or interventions, the client may also not believe in the effectiveness of their own treatment and interventions. One important indicator of quality CBT supervision is discussion of session structure and changes to the structure to better serve clients. Supervisors who provide constructive feedback regarding therapeutic skills or suggestions to find better solutions would be beneficial to my professional development. Also, I think learning from other clinicians is important so that I can understand other peoples’ perspectives. Even supervisors consult with others. Not learning and continuing to evolve CBT knowledge and skills is extremely limiting. Clients will provide a multitude of issues and not every technique will serve others similarly. This field is also continuing to evolve and we should be willing to understand new research or concepts to provide better care to our clients.

    Reply

    • Melissa Elder
      Apr 17, 2023 @ 11:43:31

      Hey Grace, I agree that CBT has much more to it than simply changing one’s negative thoughts into positive ones, however, is able to manipulate the negative thought and provide them with resources to change the way they think, find new coping skills and so much more. I really like that you point out the newness of the mental health field since the pandemic we have seen a rise in the need for mental health resources and stigmas are starting to change however the misinterpretation of mental health treatment can contribute to the ongoing myths, do you believe stigmas may contribute to the problem as well? I agree that it is important and so helpful to learn from other individuals who are also practicing CBT as it can really support our growth as new therapists.

      Reply

      • Grace Ling
        Apr 17, 2023 @ 16:17:02

        Hi Melissa, stigma is still a really huge reason why misinformation about the field is still perpetuated. I know for my parents’ generation there is still a struggle to address mental health and even realizing that there is a problem, mental health is kind of a last resort. There are ideas that if someone is going to therapy there is something especially “wrong” with that person. There is also a culture of shame and guilt involved where we have to “swallow our guilt and shame” and that is sometimes seen as admirable. But I think our generation is taking a step to say that maybe its NOT okay to NOT address it. Even my dad doesn’t quite understand what I am doing (he supports me but its not something that he has considered for himself) but I am (hopefully) educating him about it. I cannot speak for the entire AAPI community but that is my experience with stigma.

        Reply

  8. Melissa Elder
    Apr 17, 2023 @ 11:17:41

    A common myth about CBT that I have heard from other people since entering this program with Assumption is how learning CBT is a quick process and it is so easy to use. My reaction when I hear comments such as this is an immediate eye roll. If it is someone who I know is not even educated on CBT I just laugh but if It is from an educated professional, it’s pretty scary to think about, especially if they are a practicing therapist themselves. CBT is not a technique that can be taught within a few days, there are many aspects to CBT. It is important for therapists to fully understand all aspects of CBT before using it within their own practice as it is so important therapists use CBT skills correctly and are knowledgeable enough to know how to change the treatment process depending on the client’s needs. I believe myths continue to exist regarding CBT because of poor training or just careless individuals. Some people love to just assume things, so I am more than positive a lot of myths come from silly assumptions, however, I am sure just as many are from people who lack education around CBT but like to try and think or show they are educated on it. Something we can do as future therapists to dispel some of these myths is to provide more education. If you firsthand hear a CBT myth you can provide education right there, but if not just having resources that are accessible to your clients and even other peers within your office space or wherever may be professionally acceptable to help educate individuals on what CBT is about.
    It can be a problem if CBT therapists have a strong aversion to practicing CBT techniques on themselves because if the techniques are not working on yourself, you are less likely to believe in them working on your client. This vibe can easily be picked up on by clients as well, if you do not fully believe that the techniques work, the clients will be able to sense that for example when you are explaining a worksheet you want them to use, but because you had a negative personal experience with it you may tend to talk differently about it to the client. This can reduce a client’s motivation and overall lead to a bad therapeutic outcome. If as a therapist you use them on yourself and they work, you will talk more positively about them to your clients, therefore there is a danger when practicing CBT skills on yourself while also using the same skills within the practice with your clients. Some possible indicators to determine if you are receiving quality CBT supervision is first making sure your supervisor is educated and even actively practicing modern CBT. If the supervisor is not educated on CBT, the therapist is not receiving quality CBT supervision, and this will cause a downfall for them as a CBT therapist as they are not being provided with accurate education and support. However, some education is better than none, but I would say it would be in the best interest to have a supervisor who is educated and currently practicing with CBT to receive the most adequate CBT supervision as it can help improve the therapist’s already existent CBT skills. Not receiving the correct supervision can even go to affect your clients, which we do not want. The feedback I believe would be the most beneficial to my professional development as a CBT therapist would be surrounding my skills within a session, such as how my treatment plans are working and more. I need honesty all around even if it is harsh, the challenges will push me to do better. Some possible negative outcomes that can occur if you do not stay up to date with CBT knowledge is losing your ability to practice adequately as things are always changing and if you are not keeping up to date on new education you could cause harm to the client. The technique you may be using and may have been using for years can switch or a new version may come out due to the old version no longer being valid, this can also lead to ethical issues if you are missing new important information. Lastly, staying on top of your education will provide an opportunity for you as a therapist to provide the best care to your clients.

    Reply

    • Jonas C Horan
      Apr 17, 2023 @ 17:02:27

      It is pretty funny when people say that CBT is easy to learn and practice! If it is I’m not sure why we’re studying so hard! I think that it sounds pretty simple when you describe it, but it’s so much more subtle when you’re actually trying to do it.

      Reply

    • Whitney Andrew
      Apr 17, 2023 @ 17:11:29

      Hi Melissa!

      I have never heard this myth before, but that is absolutely deserving of an immediate eye roll. It is very miseducated and also dismissive of CBT as a helpful practice. I think it is super scary coming from a professional, especially if they consider themselves a CBT therapist too!
      I couldn’t have said it better myself that therapists who do not use CBT techniques on themselves you are less likely to think it works for clients too! It’s kind of like a trainer telling clients to stretch before a work out without doing it themselves; how are you supposed to think it is beneficial if you haven’t tried it yourself.
      Supervision with a therapist trained in CBT is really the only way a supervisor can be beneficial to us in this program. You are so right that quality supervision can prevent the downfall of a therapist practicing CBT because they can better adjust what they are not doing as well as they could be.

      Reply

    • Lucy Rising
      Apr 20, 2023 @ 10:48:37

      Hey Melissa, I relate to your eye roll response to people saying that CBT is an easy thing to learn and enact. The way I’ve been describing learning CBT at Assumption to my friends is like we are learning the basics of how to be therapists that everyone learns, but on top of that we are learning a whole system on how to conduct that therapeutic process as well. So it is like we are learning the basics of therapy through a lens that is more complicated and difficult that what everyone else is learning. So in fact we are learning a much more difficult form of therapy because it is more specialized than the ‘just listening to people’ therapy.

      Reply

  9. Jonas C Horan
    Apr 17, 2023 @ 16:21:51

    CBT Myths
    I spent a lot of my undergrad talking about quantitative research methods vs qualitative research methods, and how qualitative methods are undervalued. We studied existential phenomenology, which involves a lot of emphasis on meaning and how we participate in perception. Since CBT was identified with the quantitative methods, it was always implied that CBT was shallow and uninterested in meaning. I don’t really understand how that idea came about since CBT is extremely interested in how people experience meaning and how appraisals influence that meaning.
    I think that some people identify CBT with the medical model and all of the flaws involved with that viewpoint. I think this is because CBT is often favored by insurance companies (because it works) which makes people in other areas feel undervalued.
    Although some CBT myths are entirely unfounded, some of them are probably based on people’s experience with CBT therapists. I think the best way that we can dispel myths is to practice in a rigorous but nuanced way and continue to provide the best care that we can.

    CBT Competence:
    First of all, it doesn’t seem ethical to ask someone to do something that you would never do yourself. In CBT we ask clients to bear with our knowledge and expertise and to try interventions that may make them uncomfortable or even distressed. I wouldn’t be comfortable with a therapist who isn’t willing to go through any of the same processes. Second of all, therapists are human too. Feeling that you are above working on yourself is a bad sign for a therapist. We all need to be aware of our own issues and address them from time to time, for our own well being, as well as our clients.
    I don’t want to set the bar too low but I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable with a supervisor who I did not feel I could be honest with. Having an open relationship where I could be honest about any struggles that I’m having seems like a good basic benchmark. Additionally I would be encouraged if my supervisor could be honest about any of their own personal biases or other struggles. I’d like to know that they are also willing to do the work for themselves.
    Even though the basics stay the same, CBT is always developing. The best practices in the field have changed significantly over the years and probably will continue to do so. If we don’t stay up to date with the best practices in the field, we aren’t giving our clients the best care available. Although we can do a lot for people with the techniques we have, we always hope for improvement and should be on the lookout for better ways to help people.

    Reply

    • Taylor Poland
      Apr 18, 2023 @ 13:34:54

      Hi Jonas! I think the myth that you discussed was quite interesting. I agree that CBT is the opposite of shallow and lacks meaning but clients may make this assumption if they had a negative prior experience with CBT. As a clinician, it is our role to clarify what CBT is and how it can help the client very early on in the treatment process. I also agree that it does not seem ethical to ask clients to do worksheets that you would not do on yourself.

      Reply

  10. Whitney Andrew
    Apr 17, 2023 @ 16:47:31

    One common myth I have heard about CBT is that it is such a rigid technique and is overly structured with homework and worksheets. Now, after being in a CBT based program, I think these comments are based on a lack of experience with CBT. As we are all learning, CBT is personalized to the client and the worksheets and homework are aids with therapy and not just rigid instructions. When I hear these comments I want to know whether or not these opinions are based on experience with CBT or just assumptions based on television representations of therapy. I am always ready to explain CBT and point out the way that it is flexible for the individual client and that homework is helpful, just like it is for learning in school. One of the best and most effective ways to dispel this myth is to educate those who believe that CBT is too rigid. Though it may be going over the extra mile, it could even be helpful to show someone one of the worksheets or techniques and showcase how it can be applied to different situations for different individuals. Education about CBT is probably one of the only ways to dispel myths about CBT.

    It can be a problem if CBT therapists have a strong aversion to practicing techniques on themselves because there is a disconnect as a result. As we have been learning in class, practicing the techniques ourselves help to give us insight into how techniques may make individuals feel or what emotions and thoughts might come up as a result. It is also helpful to use them to gain insight into aspects of certain skills that can be modified to better accommodate different diagnoses or emotions. If a counselor has reservations about practicing CBT techniques themselves, it also poses the question of whether or not they fully believe in the methods of CBT, and therefore whether or not they are practicing it successfully with clients.
    Some indicators to determine if you are receiving quality CBT supervision are supervisors who have been trained in and practicing CBT for a few years. On top of that, supervisors that utilize worksheets and CBT techniques in their session is a good indicator that they are able to guide us in CBT practice. Constructive feedback would be the most beneficial to development as a CBT therapist, specifically focusing on our nonverbal cues and also our execution of CBT skills and techniques we actively use during session. I think both of these aspects are important to receive feedback on to modify how we may be using skills and how we may be presenting to the client to be as successful as possible. One negative outcome that can happen if you do not stay up to date with CBT knowledge is negative therapeutic outcomes for clients, specifically impeding on their progress or even worsening their symptoms. It is also possible that certain techniques may be deemed outdated, and if you are not kept up to date you run the risk of using skills that are no longer useful in CBT practices.

    Reply

    • Stephanie Lugo
      Apr 18, 2023 @ 15:40:44

      Hi Whitney,

      I also have heard the myth about how CBT is so rigid and overly structured. I think the reason many believe this is because we do assign homework and exposure activities outside of therapy. CBT is not just talk therapy, its more detailed than that and is focused on having the client work through problems outside of therapy as well. With that being said, tools like journaling, charts, homework, and worksheets are just advancements to our therapy. While they are recommended the client does not necessarily have to complete them. Completing them will ultimately help the client, but there is no extreme pressure for the client to complete the assigned homework. CBT is much more flexible and focused on fitting therapy into the individual’s life.

      Reply

    • Gitte Lenaerts
      Apr 19, 2023 @ 18:14:06

      Hi Whiney, I also have heard that CBT is a rigid and overly structured form of therapy. There is a level of structure when practicing CBT, but there is room to be flexible. I also wonder if these comments are opinions based on one’s experience with CBT or assumptions? I know that some people have mixed feelings about worksheets and doing “homework”, but when providing psychoeducation around what the worksheets and homework are intended to do, people may better understand. I also like that you brought up how if a CBT practitioner does not practice CBT methods on their own, do they even believe in CBT? This brings up a lot of ethical concerns as well. I think being a CBT therapist, one should use the skills to better help one’s clients and themselves.

      Reply

  11. Taylor Poland
    Apr 17, 2023 @ 22:01:10

    One myth that I have heard is that CBT is just talk therapy that revolves around the client venting. People believe that the client just vents their problem to the therapist who serves only as a sounding board/listener. It is almost like people think these therapy sessions are expensive gossip sessions. When I tell people that hold this idea that I am in school to become a therapist, some respond with “Wow, you must be a good listener!” and “You’ll be paid a lot to hear about people’s drama.” I think this misconception comes from a lack of accurate exposure to real therapy sessions. The media typically does a really bad job portraying therapy which may contribute to the misunderstanding. In addition, individuals who have never heard of CBT specifically or have never attended a therapy session may not be familiar with what therapy actually entails. To dispel this idea that therapy / CBT is just a time for the client to vent is to provide psychoeducation. I can provide a general overview of the goals and purpose of CBT to inform the client.

    It is a red flag if a clinician has a strong aversion to practicing CBT techniques on themselves. They may have a superiority complex and believe they are above the worksheets or techniques used with clients. This means that the clinician thinks the techniques are not effective which poses a bigger problem- why administer the tests to your clients if you do not find them helpful? Another reason why a clinician may have an aversion to practicing CBT techniques on themselves is due to the lack of a guided discussion with a therapist to help with the process. One worksheet that is difficult to complete by oneself is the downward arrow worksheet. I found this worksheet to be a bit difficult to administer to myself because I was not prompted with a question to help me navigate my thoughts.

    I have never had a job in the mental health field before, so this summer I hope my supervisor provides me with feedback and constructive criticism to help me grow and develop into a stronger, more effective therapist. Ideally, I hope my supervisor currently practices CBT and they are up to date on training and education in the field. I hope my supervisor provides me with feedback in regard to my ability to make a treatment plan. I have never made a real treatment plan before so if my supervisor can provide me with insight into areas to improve upon then I will take that feedback to enhance it and the next treatment plans I make. It is very important to stay up to date with CBT knowledge and skills as you are directly affecting someone else’s life. One should never put another person in harm’s way due to not staying up to date with research and education. It seems very ignorant to assume the techniques you use right now will always work for every client. As clinicians, it is our duty to provide the best possible therapy session to each client- the therapist is one step closer to achieving that if they have CBT skills and knowledge.

    Reply

    • Becca Boucher
      Apr 19, 2023 @ 10:23:08

      Hi Taylor, I completely agree with your idea that if a therapist is unwilling to practice CBT on themselves that they may have a superiority issue. This can be problematic because this therapist would probably have very little genuine reactions to their clients and lack the proper compassion and empathy needed for proper and ethical treatment. I also agree that I hope to get a lot of constructive feedback this summer from my supervisor. I feel like this is the best way to learn, by doing, having your faults pointed out in a kind way, and then help if need be to fix those areas.

      Reply

  12. Abby Sproles
    Apr 17, 2023 @ 23:08:00

    Before starting the program, I believed the myth that CBT does not focus on the past but rather a therapist would only inquire about current symptoms and maintaining factors. While CBT is forward focused, this myth is largely unsupported because information about the client’s history is gathered in order to produce an effective case formulation of how the client’s symptoms developed. When I hear this myth, I often think that others may be less knowledgeable of CBT and that they may be inclined to concur with a theoretical framework that focuses heavily on the client’s past. This myth may be maintained by the lack of knowledge and training in CBT. In addition, society largely holds the mental image of a client laying down on a couch while the therapist asks detailed questions related to the client’s past. CBT is comparably new but the continual rise in CBT-focused graduate and training programs may help dispel the myth by exposing more individuals to the theoretical framework.
    It may be a problem if a therapist does not see the benefit in utilizing CBT techniques on themself as it suggests that therapist does not believe in what they are teaching their clients. Therapists that do not “practice what they preach” may experience burnout or an overall lack of interest in their job if they are practicing a theoretical framework that they do not believe in. Also, clients may notice a therapist’s aversion in how they present techniques and their confidence in how these techniques will help the client reach their therapeutic goals. A quality CBT supervisor will help a therapist with practicing CBT-specific techniques as well as using a cognitive-behavioral framework when conceptualizing the presenting issues of a client. I would personally benefit most from feedback relating to my interpersonal skills and the effectiveness of CBT techniques to ensure that I am encouraging progress. Also, I would be comfortable with my supervisor listening in or watching a recording of my sessions so that I can receive accurate feedback. Lastly, neglecting continuing education and staying up to date with CBT skills places the therapist at risk for practicing ineffectively. Outdated techniques could potentially inhibit therapeutic progress or harm the client by not providing the most effective techniques based on research.

    Reply

    • Emily Forde
      Apr 18, 2023 @ 19:09:16

      Hi Abby! I have also heard the myth that CBT does not focus on the past, however we know this is not true. This myth may still exist because people feel CBT only focuses on the superficial, presenting problems, rather than the deeper issue of the past. Once the client and therapist are able to build rapport and coping skills, the therapy may be able to more effectively work through the client’s past. Great response!

      Reply

    • Gitte Lenaerts
      Apr 19, 2023 @ 18:13:15

      Hi Abby, I hadn’t thought about this myth yet. I have heard similar comments on how CBT does not focus on the past but only focus on the present concerns. We both know that’s not the case, as current symptoms have typically stemmed from one’s past experiences. As you mentioned, CBT does have an emphasis on moving forward but a client’s history is a crucial part of planning an effective case formulation. I like that you brought up how society views therapy as this mental image of a client laying down on a couch and the therapist asking questions about their past. I have heard comments about this and how people still view therapy as a whole in a psychoanalytic view. Great post!

      Reply

  13. Megan VanDyke
    Apr 18, 2023 @ 15:03:52

    A common myth I have heard about CBT is that it is too structured and impossible to deviate from if the client needs to talk about something new or irrelevant. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as CBT allows the flexibility for both the client and the therapist to create a treatment plan catered to the client’s goals, presenting problems, and preferences. CBT is not a one-size-fits-all treatment plan, and if it were, then so many clients would not benefit from the treatment process as they do now. This myth likely continues to exist because those unfamiliar with CBT see it as a treatment plan loaded with specific worksheets and interventions that clients must complete to see any signs of improvement. Additionally, given CBT’s history of being manual-based in its early days, many practitioners may try to deviate from the practice toward something less structured to “go with the flow” of life’s obstacles. However, by doing so, the therapy sessions exchanges getting to the root of the issue to discussing summaries of weekly events. To dispel some of these myths, I can have an open conversation with clients during the intake session on how they perceive CBT and provide background information on what it is and how it works. Additionally, if the client continues working with me, I can revisit educating them on CBT in the psychoeducation phase by intertwining a conceptualization of their disorder with how CBT can specifically target their needs. When working with therapists who may not be using evidence-based practices, I could also have an open conversation with them and provide resources for them to read into to dispel any myths or misinformed opinions they may hold.

    It can be a problem if therapists have an aversion to practicing CBT on themselves yet expect their clients to practice it without issue. It goes against the saying “practice what you preach” and can be unhelpful to the client and their treatment process. I found several worksheets challenging, eye-opening, and insightful throughout the semester. This helped me become a better therapist by showing me what might be going through my future clients’ heads or how they may respond to the worksheet. You can’t fully conceptualize the effectiveness or potential responses without trying the interventions yourself. Quality CBT supervision begins with observation. The supervisor should observe the first few sessions in some way to offer feedback on strengths and areas for improvement. Similarly, the practicing therapist needs to watch their supervisor with clients to see their interpretation of how to use CBT skills, which can help modify or enhance your idea of how to use them. Continuing education after graduation is another excellent way to stay up to date on the latest skills and ensure that you use modernized, effective techniques. Without staying up to date, you may run the risk of using outdated techniques or becoming less competent as the mental health field continues to evolve.

    Reply

    • Emily Forde
      Apr 18, 2023 @ 19:06:04

      Hi Megan! I also have heard the myth that CBT is too structured. I think CBT is just structured enough, to keep the sessions productive and still leaving some time for the client to discuss what the would like to. I really like you how you mentioned that CBT is not a one-size-fits-all treatment, which demonstrates that although it works for many people, it may not be the best treatment plan for everyone. I like how you mentioned that an essential part of supervision is observation. If the supervisor is not available to observe you, they would simply not be able to give you feedback to help you improve. Great response!

      Reply

    • Lucy Rising
      Apr 20, 2023 @ 10:43:57

      Hey Megan, I have also heard this myth from other people and it has made me wonder where they see this rigidity from? Because, at least in how we have been learning it, CBT is founded on the principle that we are fitting our treatment to best suit the client while still using these CBT specific skills/techniques. It really seems like a bunch of people are calling themselves ‘learned in CBT’ when in fact they maybe took one seminar on it. We’ve discussed in class before about people filling their PsychToday profile with every tag possible to get seen more, and with all these myths around it feels like this might be one of the reasons for that.

      Reply

  14. Emily Forde
    Apr 18, 2023 @ 19:02:09

    A myth I have heard about CBT is that it only treats the superficial symptoms and not the ‘root’ causes. This statement is a myth because CBT initially focuses on the surface symptoms to build the client’s coping skills, so many people may assume that is the only focus throughout the whole course of therapy. Once the client has built up their coping skills and is able to apply their CBT skills to their problems and life overall, the therapy and the client can shift their focus to the deeper issues. Focusing primarily on the presenting symptoms allows the client to feel comfortable with CBT and acquire coping skills, before moving to the processing of deeper, more involved issues. I think this myth continues to exist because people unfamiliar with CBT think the CBT never shifts away from the superficial symptoms, although it does once rapport is built and the client develops some healthy coping skills. I also think this myth continues to exist because many people are uneducated about the processes involved in CBT, how the therapy looks each session, and the progression of topics. To dispel some of these myths, I will work to educate others on what CBT is and what it often focuses on.
    It is a major problem if a CBT therapist is aversive to practicing CBT techniques on themselves. Without practicing these exercises on their own, the therapist is not able to truly see and understand the client’s perspective. When I was completing the CBT worksheets, I felt challenged and felt vulnerable. By doing the exercise, I am able to understand what my clients may be feeling, so I am able to be more genuine and validating as a therapist. Some possible indicators to determine quality CBT supervision is the supervisor using assessments, worksheets, and doing psychoeducation. In addition, a good CBT supervisor will give helpful feedback and provide a space that allows the clinician to feel comfortable asking questions. I would like to receive feedback on my psychoeducation, interactions with my clients, and how well I am giving/going through CBT worksheets. I would want to constructive criticism so I know the areas I need to improve. If you do not stay up to date with your CBT knowledge and skills, you may potentially harm the client’s course of treatment by practicing skills that are no longer evidence based.

    Reply

    • Becca Boucher
      Apr 19, 2023 @ 10:19:00

      Emily:
      Hi Emily! I love the myth you mention that CBT only treats the symptoms of an individual. I had heard this as well, and also thought that CBT was mainly used to treat symptoms, and symptoms alone. I also love that you mention performing CBT techniques on yourself can help you be a more companionate and validating therapist, I completely agree! Especially knowing the effort that can go into some work I feel is really important so that you can have realistic expectations of your clients and more understanding if they are unable to complete certain things.

      Reply

    • Jack Halliday
      Apr 19, 2023 @ 14:14:41

      Hey Emily, the myth that you had mentioned is not one that I have heard before. I like the way you explained why it potentially exists in the first place, because it is almost rooted in some truth. I feel like it’s true of all frameworks of therapy that the surface symptoms are addressed before the root of the problems are worked out. It’s a funny myth because it’s kind of how therapy works. Also, I definitely agree that a lack of constructive criticism could indicate inappropriate supervision, because without it there is less room for you to grow as a therapist.

      Reply

  15. Becca Boucher
    Apr 19, 2023 @ 10:09:32

    One myth I had previously heard about CBT is that it is a highly structured, one-size-fits-all approach to therapy in which therapists use all the same techniques and processes on each and every client. However, I have now learned that while CBT is a more structured form of therapy, the structure is in the framework, but actual CBT techniques and activities are flexible and meant to be tailored to each client’s needs. I think this myth continues to exist because most of the population is poorly educated on mental health, its importance, and treatment of mental health disorders. For instance, many people believe they have mental health disorders simply because they are having some trouble with motivation, mild anxiety, or are simply not enjoying life in the way they used to. Mental health disorders are thrown about willy-nilly without consideration about the severity of symptoms and the presence of all symptoms that signify a disorder. I think it is important to provide psychoeducation to your clients early on in therapy in order to dispel this and similar myths at least from their minds. However, dispelling this myth and other myths about CBT in the general public would be a lot harder. There are so many avenues people can use to retrieve information, and it is often misleading or incomplete. However, my focusing on educating our clients, and providing CBT information on our professional websites, we can reach a fairly wide audience. Overall, the way that the discourse around mental health is going I think will help for the general public to eventually be receiving correct and comprehensive mental health and CBT information someday soon.
    It can be a problem if a CBT therapist has a strong aversion to practicing CBT techniques on themselves because a great way to learn is by doing. Additionally, what you are taught a CBT technique can elicit from a client and what it actually elicits can be different, and by doing it on yourself you gain a greater understanding of what your clients may get out of that technique. A possible indicator that I am receiving quality CBT supervision is if my supervisor uses proper CBT terminology, encourages me to make a treatment plan, use assessments, and continually update my treatment plan as new information is gathered and goals are achieved. Feedback from my supervisor that would be most beneficial would be ideas on what types of CBT interventions and techniques to use with certain clients and how those interventions and techniques would be more beneficial for that client over others. This would help because there’s so many things you can do with a client, and having someone help point me in the right direction now and then I feel would help me to treat other clients on my own. Negative outcomes for not staying up to date on CBT knowledge and skills include not providing the most effective treatment to your clients, losing focus and no longer making treatment plans, etc., and using outdated strategies to treat your clients when new treatment options have been discovered that could be more beneficial.

    Reply

    • Jack Halliday
      Apr 19, 2023 @ 14:12:03

      Hey Becca, the CBT myth that you mentioned is one that I have also heard that I didn’t think of while typing my post. It is in the same vein as what I had mentioned, and I definitely agree that these myths perpetuate because the general public is poorly educated when it comes to mental health. I also definitely agree that this lack of education is evident in other areas besides just CBT myths. I also definitely agree that not staying up to date with CBT knowledge and skills can lead to you not providing the most effective treatment to your clients.

      Reply

    • Ashley Millett
      Apr 21, 2023 @ 08:56:51

      Hi Becca,

      I have also heard of that myth. Before entering this program, I had the idea that I would have a set schedule to do with all of my future clients. However while being in this program, that is simply not the case. I do agree that myths such as these are because of a lack of education within society. Education is important for the topic of mental health. If there was no education, then we would keep providing the inaccurate information to our clients and others. I like what you said about having CBT therapists do the techniques on themselves. I think it is important for CBT therapists to do this because we need to know what to do with them. If we know what to do, then we can help our clients to know what to do.

      Reply

  16. Jack Halliday
    Apr 19, 2023 @ 14:07:45

    One common myth that I have heard from people and professionals is that it is an impersonal and inflexible way to do therapy. I have heard people make remarks along the lines of it being a robotic and one size fits all approach. Proponents of this idea make the claim that the therapist-client relationship is of minimal importance, and it is heavily reliant on just assessments and homework. When I hear people make these comments, I think it just emphasizes their ignorance on the matter. Anybody who has done meaningful research on CBT will quickly learn that this strategy of therapy is more complicated and personal than they think it is. I think these myths persist because people are too lazy to do their own research before coming to conclusions, which is not unique to this topic. I think that if you look at the name, cognitive-behavioral therapy, it can lead to people making snap decisions about what the techniques entail. Without taking the effort to do further research on the topic, I can see why these quick judgments would lead to this pigeon-holing of the technique. I think that as an individual there is not a whole lot we can do to dispel these myths. If somebody expresses these myths to us, we can offer our expertise on the topic and attempt to inform them of the reality, but as we know most people don’t like to hear information that goes against their beliefs. In terms of the general public, I think the changes can be enacted one client at a time. If a client expresses hesitation surrounding CBT, then we can assure them of what the therapeutic process actually entails.
    A CBT therapist having a strong aversion to practicing these techniques on themselves can indicate a number of issues. One being that they do not trust the techniques, and they don’t feel that they are beneficial. Additionally, this could indicate a degree of ignorance surrounding the techniques. Practicing them on yourself is a good way to gain a deeper understanding of how the process works that you would not have gotten otherwise. Some possible indicators that you are not receiving adequate supervision is that your supervisor does not have a history of practicing using CBT. Receiving CBT supervision from an individual who is not well-practiced in the techniques would lead to them possibly not being able to provide adequate supervision. Another potential indicator is that if your supervisor ignores crucial aspects of CBT such as homework, session structure, and/or treatment planning. These are all essential aspects of CBT and our supervisor not addressing those aspects, or other important aspects specifically could indicate you are not receiving quality CBT supervision. Possible negative outcomes of not staying up to date with CBT knowledge and skills is that you risk not utilizing the most appropriate skills that you can. The field is always developing so it is essential that as a professional you stay up to date with the knowledge and skills. Just because there is currently research that supports certain techniques with certain disorders, that does not mean that will change. New techniques are being tried out and if you don’t keep up to date you risk missing out on new evidence-based practices.

    Reply

  17. Lucy Rising
    Apr 20, 2023 @ 10:36:01

    A myth I see on TikTok a lot is people who are diagnosed with autism, depression, or dissociative disorders criticizing CBT for not knowing what to do when clients have a very clear understanding and insight into their symptoms. I always question their therapists when I see these comments because if they are stopping at gaining insight for their clients how can they consider themselves CBT therapists? You would think those counselors would move to behavioral activation or exposure because if they already have a very good understanding of their automatic thoughts and core beliefs you would begin the process of cognitive and behavioral restructuring. So in these cases I tend to think the therapists are not actually doing CBT effectively or correctly. Which is why these myths tend to still exist and continue to perpetuate: because those who claim to be CBT therapists are not actually trained well or supervised in CBT. I guess the only thing I can do to dispel these myths (since I won’t be a researcher in the field) is to be a good and competent CBT therapist.
    How is a therapist going to know how to most effectively utilize CBT skills on someone else if they do not practice with themselves? They should work through these skills and exercises on themselves (like we did throughout the semester) in order to understand the thoughts that might go through a client’s mind when engaging with the same material. It gives them practice on how to respond to possible issues or different thoughts the client might have in response to them because they had thought it when doing it for themselves. Good CBT supervision would include giving me advice on how I am implementing my CBT skills to my clients and making sure that I correctly convey the material to my clients in a way that is comprehensible to a normal person and not just a professional in the field. Not staying up to date with CBT knowledge could lead you to using skills or procedures that are outdated and potentially harmful for clients.

    Reply

    • Megan VanDyke
      Apr 22, 2023 @ 10:55:40

      Hey, Lucy! I love that you discussed how TikTok is great at perpetuating CBT myths. I also get those videos on my account (especially the ones trying to diagnose the viewer), and it’s frustrating to see how easily misinformation spreads. On top of being a good and competent CBT therapist, you could talk with the client during the intake phase about any myths or feelings they hold toward it. That way, the client gains a good conceptualization of CBT and can accurately decide if they think it will help them.

      Reply

    • Rena Yaghmour
      Apr 24, 2023 @ 11:00:17

      Hi Lucy,

      I agree with you! I think it is very important for therapists who practice CBT to practice it on themselves as well and actually believe it in. If a therapist using CBT on their clients and they don’t believe in it or doesn’t think it works that will only do more harm than good. This goes hand in hand with the myths that are talked about. If a client has a therapist who uses CBT but doesn’t believe in it, as I have said before this will hurt the client making them think that CBT not helpful. I also think working through the skills and worksheets on themselves is a great idea. I know when we did it in class it was very helpful to see what the process is like and how I felt/thought during it.

      Reply

  18. Maria Nowak
    Apr 20, 2023 @ 14:21:04

    A common CBT myth is that a CBT therapist-client relationship has little value. My thoughts when I hear a comment like this is that they must not understand how CBT works. If an individual was taught how to do proper CBT then I do not believe they would still think this way. This myth probably still continues to exist because people are not willing to explore CBT. If it is an older therapist who has a different approach they have been using throughout their career there is less of a chance they will be willing to try a new approach. Additionally, if CBT is associated with several myths and people believe them, they will be less open minded about it. I can help dispel some of these myths by providing education when interacting with other therapists or at training. An individual will receive the best quality of care when a therapist utilizes evidence based practice. If a therapist is not using evidence based practice then it is not ethical. Knowledge is power and the ability to educate others not only about CBT but why evidence based practice is essential is a part of doing our due diligence as a therapist.
    It can be a problem if CBT therapists have a strong aversion to practicing CBT techniques on themselves because clients can read the room and see that you are not passionate about what you are doing. If a therapist would use techniques for clients and not on themselves they will lack self awareness and insight. This will show through therapists lack of competency when doing the techniques with their clients. I also believe it is unethical to not practice what you preach. How can a therapist advocate and teach something if they have not personally experienced it benefiting them? I need to be able to see something has a therapeutic benefit for myself before I would want to just drop it on a client. Possible indicators to determine if you are receiving quality supervision are observation of a live/recorded session. If supervision only occurs verbally this is not an accurate depiction of what actually occurred within the session. Unconsciously, a therapist will try to make themselves look good and will not be able to receive beneficial feedback. Feedback I would want from my supervisor is on my body language/ facial reactions, did she perceive me to be competent and confident? Did I utilize the CBT skills properly? Did I make the session a collaborative effort? Are there parts of a skill/ technique I could do better?
    Possible negative outcomes if you don’t stay up to date with CBT knowledge and skills is not being a competent therapist. It is simply just part of being a therapist to stay up to date with knowledge and skills. It would be unethical to continue therapy with your clients if you know you are behind the times and not giving them the best therapy, you could be if you were up to date. To ensure your clients are continuing to make progress and have the best therapeutic outcome, it is imperative to do what you can to keep learning and developing new skills.

    Reply

  19. rena yaghmour
    Apr 20, 2023 @ 16:49:21

    One of the common CBT myths that I have heard from others is how rigid the therapy process is and how it is a lot of work. When I hear these comments all I want to do is educate the person more and give them a better understanding of the purpose and how their idea isn’t completely true. I also assume that they may have had a bad experience or have heard bad things from someone else which could have influenced their thought which led them to continue to roll with this idea. Some of these comments continue to exist because unfortunately, there are some individuals who continue to spread misinformation. Although I would love to dispel these myths completely I think it would be hard to, however, one thing I would do is try to correct some individuals’ ideas about CBT. I will also give people the comfort to talk about mental health and give them the space to ask questions so they are able to learn more and gain a better understanding.
    If a therapist presents to have a strong aversion to practicing CBT techniques on themselves, it can negatively impact not only themselves but their clients as well. The therapist will most likely have trouble connecting with the client and implementing these techniques correctly into their sessions. A client is coming to the therapist for specific reasons and if the therapist is struggling to provide the client with the right and correct care the client can be negatively impacted. When it comes to supervision there are some indicators that let us know whether we are receiving quality supervision. One is to have a supervisor that practices CBT. If they can’t connect with you around CBT and help you with any questions you may have it could cause a divide and potentially not be helpful. We want to be able to go to our supervisor and receive guidance in the right direction and have it pertain to what we are practicing outside and inside of sessions. I think guidance in what direction to go is beneficial or new approaches that we could take during sessions when we feel “Stuck” as well. Some negative outcomes that can come up if we don’t stay up to date with CBT knowledge and skills is hurting the client and acting unethically and professionally. We are to treat our clients correctly and using outdated skills can again, hurt the client.

    Reply

    • Esther Konadu
      Apr 22, 2023 @ 20:00:02

      Hi Rena,

      I see what you were saying about letting others ask questions about CBT. I feel that people are afraid sometimes to ask questions when they think they will be made fun of for asking, myself included. Having open and accepting conversations with people who are skeptical about CBT is one way to dispel myths. It may take some time, but hopefully, those skeptics will see why CBT is effective in its own right.

      Reply

    • Alysha Benoit
      Apr 24, 2023 @ 12:59:52

      Hi Rena!
      I think it’s interesting to hear myths about CBT being either too rigid and straightforward or that it is too easy for the client and focuses primarily on worksheets (Like how Gitte touched upon this). I agree with you though, that people who speak this way about CBT have either had a bad experience or have not actually done CBT or accurately learned about it. I like how you mention giving people a safe space to talk and ask questions about CBT. I think that it is the most effective way we can try to dispel some of the myths surrounding this style of therapy. I also agree that it would be nearly impossible to tackle every single myth we see or hear. No matter the job or profession there will always be those who are misinformed and it’s our job as therapists to educate others about the truths of CBT.

      Reply

  20. Alysha Benoit
    Apr 20, 2023 @ 17:19:12

    There are a few myths I have heard about CBT before entering this program, specifically. One myth that I think is worth addressing is the idea that the therapeutic relationship is not important to a client’s treatment goals and progress within therapy. When I first heard this, I was skeptical about whether or not it was true, especially because I had always viewed therapy as a collaborative process in which both clients and therapists learn about themselves. The main reason I chose a CBT counseling program was because of the collaboration between the client and therapist. Another myth I have heard about CBT is that it is generally used to treat less severe and mild forms of mental disorders like depression and anxiety. It was interesting to learn that CBT is effective in treating people with severe cases of MDD, GAD, or even PTSD since entering this program.
    I think myths like the ones described above still exist because of the continuation of misinformation on the internet and other forms of media. This is particularly concerning because many people who may not be fully or even nearly qualified to provide CBT tend to portray that they are, in fact, qualified. Such people may misconstrue information about CBT to their audience(s). Another contribution to why these myths still exist could relate to the varying “certifications” and “coaching” programs that people without licensure go through. This is another way people who are not fully trained in CBT may portray that they have.
    With regard to dispelling these myths, there are a few things that could be done. For example, as a graduate student studying CBT, I feel a personal responsibility to educate those who are misinformed about CBT. It is important to educate people in a respectful manner, however. Similar to psychoeducation provided to clients, it is important to never talk down or “at” other people but rather have a collaborative conversation about the myths and facts surrounding CBT.

    It is problematic if a cognitive-behavioral therapist has a strong aversion to practicing the techniques they would give to their clients for a few reasons. First, if a therapist does not practice CBT techniques and exercise on themselves, it would be much harder for them to give their client accurate psychoeducation about the specifics of each technique. Additionally, a client may feel negative about their therapist if they were to learn that they did not practice these techniques or felt a strong aversion to them. Personally, if I were a client, I would be weary to trust my therapist in being able to provide effective therapy if they did not believe the same techniques would work on them.
    There are a few possible indicators regarding whether or not a therapist (or therapist in training) is receiving quality CBT supervision. First, a therapist should ask their supervisor what type of therapeutic style and modalities they support and have a background in before taking a job or internship opportunity. Being straight-up and directly asking such questions to a supervisor could be the most effective way to understand their training. Additionally, it may be worth paying attention to how supervision speaks about CBT or the characteristics involved with it. I think specific feedback related to the quality of the therapeutic alliance and collaborative empiricism is one of the most important areas to address with therapists because they are both foundational concepts of CBT.
    A few possible negative outcomes that may arise if CBT therapists do not stay up to date with current CBT techniques could be the use of outdated techniques and providing clients with information that may not accurately reflect their presenting problems and course of treatment. For example, research about the effectiveness of CBT can change over time. If a clinician were to not stay up to date about the changes in techniques and therapeutic style, they may not provide the best treatment available to their client.

    Reply

    • Esther Konadu
      Apr 22, 2023 @ 18:46:33

      Hi Aly,

      I completely agree with your stance on psychoeducation. Talking with people who are willing to learn more about CBT to challenge what they may have heard can help combat myths. It also helps that this information about CBT comes from people in the field (us and other professionals) who present it in a calm and approachable manner. Without these active efforts, I think more of the general public would believe everything they have read or heard about CBT.

      Reply

  21. Olgena Pano
    Apr 20, 2023 @ 22:54:00

    1.One of the CBT myths that I have heard from few individuals is the misunderstanding that CBT is not focused on people who experience severe mental health conditions, which is an untrue factor. I think that this misunderstanding often happens due to the structured time that CBT is founded. However, this fact does not exclude the cases where a person condition requires additional, and the necessary time given regarding his problems nature. I think that is important for professionals in the field and accredited institutions to provide more information and psychoeducation that would increase clarity regarding people’s understanding of CBT approach.
    2. One of the most concerning factors for a therapist that has a strong aversion to practicing CBT could be the harm he/she can cause to the client by using methods that are not supported by empirical research, and the client has not agreed on or informed. This factor could lead to therapeutic regression and violation of ethical codes by the therapist.
    Some indicators of receiving quality CBT supervision are the application of CBT interventions and techniques, documentation, and professional treatment plan formulation. These elements are major keys when practicing CBT. Not staying up to date with CBT knowledge not only could lead to the weakness of professional skills but could also harm the client progress and worsen their outcomes. Therefore, the individual could risk losing his/ her license by not having documentation that support his/her treatment goals and client’s progression.

    Reply

    • Megan VanDyke
      Apr 22, 2023 @ 12:02:35

      Hey, Olgena! I agree that using practices that are not evidence-based can place the client at risk of getting harmed. Additionally, it is essential to practice what you preach, meaning that practicing CBT on yourself can help you better practice CBT on clients. I also agree that staying up to date on CBT practices ties into having good CBT supervision. A good supervisor will help you sign up for upcoming CBT training and review the material afterward to ensure you understand the material and can effectively apply it in sessions.

      Reply

    • Rena Yaghmour
      Apr 24, 2023 @ 10:52:23

      Hi Olgena,

      I agree with you. I. Think it is so important for people to correct the misinformation that is being spread and educate the ones who have the wrong idea about it. If we continue to let misinformation about CBT roam around then more people will believe the wrong things about it. I think there should be more information about CBT as a whole. I don’t think that it is necessarily talked about enough and the great things it can do for an individual. Instead I feel like the wrong information is being talked about. As soon to be therapist we need to start spreading the right information to people and making them aware of the good things that CBT has to offer and what wrong information others are spreading.

      Reply

  22. Esther Konadu
    Apr 20, 2023 @ 23:12:18

    A myth is that CBT seems like it is “a lot of work” compared to other types of therapy. With this comment and others, I think that those people and professionals have not properly experienced CBT or done enough research to know what goes on in CBT-focused therapy. These myths exist because people tend to spread misinformation about things they are afraid of. CBT can seem like something difficult, but I think good therapy healthily challenges clients to reevaluate their thinking patterns and build tools to address other things that are negatively impacting them. To dispel some of these myths, I would try my best to educate others with what I know about CBT, especially if the myths were being encouraged by my friends or family. But at the end of the day, you cannot make someone learn something if they have no interest in doing so. I think trying to show them some of the benefits of CBT could help them come to better conclusions, hopefully.

    If CBT therapists loathe practicing CBT techniques on themselves, it can provide insight into how they apply those techniques to clients. That kind of attitude can carry over, and it can be seen in how they talk about the techniques to their clients. Also, if clients are having trouble with the techniques, a therapist who knows what it might look like for them could help. If the therapist chooses not to practice the techniques because they hate them, then they are harming their clients by not providing the care that they agreed on. For quality supervision, I would say that if there is mutual respect between the supervisor and the person being supervised and having someone who aligns with what your goals are. So if you were looking to gain CBT experience, having a supervisor who either actively practices CBT or respects the research is important so you feel valued and not undermined every day. For me, having my supervisor being able to explicitly tell me what is working and what is not would help me a lot. Sometimes when there is a lot of room for interpretation, I do not do very well and get caught up trying to figure out what the other person meant. I also appreciate when a supervisor does not assume and charges ahead with their plans for clients. My current supervisor at work does a great job asking me what I think needs to be included in ABA sessions so I can help my client gain those skills. I always feel respected and grateful that my input counts for something. Having that in supervision for CBT would be ideal.

    The biggest negative outcome of not being up to date about CBT is giving out-of-date services. Not to say that services can expire, but that they might not be reflecting the research and what people are currently contributing to the field. Without continuing education courses, and maybe reading literature every so often, it can make it very easy to fall out of the loop. Additionally, you might impact your clients because you are disservicing them from getting CBT the way it should be (not saying it is one size fits all), but they might miss out on things that make CBT work for some people.

    Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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