Cognitive Therapy

Essay by JanChaffinsCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 2003

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Cognitive therapy operates on the belief that the way you think affects the way you feel and behave. If a therapist challenges a client's irrational thoughts and replaces them with rational ways of thinking, the client will feel better and behave in ways that promote healthy living. In order to change unhealthy ways of thinking to healthier ones, the client must first recognize unhealthy thoughts. Homework therapy is a form of cognitive therapy.

The most important, positive changes that a client can make in his/her life will occur in their everyday experiences outside of the therapist's office. In order to help the client make these "real life" changes, the therapist will help them to design homework assignments. These assignments will show them how to take the ideas and skills they have learned in session, and apply them constructively and actively between sessions. This process will help them learn valuable skills, and will enable them to become their own therapist once their work with the cognitive therapist is complete (cognitive therapynyc).

There are many types of homework assignments. Some simply involve the client adding to their knowledge about the issues that are most important to them, for example, by reading an assigned article or book. Sometimes, the homework involves improving the client's memory about the ideas that were discussed in session by referring back to notes, or by listening to an audiotape of their own therapy session. Other assignments include learning how to observe and measure their own thoughts, feelings, and actions. This is a skill called "objective self -monitoring." It helps the client become more aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, without being judgmental against them. Another form of homework assignments asks the client to use structured forms to solve problems in an organized way. Filling out therapy homework...