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Unread August 29th, 2005, 09:32 AM
JustBen JustBen is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 58
Default Re: Inexperienced Therapists

Originally Posted by josh Adams
The other point I wanted to make is related to the language that CBT uses. I also think that this has contributed to the problem.
I know where you're coming from on this, Josh, and I can tell you that it's not just a problem for clients. Novice therapists, too, can be initially mislead by words like "disputation", "rational", and "dogmatic" -- all of which have different meanings in the world of CT than they have in other contexts. (Some schools of therapy use words like "cathexis" and "reaction formation" which have virtually no meaning at all outside the psychological world. It simplifies things, but it doesn't, if you know what I mean.)

I've noticed this as a bigger problem in REBT (i.e. the "Ellis" brand of CBT) than it is in CT (i.e. the "Beck" brand). I suspect that CT's greater emphasis on collaborative empiricism helps the client understand that what is being "disputed" (actually "addressed" might be a better term here) is the faulty belief, not the person of the client. In REBT, on the other hand, there is often much more direct disputation where the therapist confronts the client with the "irrationality" of his or her thoughts. (REBT doesn't require this kind of approach, necessarily, but it seems like a lot of REBTer's are big fans of Ellis and try to emulate his direct style.)

I don't think the solution lies in changing the words. The only two choices are using a word that already exists or making up a completely new word. If we used a word that already exists, then we're back on the same pony ride -- confused meanings, etc. If we simply make up a word, then we run the risk of alienating people with what will almost certainly be perceived as "psychobabble". Like your other critique, I think the answer is in better training. I don't think any improvement in standards is going to come from the top down -- there are already many training programs and organizations in place and leaders of the field don't really have any leverage to pressure inexperienced therapists into doing the right thing. I think those leaders would do well to educate clients about good therapy. Clients are usually customers, after all, and they have the ultimate form of leverage: the pocketbook (or HMO card, as the case may be). When clients ask therapists tough questions about training, supervision, etc., I think you'll see therapists scrambling to be able to provide the right answers.
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