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Cognitive behavioral therapy to me has always been a lot like playing the devil’s advocate to me. CBT resonated with me a lot when I was in grad school. Cognitive distortions, putting our thoughts on trial, reframing, and redirecting our negative core beliefs, all of it was so helpful to me at the time. I believe as therapists we all use CBT and REBT without really thinking about it. How can we not? We help clients when we challenge their core beliefs and irrational thoughts. The part of CBT that is difficult for me is the lack of relationship it offers at times. Again, this has been my experience with this theory. I liked the video this week and wrote several notes down. Beck’s cognitive behavioral therapy emphasizes how dysfunctional thinking affects our behaviors and feelings (Tan, 2011). Using this theory helps clients overcome depression, anxiety, and also anger by teaching them how to challenge and shift any errors in their thinking (Tan, 2011). CBT came in several waves and seemed to get better and better in my opinion. REBT is more of a directive and active approach to helping clients work through their irrational beliefs which Ellis believes is the root of all emotional problems (Tan, 2011). Cognitive processing is something I do with clients who tend to be more logical than emotional. I have seen where CBT approaches can seem invalidating to someone who is hurting and could be in need of just being heard. In my experience, CBT is not helpful to everyone however it does have interventions that are helpful for most people. Listening to the session in our video was hard for me, I felt like the therapist was helpful, yet she kept cutting off the client to redirect her. I did learn from the “shoulding” part and how to reframe that with a client in what the video referred to it as disputing the single mother client’s irrational beliefs. When the therapist described what she was doing in reference to REBT, one thing that stuck out to me was “relevant stuff comes out” when we let the client process the current issues, the relevant past stuff will come up on its own. As a counselor, that seemed to speak to me in that it seems to relieve some pressure to focus on the past or to feel pressure to process the root right away. The therapist using REBT seemed to focus on the facts versus the emotions which was obvious and helped the client change her thinking as she processed what she felt about the situation, in this session, was some things her kids said to her that hurt her feelings after all she has done for them as a single mom. The therapist helped the client find a different way to respond. I tend to do the same with the clients. There is a difference between reacting and responding. Working with clients who are Christian, discussing thoughts and taking those thoughts captive has been easier than with clients who are not Christian. A main bible verse “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ”, speaks about our thoughts and the importance of reframing those thoughts. The bible says a lot about thoughts, protecting ourselves with the armor, but it also says a lot about emotions. Jesus believed in the processing of our emotions and not avoiding them. I used to think when someone says “take your thoughts captive” it seemed invalidating but when you combine both the captive thoughts AND processing emotions, healing truly can happen. This reminds me of cognitive processing therapy and how we kind of use both. I work with a lot of clients that have lost a loved one to homicide. Grief can sometimes bring PTSD especially traumatic loss. This therapy is helpful with some clients, again it’s not always a one size fits all. One thing the video said that resonated with me was we start by looking at the way clients have made sense of their traumatic memory and we are there to help them develop a story they can live with versus being stuck. The client ultimately is the expert on themselves, and we are there simply helping guide them towards being their own therapist in a sense. Treatment begins with psychoeducation regarding PTSD, thoughts, and emotions. The patient becomes more aware of the relationship between thoughts and emotions and begins to identify thoughts and behaviors contributing to their PTSD before processing their trauma in session (APA, 2017). Watching the videos and reading about things have shown me that there is a way to use CBT and validate someone’s feelings around their trauma. I help clients reach a new perspective in their grief every day, but sometimes when a client is stuck, we have to join them, and we should always meet clients where they are just like Jesus does for us. He doesn’t force himself on us, he meets us and loves as we are while transforming us through the power of relationship.

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