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Psychotherapy Treatment and Behavior Interventions Essay

Difference between thought-focused treatment and psychodynamic techniques

Thought-focused treatment and psychoanalytical methods are used to achieve similar goals in the treatment of psychological dysfunctions, but there exist differences in the two approaches. The first variability arises in the application. Thought-focused treatment relies heavily on mental comparisons. It can be applied as a stand-alone method, or it can be combined with other nonpractical approaches. Moreover, the complexity of the human thought process between different individuals makes this approach rigid. On the other hand, cognitive treatment approaches are potent and flexible, with a wide range of applications. Usually, the application of the thought-focused treatment comes with a range of benefits that act as its strengths. For instance, accessing our thoughts is a minor task for anyone (Seligman & Reichenberg, 2009). When we decide to contribute to a particular subject area, our mind’s recollection of the said subject allows us to demonstrate how much we know as well as to conduct a meaningful conversation with different people.

Moreover, it is of vital importance to note that therapists who prefer a thought-focused treatment approach spend time easier and less demanding than those who gain information about the patient’s feelings from the victims themselves. In addition, writing down one’s thoughts and conducting an analysis are easy tasks, but cognitions offer resistance to alterations and analysis. According to most therapists, the largest difference between the two methods exists in the speed at which one responds to positive gains in the first few stages of treatment. Thought-focused treatment offers faster reception, which is easily noticeable from how optimistic and motivated the patient becomes. These positive changes in the patient boost the treatment process. On the other hand, psychoanalytical psychotherapy takes up more time and hence slows down the treatment process. The delay results from the long period required in order to alter one’s behavior.

REBT Irrational beliefs

According to REBT, there are twelve irrational beliefs held by humans. They include the following (Beck et al., 2006).

  1. There is a notion that there is an utmost necessity for adults to be loved by significant others for all they do.
  2. Certain actions are classified as awful and iniquitous, so people who commit them are judge to be sentenced to eternal damnation
  3. There exists the idea that things are horrible when they do not meet our expectations
  4. The human misery is invariably externally caused and forced on us by outside people and events
  5. Whenever something seems dangerous and fearsome, we should react by being extremely upset and continuously obsessed about it
  6. There is a thought that it is easier to avoid than to face life challenges and responsibilities
  7. There is also a belief that we have to have something that is of greater strength than we have for us to rely on
  8. People believe our competence and intelligence should be unmatched and lead us to achieve success in all spheres of life
  9. All things that have previously affected us are supposed to forever exert a similar influence on us
  10. We should always maintain steady and faultless control over everything
  11. The idea is that ii is possible to achieve human happiness through inertia and inaction
  12. Our emotions are considered to be beyond our control, and we, therefore, cannot help but feel disturbed about various things.


The belief that human woes are due to external forces implies different people or events exert external pressure on our lives resulting in the human misery we later experience. For instance, people often get involved in fraudulent activities in search for quick ways to get rich. In the process, they lose the little they had and get into financial difficulties. It is common for such people to lay the blame on the federal government whereas they make the decision to engage on the fraudulent activity on their own.

Another belief states it is of vital importance for grownups to be loved by all the other people around them for the actions they take. For example, there are people who spend a larger part of their lives doing things to please others and win their approval rather than achieve self-fulfillment. Another unreasonable belief is the notion that all things are horrible simply because they did not turn out as per our expectations. A perfect illustration of such a situation would be a talented mechanic who is faced by a vehicle mechanical failure to which he cannot find a possible solution. Since he has to do that as stipulated by the job contract, he slides into a panic attack. The mechanic then begins to perceive everything in a pessimistic manner and believes his life is ruined due to his minor predicament.

Cognitive Distortions

One of the greatest contributors to the study of cognitive therapy as a treatment approach for depression and other mental problems was made by Aaron Beck. Cognitive distortions refer to the conviction in our minds that some things are true though they do not exist in reality. The misled thoughts result in negative thinking lowering our self-esteem. The first cognitive distortion advanced by Aaron Beck is filtering (Beck et al., 2006). It refers to how humans pinpoint the bad side of a situation and make it look significant.

The second distortion is polarized thinking. This refers to situation where people can only be categorized into two extremes of evaluating a situation. For instance, those who are not perfect are meant to fail; there exists no golden mean. The third is overgeneralization. Under this cognitive distortion, people simply arrive at a general conclusion immediately after the occurrence of one incidence. They feel that the single event is the first in a series of other incidences to follow. For example, a person who performs poorly in his first mathematical unit in campus may jump into the conclusion that he/she is extremely poor in all mathematical units and, therefore, cannot pursue them.

The fourth cognitive distortion advanced by Aaron is the expectation of the occurrence of a disaster. It refers to the use of statements on the occurrence of a situation simply because we have heard of it from someone else. For instance, after the Tsunami that hit the ocean bordering nations, all other countries surrounded by huge water bodies, such as sees, might begin to say, “What if it happens to us”. This statement depicts the anticipation of a disaster.

Another cognitive distortion is that of personalization. This refers to a situation in which a person believes he/she is to be blamed for anything that happens in any situation he/she is involved. It results in comparison of who is smarter or more gorgeous of the two parties involved. For instance, a teacher on duty in a school may choose to return home early since the students under his supervision seem calm and responsible. However, a few hours later, an incident arises in which students get into a fight and one is killed. The teacher may feel responsible for the student’s death because his/her early leave could have triggered the incident (Seligman & Reichenberg, 2009).

The sixth distortion is the fallacy of fairness. This occurs when we are faced by feelings of resentment because we feel other people are faulty since they do not necessarily agree with our definition of fairness. The seventh distortion is blaming in which people blame others or themselves for everything that happens. However, it is vital to note that no external party can influence one’s emotional control or reaction without one’s consent. Other distortions include emotional reasoning, fallacy of change, global labeling, always being right and heaven’s reward fallacy (Beck et al., 2006). Heaven’s reward instills the expectation that all the sacrifices of self-denial should be repaid in equal measure. Whenever our expectations are not met, bitterness engraves us. For instance, a person who spends a large part of his/her time doing voluntary jobs for an organization only hopes of securing employment to be sent away in the long run.


This refers to the approach taken in effecting a steady modification of one’s behavior. The effectiveness of the shaping process is dependent on the approximations of the targeted behavior and the strategies used to lead to a change in the behavioral pattern of the patient. For instance, Seligman and Reichenberg (2009) offer four steps that can be used in overcoming social anxiety and, therefore, improving their interactions with different people. The first step stipulates that a person should take the first five to ten minutes at any social function before trying to hold a conversation with anyone. Another five to ten minutes during which one should greet at least two individuals should follow. The third step is to take the next 15 minutes to make a formal introduction of oneself to a person and ask a question in his/her turn. The final step is to repeat the previous step and develop a conversational discourse.

Token economy

A token economy refers to a form of behavioral alteration that promotes desirable behavior and cuts down objectionable conduct by use of tokens. Tokens are awarded to encourage the display of the desirable behavior. During certain times within the treatment schedule, the tokens are collected and exchanged for a valuable object or dispensation. The application of the token economy is most effective in group settings, such as hospitals, schools or prisons where the conduct of one or more individuals may be belligerent and unpredictable (Seligman & Reichenberg, 2009). However, the overall goal of the token economy is to teach acceptable behavioral tendencies that can be used in one’s daily operations. However, this does not overrule the fact that token economies can be used individually.

For the token economy approach to be effective, there are certain requirements to be followed. The first of these is the token, which should be something that is physically attractive. Others include a precisely defined behavioral target, back-up rein forcers, a way of exchanging tokens and recording the data. Finally, there should be constant execution of the token economy by the staff.


Beck, A.T., Freeman, A., Davis, D.D. & Associates. (2006). Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders, (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Publications.

Seligman, L. W. & Reichenberg, L. W. (2009). Theories of counseling and psychotherapy: Systems, strategies, and skills. (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson.

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IvyPanda. "Psychotherapy Treatment and Behavior Interventions." July 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/psychotherapy-treatment-and-behavior-interventions/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Psychotherapy Treatment and Behavior Interventions." July 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/psychotherapy-treatment-and-behavior-interventions/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Psychotherapy Treatment and Behavior Interventions'. 17 July.

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