Cognitive, Cognitive Behavioral, and Reality Theory Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 6 August 2016

Cognitive, Cognitive Behavioral, and Reality Theory

There are many definitions of counseling, but most share the same idea: it is when one person helps another. To me counseling represents one word more than any other: Change. One person is unhappy with some area of their life and wants it to change while the other person helps to facilitate that change. Just as there are many definitions of counseling there are many types of counseling with different philosophies.

The foundation of cognitive therapy is that thoughts have the ability to influence individual’s feelings. One’s emotional reaction to a situation can be derived from their explanation of the situation. For instance, one experience the feelings of one heart racing and shortness of breath. If these physical symptoms occurred while one were lying peacefully in ones bed while watching television, the symptoms would more than be recognized to a medical condition, such as a heart attack, leading to fear and anxious emotions. In contrast, if these same physical symptoms occurred while running through the park on a beautiful afternoon, they would not be attributed to a medial ailment, and would likely no lead to fear or anxiety. Different interpretations of the same sensations can lead to entirely different emotions.

Congitive therapy suggests that a great deal of our emotions are due out thought process; the way that we perceive or interpret our environment. These thoughts sometimes have a way of being bias or even distorted. Within the scope of cognitive therapy individuals learn to distinguish between their thoughts and feelings. They are also made aware of the way in which their thoughts have and can influence feelings that are not necessarily to their benefit. Therapists also evaluate critically whether clients “automatic” thoughts and assumptions are accurate or biased. They also work to develop skills to notice, interrupt and correct these biased thoughts independently.

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) covers numerous therapeutic approaches and is widely used to treat various psychological issues. In general, CBT is short-term and focuses on assisting clients with very specific issues. The treatment process enables clients to identify and change negative or alarming thought patterns that are contributing to or causing destructive behavior. CBT has been studied extensively because the treatment is focused on an extremely specific goal and the outcome can be measured easily (Good).

Cognitive behavior therapy can be helpful in treating many mental disorders, but also can be used as a tool to help anyone who is dealing with the stress of everyday life. It is known that the root to most anger problems is stress and not understanding how to cope with stress. As many of life adolescents go through life the problems they are facing are getting bigger. So it is a need to learn techniques to manage these issues. Cognitive behavior therapy can assist with this by allowing the young person to see these situations in a different perspective. “Cognitive behavior therapy can allow a person to heighten awareness by keeping track of the triggers and the time in which they felt the most stress and how long it took for the triggers and the time in which they felt the most stress and how long it took for the stress to produce anger” (Hart, S. L., & Hart, T.A. (2010). By knowing this information and by changing the way a person is thinking, there are changes in the emotions and behavior pattern. Once an adolescent has learned these techniques it will allow them to cope in a more positive way, without anger.

William Glasser developed Reality Therapy; he believed that nearly all human unhappiness is stems by people trying to manage others. He says, “The only behavior we can control is our own; by the same token, no one can make us do anything we do not want to. It is only when we give up spending our energy trying to force others to conform to our ideas or to keep them from doing the same to us that we are able to live the way we want to.” (William Glasser)

In order to change a patient the therapist needs to change what the client is thinking and doing because these behaviors are controllable. One needs to assume personal responsibility for his or her feelings. The Choice theory of Reality therapy challenges the client to accept his or her part in actually creating his or her feelings. The choice theory emphasizes how people think and act therefore we can see that it shares some of the concepts of the cognitive behavior approach.

There is always a learning curve when developing a new theory. There is the uncertainty of its efficacy and acceptance. One would believe as these theories continue to evolve and is practiced with clients this will no longer be an issue. I believe if a counselor knows the importance of the spiritual beliefs of the clients they are able to have a thorough understanding of their views and feeling towards the issues in their lives. I also believe that then they are able to help client’s determine that they are loved, accepted and have a purpose.


Counseling and Psychotherapy: Theories and interventions; Third Edition by David Capuzzi and

Douglas R. Gross

Glass, W. (1997), Choice Theory and Student Success, Education Digest, 63, 3, p.16. 6p

Good Therapy (ND). Mindfulness Approaches/Contemplative Approaches. Retrieved August 5,

2013 from

Hart, S. L., & Hart, T. A. (2010). The Future of Cognitive Behavioral Interventions within

Behavioral Medicine. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 24(4), 344-353.

Howatt, W. (2011). The Human Services Counseling Toolbox. Theory, Development, and

Resources. Pgs. 113, 131, 147-150.

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