Topic 10a: CBT Myths (by 4/16)

There is one VERY short readings due this week (Volungis – 1 Chapter).  For this discussion, share at least two main thoughts: (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?

 

Your original post should be posted by 4/16.  Have your two replies posted no later than 4/18.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

41 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jessica Costello
    Apr 06, 2020 @ 13:22:54

    1. One of the most common myths about CBT I’ve heard is that it is only useful for treating surface problems and not useful for treating significant mental disorders. I usually think that people who believe this do not understand or haven’t learned the theory behind CBT and how negative automatic thoughts and core beliefs can maintain depressive moods, clinical levels of anxiety, and other elements of clinical disorders.

    2. These myths probably persist because of general misunderstandings about how therapy works. Perhaps if the popular perception is that all therapy is old-school psychoanalysis, anything other than that is seen as ineffective. Some people may not just be aware of the evidence showing that CBT is effective across diverse clinical populations.

    Reply

    • Ashley Foster
      Apr 07, 2020 @ 23:33:07

      Hey Jess!
      I agree with your stance with individuals who believe this myth may not fully understand the theory and practices that come with CBT. If not using CBT properly, individuals may believe that they cannot utilize it in treatment of significant mental disorders. For those in the know though, we know and are trained to take different aspects of CBT and create treatment plans for our individual clients specifically for what they are going through. Also, delivering treatment in a normative way for the client to understand and not misinterpret the information we deliver. Great job with the post!

      Reply

    • Monica K Teeven
      Apr 09, 2020 @ 14:19:35

      Hello Jess! Hearing that this is the most common myth of CBT you hear is mind-boggling to me! I think it is so shocking to me because of all the empirical research that has consistently shown how effective CBT is more many mental health disorders. Also, how is CBT only treating problems on the surface? CBT also focuses on core beliefs, and that is far from on the surface problems. I wish different forms of mental health therapy were discussed more, not just in the psychology field, but also with the general public. This would allow people to be more knowledgable about the different forms of treatment and what the pros and cons to each form of therapy is based on empirical research when deciding a treatment for themselves or loved ones. Great job Jess!!!

      Reply

    • Melanie Sergel
      Apr 10, 2020 @ 14:19:21

      Hi Jess! I agree with your thoughts that those who believe the myth do not understand CBT or just have not learned the theory behind it. I also think that the myths continue because of general misunderstandings and even can continue because of those who are biased. I like that you make the point that it could pass continue because anything that is new rather than the old school psychoanalysis is ineffective. Great job!

      Reply

    • Taylor O'Rourke
      Apr 11, 2020 @ 15:30:26

      Hi Jess!

      I totally agree with your assumption that “old school” therapy is the reason why these misconceptions about CBT still exist. So many people think that all therapy is like psychoanalysis, and clients lay on a couch or chair and project their childhood issues onto their therapist. I think the media does a great job of supporting this misconception too. Not many people understand what CBT truly is and what its purpose and methods are, so it is our job as future mental health professionals to educate others so they become more informed about what CBT truly is.

      Reply

    • Renee Gaumond
      Apr 14, 2020 @ 07:19:55

      Hi Jess,
      I agree with you when you said that people who believe the myth that CBT does not treat disorders don’t understand the theory behind CBT. Working through Core beliefs and negative automatic thoughts is important to the process of managing a disorder since they act as fuel for the distress related to the disorder.

      Reply

    • Renee Gaumond
      Apr 20, 2020 @ 13:04:18

      Hi Jess,
      I agree with you when you said that people who believe the myths don’t understand or haven’t learned theory behind CBT. I think that’s how a lot of myths and stereotypes are made, some people can misinterpret something and form incorrect opinions, then spread those thoughts without looking into the reality behind them.

      Reply

  2. Ashley Foster
    Apr 07, 2020 @ 23:24:59

    1. One common CBT myth is CBT does not consider the past important. Rather, CBT focuses on the present and future and when needed dips into the past. The past can be very helpful in understanding information that may not be understood without it. This dipping into the past helps clinicians in understanding links of information and behavior that will give better understanding for treatment interventions. Having a client stay in present time, tackles the chief complaints that the client is experiencing in that moment and what brought them to treatment in the first place. This also helps the client detach themselves from their past in making new coping skills and experiences that can be utilize. Focusing on the future also keeps the client goal oriented. Having the client be in this mind set gives the client hope in being successful in treatment.

    2. These myths about CBT maybe continuing due to a few various reasons. One reason maybe that CBT is not only newer in nature, but also has many moving parts. To do effective CBT, a clinician must take on a great wealth of training and education. Based on biases of tib-bits of information floating around through mental/ behavioral health, these myths continue. Also, with many individuals who are not trained properly or as extensively as we do, clinicians may not fully grasp CBT methods and make assumptions on how to implement its’ treatments and interventions.

    Reply

    • Jess Costello
      Apr 08, 2020 @ 21:54:21

      Hey Ashley! You made a good point about CBT dipping into the past when it’s appropriate to get more information to guide understanding of the present as well as future directions. I think CBT’s focus on the present and future may actually work in its favor because many clients may have the misconception that all therapy focuses on the past. They may feel relieved that they don’t have to discuss their childhoods at length and may be hopeful that CBT presents something different, which will influence their motivation to change. Good work!

      Reply

    • Monica K Teeven
      Apr 09, 2020 @ 14:04:23

      Hi Ashley! I agreed with what you said about how gaining information about the client’s past can be important because past events can alter the treatments or therapeutic relationship negatively if the therapist are unaware of certain factors. However, like you said, focusing on the present and future with a client is more important because the client has decided to come receive therapy now. This means the client has come to the point in their life that some negative aspect is too much to handle anymore and wants guidance to help them decrease this negative aspect that is presently affecting them. Great job on your post!

      Reply

    • Melanie Sergel
      Apr 10, 2020 @ 14:25:05

      Hi Ashley!
      I have also heard of the myth that CBT does not consider the past or that the past is not important. Like you said, the past is very important to understand information that is unclear. Although, I do think that it is very beneficial that CBT does focus on the future because it can help a client move away from being past-focused and helps the client learn new skills to use moving forward. I agree with you and also believe that these CBT myths can continue because of those who are biased and pass that information along. Great job!

      Reply

    • Taylor O'Rourke
      Apr 11, 2020 @ 15:35:34

      Hi Ashley!

      You bring up a really good point that people think CBT does not focus at all on the past. It seems that people think in extremes one way or another; that psychoanalysis is all past-related and CBT is all present-related. Although CBT does focus on the “now” and tackles current situations or things causing distress, looking at the past can be useful at times too. Looking at how core beliefs may have began forming in childhood or adolescence, for example, can be very indicative of how they can begin to be modified in adulthood with the held of a therapist. It is important, though, for clients to not get stuck in the past and learn skills to help them cope with what is distressing them currently, and what may in the future.

      Reply

    • Renee Gaumond
      Apr 14, 2020 @ 07:28:01

      Hi Ashley,
      I like how you mentioned that dipping into the past allows the clinicians to understand the links of behaviors which helps to create an accurate and helpful intervention. Understanding past events of the client enables the clinician to find appropriate interventions and treatment plans. It helps to know the specifics in order to target the specifics. Treatment plans are best when they are concrete and relevant to the client.

      Reply

    • Mariah Fraser
      Apr 14, 2020 @ 21:35:20

      Hi Ashley!

      I would agree that people likely have these misconceptions about CBT because it’s growing to be so popular and it is still fairly new. CBT isn’t as short and sweet as it may seem, as you said there are so many moving parts to doing therapy! This particular theoretical orientation is very complex, and those who want to be quality CBT therapists must understand the ins and outs of CBT. I would agree that lack of training or education may be what fuels inaccurate assumptions about CBT in the mental health field.

      Reply

    • Renee Gaumond
      Apr 20, 2020 @ 13:10:58

      Hi Ashley,
      I liked when you mentioned people who aren’t trained properly or don’t fully grasp CBT methods. This can perpetuate the myths because if therapists aren’t implementing the therapy properly, then the public and their clients become exposed to the wrong techniques and assume that those techniques are what CBT is.

      Reply

  3. Monica K Teeven
    Apr 09, 2020 @ 13:44:52

    1. The most common CBT myth that I have heard from people is that CBT is or can be adversarial. At first glance, I can understand why people who are not in the profession may think this to be true because some clients do not like hearing the truth when a therapist tells them they are functioning in a maladaptive way. However, professionals should understand from their training and education that informing a client that their way of thinking, behaviors, or emotions are maladaptive in functioning is important for the client to be able to be successful in treatment. If a therapist does not discuss the client’s maladaptive behaviors, emotions, or way of thinking, the therapist is not really treating the client for their current issues, but rather treat the symptoms the individual is currently experiencing. They do this in order to make the client feel better, but without treating them for what caused the symptoms, the therapist is pretty much putting a band aid on the client’s problem. Would a licensed physician just give someone pain killers for a broken leg to relieve the pain, but not fix the broken leg? CBT therapists do not want to just relieve the symptoms their client is experiencing they also want to treat what caused the symptoms in the first place too.

    2. I think these myths continue to exist because people who are not in the profession do not know how much empirical evidence supports CBT treatments. If people were taught how beneficial CBT is in treating different kinds of mental health disorders and in what time frame, I think people would begin to look more thoroughly of what CBT is and see the reasoning behind why CBT therapists do the things they do with clients.

    Reply

    • Ashley Foster
      Apr 09, 2020 @ 20:18:06

      Hi Monica! I agree that therapist should be talking to their patients About their maladaptive behaviors is it in foster insight in the treatment sessions. I also like how you compared with CBT therapist are doing to a medical doctor giving medication for a broken leg. I think this gives a real life example and a better understanding of what we should be doing with in treatment with our clients. The hope is to change our clients maladaptive behaviors and decrease distress through the clients own insight. This is in hopes getting the client to become more autonomous and help the client in what got them into therapy initially. Great job with the post!

      Reply

    • Jess Costello
      Apr 09, 2020 @ 20:19:52

      Hey Monica! I agree with your point that the therapist has to treat the underlying issues, thinking patterns, beliefs, etc. that are contributing to the client’s symptoms. To someone not familiar with CBT, the challenging and questioning can seem pretty adversarial. Painkillers for a broken leg was a really good comparison too.

      I agree that many people outside of our field don’t know what CBT is or how well supported it is. I think it’s our job to advocate for going through the deeper mental work CBT offers and not just looking for superficial solutions.

      Reply

    • Erin Wilbur
      Apr 13, 2020 @ 19:16:23

      Hi Monica!
      You make a really good point about people not always being educated on the research and evidence that supports CBT. If the empirical support of CBT was more broadly known, maybe these myths wouldn’t be as prominent as they still are sometimes.

      Reply

  4. Melanie Sergel
    Apr 10, 2020 @ 14:15:08

    (1) One CBT myth I have heard from other people/professionals is that it excludes emotions or does not focus on them. My thoughts when I hear this comment is that those who say this either have not learned about CBT or only know the basics of CBT. I can understand why others would say this if they only know the basics because then they think it only focuses on thoughts and beliefs. On the other hand, when professionals say this and do know the basics then I wonder how they believe this when CBT focuses on how thoughts, emotions, and behaviors impact each other. Those who have learned about CBT correctly and in depth know that to identify core beliefs and negative automatic thoughts you need to elicit strong emotions.

    (2) I think some of these myths continue to exist because those who are professionals who have learned or have been trained in another theoretical orientation will stick with that one and be against others. I also think that some professionals believe information about CBT that they have heard that is not true and will tell others in the field, which then continues to pass on the myths. For those who are not professionals, just do not know the full extent of CBT and only minor things they have heard from biased professionals and will believe it.

    Reply

    • Robert Salvucci
      Apr 10, 2020 @ 19:18:36

      Hey Melanie

      It does seem silly to hear that CBT ignores emotion when the cognitive triad of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors is a central philosophy in CBT. The approach also uses emotions to elicit thoughts, as you mentioned. I think that in order for a realization to be useful therapeutically, it needs to occur on both an intellectual and emotional level. It’s also important to note that you can’t change emotions directly, you need to change thoughts or behaviors in order to change emotion.

      I agree that therapists unfortunately get over identified with certain theoretical approaches and antagonistic towards others, as people tend to do with any line of work or philosophy (Our program doesn’t seem to like psychoanalysis very much XD). Although it is more understandable to be skeptical with approaches that have sufficient evidence to be considered ineffective at doing what they report to do, I think the field could benefit from keeping a more open perspective into the nuance of science on certain elements of different approaches and theories. This is especially true of novel approaches that have not been adequately tested yet; clinging to a certain approach can stifle rational discussion and innovation. And as you mentioned, there will always be myths repeated about CBT or really any branch of science by individuals who are not familiar with the literature.

      Reply

  5. Jenna Nikolopoulos
    Apr 10, 2020 @ 15:41:42

    1. One common CBT myth I have heard is that CBT is quick to learn and easy to practice. This comment surprises me. Even though the most basic premise of CBT is one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all connected and influence each other and it’s easy to understand that how one feels impacts how one thinks and behaves, but CBT is much more than that. One can’t just read a book about CBT and then easily implement the techniques into practice. CBT therapists are extensively trained in these techniques and continuously practice them before being able to say that they have mastered it. It’s not easy to identify and modify negative automatic thoughts or core beliefs or finding the best intervention for your client. CBT therapists can try many different interventions with their clients before finding one that is most effective because not every intervention works for every client, which is where being innovative and flexible comes into play. A lot of learning and practicing goes into CBT before being able to practice it in an effective manner.

    2. I think some of these myths continue to exist because there are still a lot of people who don’t understand what therapy is all about and its purpose. There are a lot of shows or movies out there that will depict therapy in a certain way that may support stereotypes, which can give people a false impression of how therapy works. I also think a lot of people who aren’t educated about the different therapeutic practices will perpetuate these myths because they may have heard them and just believe them to be true without doing any further research. I believe if people were to actually research CBT to see what it entails, they would see the empirical evidence that supports CBT treatments and learn of its benefits, along with realizing that the information they thought they knew about CBT were in fact myths.

    Reply

    • Robert Salvucci
      Apr 10, 2020 @ 19:28:19

      Hey Jenna

      You’re correct in pointing out how flexibility is actually a requirement in being an effective CBT based clinician. Interestingly, I think the manualized nature of CBT leads some to believe it is both inflexible and simple/easy to learn. It’s almost less esoteric than some other approaches. The basic premise of thoughts, behaviors, and emotions influencing one another may seem seem simple, but applying the techniques effectively takes extensive training and practice.

      Popular culture definitely plays a role in perpetuatuing a lot of misinformation. I think differentiating between treatment approaches can also be difficult, especially for those without extensive reading or training in psychology.

      Reply

    • Shelby Piekarczyk
      Apr 13, 2020 @ 16:34:51

      Hi Jenna,

      I agree completely with your comment on how CBT is not an easy practice to learn. Every CBT therapist goes through an extensive amount of training learning the variety of skills within CBT. Because of this it helps them to be flexible and able to find the correct form of therapy for their client. CBT takes years of schooling and practice to fully learn and understand what it entails. I also agree with your comment that someone cannot just open a book and read about CBT and be an effective CBT therapist.

      Additionally, I agree that the CBT myths are still around because people still do not fully understand the scope of therapy. Great job!

      Reply

    • Mariah Fraser
      Apr 14, 2020 @ 21:34:53

      Hi Jenna!

      I made some similar points in my post about the misconception that CBT is quick to learn and easy to practice. CBT is extremely flexible and malleable to the needs of each individual client, and therefore it requires a lot of practice and experience. I liked the point you made about the inaccurate portrayal of therapy within the media, such as movies and TV shows. This is definitely a source of false information for those who don’t know much about therapy in general. As you said, if people took the time to do some research and gather information about what CBT truly entails, they would recognize that there is so much more to CBT than what meets the eye.

      Reply

  6. Robert Salvucci
    Apr 10, 2020 @ 18:58:03

    1. One criticism I’ve heard about CBT is that it is too rigid/uncreative and inflexible.

    I believe that this stems from a focus on the treatment approaches used in CBT (behavioral activation, automatic thought records) being redundant or overly manualized. CBT does have a more structured approach than more humanistic, eclectic, or psychodynamic approaches. I can see how one might believe that CBT limits the scope of approaches a mental health professional might use. One of the strengths of CBT is that the common techniques used are more able to be tested empirically than more eclectic therapies or approaches that have less homework and rely more on things like transference and purely the generation of insight. For some therapists, the overreliance on these techniques can feel limiting. There is also some debate around what exactly constitutes “CBT” and when other theoretical approaches are overlapping. Some modern psychodynamic and humanistic approaches may incorporate behavioral techniques or challenging thoughts into them. I recall having a conversation with Dr. Doerfler in which he noted that therapy isn’t CBT unless you are approaching the treatment through the lens of modifying automatic thoughts and beliefs, strengthening realistic thinking, and focusing on specific behavior change. I think this is a fair analysis, as some approaches may be thought of as primarily psychodynamic or humanistic with “sprinkles” of CBT. There is also a resurgence of humanistic thinking within the positive psychology and mindfulness literature, which CBT seems to be incorporating under its belt as “Third Wave”. I find this interesting, as DBT, ACT, Strength based approaches etc.. do use certain CBT philosophy, but they certainly differ in some crucial ways. I think the best approach is to acknowledge that different approaches are effective for different people, and draw on empirical evidence as much as possible. There will always be the issue that scientific studies on therapy are difficult to operationalize, and the reported effect sizes and p values are based on average group changes and do not highlight benefits that may be felt by a few individuals. CBT seems to have the most empirical support as an approach, and it’s important to follow evidence based practices as much as possible, but I also think it’s important to find what works best for each client, in so far as we are professionally competent to do so. The claim that CBT is “rigid” might have some merit to it, but it has no more merit than claiming other approaches are too “rigid”. CBT has a lot of room for individualized treatment, and draws on a wide variety of techniques, probably more than many other traditions.

    2. I suppose I answered a lot of this question in my question 1 ramble XD

    A fair amount of this rigidity criticism comes from a lack of nuanced understanding and training in CBT. At first glance, one might see how manualized CBT is and interpret that as a form of rigidity. CBT utilizes a lot of structure, planned techniques, and broad protocol. This is “rigid” in the sense that it provides a general outline of evidence-based practices, which mostly provides failsafes against therapy that is not structured and very free flowing. I think of some of the “rigidity” in this sense as more of a streamlining and guidance system of therapy into an outline that has been shown convincingly to work. Therapists trained in other disciplines may certainly see this approach as limiting. I myself am also not educated enough to quite understand what room CBT makes for more novel evidence-based approaches to therapy, however it seems like many novel approaches are being grouped as a new style of CBT. CBT seems to have plenty of room for flexibility, an unskilled therapist might have an easier time being rigid with CBT than, say, a humanistic approach, given it’s manualized nature. However, it seems like a thorough understand of the nature of CBT leaves plenty of room for flexibility and testing new techniques.

    Reply

  7. Taylor O'Rourke
    Apr 11, 2020 @ 14:53:55

    1. Identify at least one common CBT myth you have heard from other people/professionals. What are your thoughts when you hear such comments?

    One common CBT myth I have heard of from other people is that the therapist-client relationship in CBT has very little value and is not as important as the therapeutic relationship in psychodynamic therapies. Empathy, genuineness, and unconditional positive regard are just as important in CBT’s therapeutic relationship. Although they are not sufficient for clients’ long-term change, they still help build the relationship that is indeed necessary to maintain the skills that foster long-term change. For me, it is frustrating to hear these comments because it is far from the truth. Although CBT therapists are not having their clients lay down on couches for long periods of time, the therapeutic relationship is still important and is a good indicator of successful treatment.

    2. Why do you think some of these myths continue to exist?

    I think that some of these myths continue to exist because the public continues to compare everything about therapy to what they see in the media. The media shows all therapy as being very psychoanalytic in nature. The client sees their therapist for many years, lays on a couch with their therapist out of view, and talks about their childhood traumas. Because CBT differs so much from this, I believe that when people begin to learn what CBT is, they think it is very rigid and does not get at people’s deeper problems like psychoanalysis is depicted to. CBT therapists should do everything they can to address these myths when they hear them to reduce ignorance and increase clients’ quality of care. Agencies should always be based on science and fact, not false assumptions and anecdotes from others.

    Reply

    • Shelby Piekarczyk
      Apr 13, 2020 @ 16:30:14

      Hi Taylor,

      I agree with your comment that one CBT myth that I have heard is that the therapeutic relationship has little value within CBT. However, as we have learned throughout our classes at Assumption, the therapeutic relationship is a key component in effective CBT. Within the therapeutic relationship the clients would not trust you and therefore not participate in therapy or homework assignments that have been given to them.

      Also, I think you bring up a great point that the media (e.g. movies) depict therapy as laying on a couch and the therapist doing all of the work for the client. Because of this when someone hears about CBT they think that we do not care for our clients and that it is ‘harsh’ because the client is expected to participate in therapy sessions. I agree that this depiction should be challenged because it is not at all accurate. Great job!

      Reply

    • Jenna Nikolopoulos
      Apr 14, 2020 @ 14:12:37

      Hi Taylor! I totally agree with what you said about the therapist-client relationship having very little value in CBT. In all of our classes it is emphasized how having a strong therapeutic relationship with your client is so important for them to succeed in therapy. Without a solid foundation of trust, it will be hard for the client to feel comfortable enough to disclose personal information about themselves. If the client can’t trust their own therapist, or don’t even like the therapist, the client will not be inclined to do the homework or make an effort to engage in the techniques that will help them get better overtime.

      I also agree with your thoughts on why these myths continue to exist. The media represents therapy in a very psychoanalytic way when not all forms of therapy are like this. I think people really need to educate themselves on what CBT really is in order to see that these myths are not true and to fully understand what CBT is all about.

      Reply

  8. Renee Gaumond
    Apr 13, 2020 @ 16:24:48

    (1) Identify at least one common CBT myth you have heard from other people/professionals. What are your thoughts when you hear such comments?
    One common CBT myth that I’ve heard is that CBT doesn’t consider the past important. CBT does focus on present events, but if there’s a significant past event that is causing distress, that event gets explored. In my opinion, it’d be reckless to try to treat specific clients without exploring certain past events, especially if the client experiences PTSD. It’s also important to explore the origins of core beliefs to be able to cater treatment towards the specific distress.
    (2) Why do you think some of these myths continue to exist?
    I think the myths continue to exist because people see CBT at face value as a therapy that only addresses a single behavior. It’s also easier to accept a rumor than to do the research to see if it is just a rumor. I think a lot of it has to do with mental health stigma as well. The stigma against mental health in general might encourage people to accept the myths without looking into them because they already assume negatively about it making the myths easier to believe. Also, I believe that some clinicians in the field that practice other forms of therapy perpetuate a bias their therapy is the best and/or only way to do therapy. Thus, giving them more reason to believe the myths without further research on CBT.

    Reply

    • Madison Armstrong
      Apr 18, 2020 @ 17:31:53

      Hi Renee,
      I have not heard this myth outside of class, but I do agree with you that if there are significant events from the clients past, it is important to explore them as a CBT therapist. I think that this myth gains attention because in CBT, there is an emphasis on the clients current distress and what is going on presently with the client. This is not to say that the past is not important but in CBT, we want to focus on modifying the clients current state of distress and the cognitions that are contributing to this. However, like you said, the past becomes important when treating PTSD and core belief development.

      Reply

  9. Shelby Piekarczyk
    Apr 13, 2020 @ 16:26:33

    1. One common CBT myth that I have heard is therapy is ‘harsh’ and the therapist does not care to form a therapeutic relationship with their client. To a certain extent I can see how an individual would think this way if they have not fully learned about CBT. However, CBT therapists work with their clients and collaborate with them, having them take responsibility within therapy sessions. Someone who has not studied CBT may view this as ‘harsh’ and not fully understand the true therapeutic benefits of the client being involved in the therapy sessions. CBT has a large importance on the therapeutic relationship and the collaboration between the therapist and client. Within CBT if you do not form a positive therapeutic relationship with your client then therapy will not continue in a positive direction and ultimately could be terminated. A therapeutic relationship is a key component in effective CBT therapy.

    2. I believe that these CBT myths still exist for a few reasons. First, is that many individuals do not have proper training in CBT, which in turn develops false assumptions about the practice. To be an effective CBT therapist you must go through a great deal of training and have a deep understanding of the CBT skills. For an individual that does not fully know CBT they will create invalid information, spreading these false assumptions. Second, professionals who have been taught in other theories will feel strongly about their approach and think less about other theories, such as CBT. Because of this their opinions circle through the profession and misunderstandings about CBT continue to spread.

    Reply

    • Erin Wilbur
      Apr 13, 2020 @ 19:26:04

      Hi Shelby!
      I agree that I’ve also heard a myth about the therapeutic relationships in CBT, except the ones I hear about are that we don’t bother to form rapport with our clients because we don’t need to have it to provide advice. Recognizing that a good therapeutic alliance is a key component in CBT would help to dispel these myths about how we interact with our clients.

      Reply

  10. Erin Wilbur
    Apr 13, 2020 @ 17:41:06

    1. A common myth I’ve heard regarding CBT is that it’s not a “serious” therapy, and only focuses on positive emotions. My thoughts when I’ve heard this from people is that it’s misinformed and insulting to the therapists who study this form of therapy. The point of cognitive-behavioral therapy is to focus on more adaptive thoughts, not just positive ones. Stating that all CBT does is help people “think happy thoughts” reduces this evidence-based practice to something simple and diminishes the hard work of those who study it.
    2. I think myths like this continue to exist because people don’t understand CBT. Many people have misconceptions about therapy, and think that it should be like psychoanalysis or “talk therapy”. Many people think that therapy entails the client telling the therapist their problems, and the therapist providing advice to solve it. These newer forms of therapy that focus on modifying thoughts rather than just discussing client’s feelings are different and hard to understand. I also think that older professionals in the field who have been trained in other types of therapy are biased to continue with what they know, and don’t want to branch out to learn about other techniques or forms of therapy.

    Reply

    • Jenna Nikolopoulos
      Apr 14, 2020 @ 14:32:20

      Hi Erin! I completely agree with your thoughts on how some people believe that CBT only focuses on positive emotions. As we learned in class, like you said, the point is to change maladaptive thoughts to more adaptive thoughts in order to positively affect functioning. Those adaptive thoughts are what cause people’s emotions to be more positive as they have realized how those adaptive thoughts have changed their behaviors for the better. Additionally, there are times where someone has a valid negative automatic thought. If a negative thought is valid, it’s the therapist’s job to help the client accept that thought by helping them learn how to cope with the validity of that thought instead of trying to replace it with something that’s more positive in order to make them feel better.

      Reply

    • Madison Armstrong
      Apr 18, 2020 @ 17:42:17

      Hi Erin,

      This myth really confuses me as to how someone could think about CBT in this way. As we have learned in class, an important aspect of CBT is modifying negative automatic thoughts and core beliefs and changing them into more adaptive ones. Adaptive automatic thoughts and core beliefs do not have to be positive, but they are should to be realistic. If we can make these thoughts and beliefs more positive, I do not see anything wrong with that as long as they are realistic. Sometimes a negative automatic thought will be valid and may have some negativity to it. In CBT, it would be the therapist’s role to help the client accept and learn to cope with that thought.

      Reply

  11. Mariah Fraser
    Apr 14, 2020 @ 21:25:54

    1. I’ve heard people discuss the myth that CBT is a fancy approach to positive thinking. This comes as a bit of a surprise in a sense because for anyone who knows anything at all about CBT, they would understand that positive thinking is not the goal in any capacity. Something like that would suggest that at the snap of the fingers, we identify the negative words and emotions and replace them with the polar opposites. It’s a bit interesting to hear because those people lack an understanding of the challenging work that goes into the use of the mechanisms of CBT. There is so much more to modifying thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and replacing them with adaptive patterns than a simple “think positively” solution. There is the misconception that the technique used in CBT is to change “I’m really stupid” to “I’m really smart”, because neither are likely to be completely valid and neither provide any benefit to the person having those thoughts. Being realistic is the best way to approach the source of distress. And encouraging positive thinking really does a disservice to the client because there are times when negative thoughts are valid because the situation the person has found herself in, is not a positive one. Therefore, instead of flipping the coin to say ‘just be positive’, in cases such as these CBT is about helping that person identify strengths and find ways to adaptively cope.

    2. Myths such as this one continue to exist definitely as a result of lack of knowledge. But additionally, therapists from other theoretical orientations who feel as though maybe they aren’t as effective in their treatments may repeat this inaccurate information to colleagues or clients as a way to disprove the effectiveness of CBT to make themselves feel more confident. Behavior such as this (repeating false information for your own personal gain) is not uncommon, even among working professionals. Additionally, repeating false information may discredit CBT by implying that positive thinking doesn’t require very many skills, which further creates false assumptions that CBT is easy to do.

    Reply

    • Tim Keir
      Apr 19, 2020 @ 12:54:54

      Hey Mariah!

      I too have heard the positive thinking myth. Oddly enough, I hear this one from people who have at least some familiarity with CBT but are in some way unhappy with it. Perhaps a misunderstanding of the goals effects the client’s ability to fully engage with treatment in some way? Or perhaps a lack of results leads to a defensive response to CBT, a purposeful misunderstanding to minimize personal failure. Either way, further education on the actual goals and an increase in positive rapport with the client can hopefully change their tune.

      Reply

  12. Madison Armstrong
    Apr 15, 2020 @ 18:42:37

    (1) Identify at least one common CBT myth you have heard from other people/professionals. What are your thoughts when you hear such comments?

    One myth that I have heard from other people is that CBT only focuses on technique and does not value the therapeutic relationship. When I hear a comment like this, I often am surprised because one of the first things we have learned in graduate school is how important the therapeutic relationship is. Even if technique is emphasized in CBT, I do not think that is necessarily a negative thing because with technique comes skill and practice. However, technique alone would not matter if there was no relationship with the client so you can’t rely strictly upon the technique. Client’s would not be receptive to using these techniques if they did not feel empathy, genuineness and unconditional positive regard that come with building a therapeutic relationship.

    (2) Why do you think some of these myths continue to exist?

    I think that these myths continue to exist because a lot of people do not know much about cognitive behavioral therapy. If more people were able to learn about CBT and see the scientific evidence that supports it, I think they would also see the positives in using CBT with clients. I also think that there is a huge misconception about therapy in general that people group CBT under. Many people view therapy as just talking and having someone to let your feelings out to. If people were able to see these skills in practice, I think they may have a different perspective.

    Reply

    • Tim Keir
      Apr 19, 2020 @ 12:12:22

      Hi Madison!

      CBT certainly has a bias towards being robotic, fortunately we will be able to change such biases by creating therapeutic rapport in our own sessions. It certainly would be tricky to be able to apply these techniques without building a relationship with the client; if such rapport was unnecessary then we could likely complete therapy with an app!

      And certainly unfamiliarity with the actual practice of psychology allows this misinformation to persist. Having therapy be a more commonplace practice would be a great help in making these misconceptions disappear.

      Reply

  13. Tim Keir
    Apr 16, 2020 @ 21:44:06

    1. I have heard some people refer to the entirety of psychology as “fake”; the most recent example of this came bewilderingly enough from a person who had expressed interest in applying to school for counseling. There are a surprising number of people working in the field of psychology who bear ill will towards the counselors, seeing them as a source of authority that both do too much and not enough. I tend to feel personally insulted when such conversations arise, seeing as I intend to be a counselor soon. Yet I don’t let it bother me too much.
    A more interesting stereotype of CBT that I heard recently was the idea that CBT encourages you to think the opposite of your maladaptive thoughts. This seems to me a different strand of the ‘CBT is just overwhelming positive thinking’ stereotype, that I thought deserved some more light. The person in question seemed to stress that it didn’t matter what you were thinking, as it didn’t change what you BELIEVED in. I was not able to engage too much with this individual, but I was able to suggest to them that instead of trying simply to turn their thoughts into a full 180, they should explore more why they thought what they did and what they in fact wanted out of their thoughts. If the rationale behind the thoughts they have is irrational or faulty in some way, what sort of thoughts could be more accurate? I wasn’t able to get a response, but I enjoyed the conversation as a chance to discuss a preferred topic and to prove that I have in fact learned something these past few months. I do not get confronted with overt criticism of CBT on a regular basis, but it is a relief that I feel equipped ot have an honest discussion on the matter.

    2. Just as with any subject of decent complexity, there are going to be examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect in regards to CBT. That is, those with only the lightest understanding of CBT will claim to be experts and refute the whole subject for being useless or irrational. People on the internet will have a bad experience and then bad-mouth the entire profession, only for others to read the opinion and accept it as fact. So misinformation and bias spreads in the modern era. Beyond that, long-standing distrust of psychological services in general fuel the perpetuation of myths.

    Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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