The Application of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Within a Prison Setting

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The current prison and criminal justice system has not proven to be helpful in rehabilitating offenders and preventing recidivism. To successfully alter this situation it is important to understand what steps and measures are available to assist those who find themselves imprisoned. The techniques used in cognitive behavioral therapy have proven to be effective in treating depression, anxiety and drug addictions among other things. Analyzing the techniques developed in cognitive behavioral theory and applying them to psychotherapy in prison environments can assist in making improvements in the prevention of criminal activity, rates of incarceration and safety and security of the general population. The literature shows that the use of …show more content…
With a basic understanding of the key concepts of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, an association to its use within a prison setting is logical given the nature of the irrationality of committing crimes.
Gender differences in CBT
It is important to analyze the differences between men and women in terms of treatment approaches and types of offenses. As seen in most psychotherapy theories, men primarily develop the techniques with little insight from a female perspective, this factor carries over to the use of cognitive behavioral therapy and is seen in the prison setting. The orientation of therapeutic programs within a prison are directed more toward men with little adaptations to differences and needs seen in women offenders (Sacks, McKendrick & Hamilton, 2012). This presents as an issue primarily because men and women are often associated with different crimes and different mental disorders. It would makes sense then to tailor therapeutic techniques to the clients gender and offenses.
Interestingly, in a study completed by Spiropoulos, Spruance, Voorhis & Schmitt (2005), “gender responsive” applications of cognitive behavioral therapy were applied to men and women in community and prison settings. In developing the CBT for women, the researchers considered factors such…