History And Uses Of Cognitive Behavior Therapy

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History and Uses Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) grew out of dissatisfaction of certain therapists with traditional psychoanalysis. Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis were both instrumental in the development of this approach to psychotherapy (Van Bilsen, p. 7), though Beck, a psychoanalyst, is primarily credited with its development. Beck did research on depression, in the 1950’s, which was intended to give evidence in support of the theory that retroflected hostility was at the root of depression, but the research failed to confirm his hypothesis. As a result, he expanded his research on depression and came to the realization that depressed subjects held predictably negative thoughts about themselves, the future and the world around…show more content…
Beck, p. 3) Later in the book, he quotes the Stoic emperor, Marcus Aurelius as saying, “If thou are pained by any external thing, it is not the thing that disturbs thee, but thine own judgement about it. And it is in thy power to wipe out this judgement now” (Marcus Aurelius, quoted in A.T. Beck, p. 263) In general, the Stoic philosophers believed that we should recognize the difference between things we have power over and things that we have no power over. They taught that people are best served when they put their energy into dealing with the things that lie within their control. This idea is succinctly illustrated in the Serenity Prayer, used in numerous support groups. (Robertson, p. 20) One could say that Beck’s chief accomplishment was to take truths that had been known for centuries and apply them in a way that was therapeutic. Although Ellis, Beck (and a few others) get a great deal of credit for the creation of CBT, they freely admit to being influenced, not only by the ancient philosophers, but also by earlier practitioners of the burgeoning art of psychotherapy. For example, referring to Paul Dubois’ work around the turn of the century, Ellenberger said “Dubois told of his method of treating phobias. Emotions, he said, always follow ideas, so the treatment should go to the root, namely, the erroneous idea the patient has allowed to creep into his mind” (Ellenberger,
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