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Category: Judith S. Beck

Homework

I often tell therapists and patients that the way people get better is to make small changes in their thinking and behavior every day. That's why it's important for patients to do homework - just talking to a therapist for an hour a week is unlikely to be of much help to most people with psychiatric disorders. Homework frequently involves having patients change their distorted thinking so they see reality…
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Setting the Agenda in session

A frequent question I'm asked by clinicians who are not cognitive therapists is why we set agendas toward the beginning of sessions with patients. They often think that doing so will result in their missing out on important information. I tell them that we've found the opposite to be generally true. We ask patients, "What problems do you want my help in solving today?" and guide them into naming the…
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Recalling Recent Experiences in Session

I do many things at the beginning of therapy sessions, one of which is to ask patients about their experiences since I last saw them. Depressed patients routinely report only negative incidents. I then ask them what positive things happened, or what was going on during the better parts of their week. One reason I do this is to collect data that may be contrary to their globally negative thinking.…
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Judith S. Beck Writes In: Self Disclosure in Cognitive Therapy

I've recently been thinking about Self Disclosure in CT. In traditional psychoanalysis, analysts deliberately refrain from revealing anything about themselves. There is no such prohibition in Cognitive Therapy and I find that I do a lot of self-disclosure to patients whom I think will benefit from it. For patients with perfectionistic standards, I might reveal the standard I apply to myself and have taught my children: To try to do…
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Judith S. Beck Writes In: More on CT for New Year’s Resolutions

I enjoyed being interviewed for an NPR radio story on the Cognitive Therapy approach to New Year's resolutions. When I've been interviewed for radio shows in the past, I've almost always talked to the interviewer by phone from my office. But this time the reporter, Joanne Silberner, asked me to go to the local NPR affiliate (WHYY) in Philadelphia, so I got to wear headphones and speak into a big…
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