Explication of the Real CBT

There have been a number of criticisms of CBT, which has resulted in it’s being delivered poorly or therapists being disillusioned by it. I have listed below some of the criticisms or observations and my responses to them.

  • CBT does not take into account the individual’s history and thus, fails to perceive the individual as a person.
    • Response: CBT is indeed person-centered (in the Rogerian sense) and draws on the history in providing a case formulation. This includes the individual’s positive assets and experiences.
  • CBT is not emotional.
    • Response: When done properly, CBT not only elicits the beliefs but also the emotions generated by the beliefs. Often times, particularly in borderline cases, the individual initially expresses painful emotions. These need to be validated and empathized with, and at a later time, when appropriate, the individual’s beliefs and constructions can be addresses.
  • CBT is totally technique oriented.
    • Response: It is important to review the individual’s values and goals. This is a more holistic approach. It involves treating the individual as a person rather than as a set of pathologies. The various techniques and strategies can be woven into the interpersonal relationship without being presented in a staccato fashion.