Contrast and Compare Cbt and Existential Therapy Essay

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Contrast and compare CBT and Existential therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy or CBT is representative of the integration of behavioural therapy and cognitive therapy. It encourages the empowerment of an individual to be able to change how they think (cognitive) and how awareness of particular problematic patterns may impact upon our consequent responses (behaviour) (R ch7). Pivotal to our understanding of such mental health problems from a CBT perspective is Beck’s ‘Cognitive theory of emotion’. It purposes that events and situations are not responsible for emotional responses. Instead it is the ‘meanings’ we attach which reflect the complex interaction between an individual’s history, mood and the context of experience. These
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Existentialist ideas are brought into the therapeutic process as hermeneutics; the methods of interpretation of personal meanings which enable the therapist to better understand the client’s issues in living.R By working through a multiple of universal aspects of what it is to be human a client is helped to seek new ways of living.

In terms of sadness and depression, comparisons and contrasts can be made between CBT and existential therapy. Heidegger and Boss understood sadness or depression as a mood invoked by feelings of being closed off from an aspect of our freedom. They suggest that depression is a consequence of this restricted way of thinking and not the result of inner psychological conflict. Contrastingly, through Beck’s pivotal cognitive theory of emotion, CBT considers sadness or depression to be a common negative emotional response or disorder associated with thoughts and mental images from the past brought about by a viscous cycle of negative patterns of interpretation and dysfunctional reactions which further compound a negative mood. It further suggests that feelings of sadness or even depression are associated with a perception that something has been lost, actually or conceptually.

Our experience of past, present and future are seen as key factors in mental distress by

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