Psychological Therapy -Reaction paper


After reading Chapters 7 and 8 in McCarthy & Archer (2013) and performing additional research on your own, write a 4-6 page reaction paper in which you discuss the following:

  1. Explain how thought-focused treatment systems are inherently different from psychoanalytical/psychodynamic approaches in treating psychological dysfunctions.
  2. In REBT, “rational” means that which helps people to achieve their basic goals and purposes. Therefore, irrational beliefs are those that interfere with goals. Do a web search and find the eleven or twelve irrational beliefs (called “IB’s”) used by REBT therapists. Choose two of them and provide an example for each.
  3. Cognitive therapy is directed at common cognitive distortions, or faulty thought patterns. These send us into depression. Examine the list of cognitive distortions based on Aaron Beck’s work. Choose two and provide an example for each.
  4. Explain briefly the terms “shaping” and “token economies” used in behavioral based therapies and give an example for each.

Sample papers

Psychological Therapy -Reaction paper

Physical and psychological health comes first in the priority list of every individual. Moreover, the government of every state ensures that every citizen has access to medical services. However, this does not mean that there are no cases of unhealthy citizens. One of the health issues that are rather common among people across the world is psychological dysfunction. Psychological disorders have been identified and classified into various categories depending on their characteristics (Association., 2013). Some examples of psychological disorders include eating disorders, mood disorders, personal disorders, psychotic disorders and sexual disorders. Most of these disorders are caused by abnormalities in the mind that result from persistent behavior patterns that affect day-to-day operations of a human brain. Some of these disorders are transferred from parents to children while others are caused by chemical imbalance in the brain, childhood experiences, and illnesses.

Question 1

However, no one perfect medication can be prescribed to all patients suffering from psychological disorders. Over the years, psychologists have developed various treatment methods. Two of the most widely used treatment systems include the thought-focused treatment systems and psychoanalytical/ psychodynamic approaches. These approaches were developed to help therapists and health care facilities in general offer upgraded interventions and treatment based on the characteristics and nature of the disorder and the desired results. The origin of thought-based treatment systems can be traced from the ancient days when psychologists began to challenge and pull away from psychoanalyst approaches. Psychoanalyst approach was basically based on the theories that explain human functioning based on the interaction and forces within the individual, especially unconscious forces and between different structures of the personality (Brands, 2007). The primary goal of the psychodynamic approach is to attain the best balance possible for the functioning of ego that is ruled by the principle of reality. On the other hand, thought-focused treatment believes in cognition, emotions and behavior of individuals. Psychoanalysis focuses more on the emotions of the individual rather than his cognition.  The primary objective of the thought-focused treatment is to assist patients create awareness of and modify their thoughts to change their perspectives on certain things. The thought-focused therapist usually listens to their clients narrate their problems and assist them in analyzing the problems and modify their cognition (Brands, 2007). On the other hand, psychodynamic approach takes long, and the therapist maintains a non-judgmental and positive attitude towards their patients.  Most of the psychological disorder patients go for thought-focused treatment approach rather than psychoanalysis therapy because, in thought-focused treatment, the patients engage in active communication with the therapist something that is not present in the other approach. However, despite the approach and the time taken, both kinds of treatment should give close if not similar results.

Question 2

The Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is one of the most used therapy top help psychology patients. Dr. Albert Ellis was credit with the development of this cognitive behavior therapy back in 1955. The primary aim and objective of a therapist who use this philosophical approach are to analyze how different persons distort information relayed to them in different ways.  REBT is an action-based approach that attempts to manage cognitive, emotional and behavioral disturbances. Dr. Albert Ellis stated that too much thinking about a scenario and events could lead to emotional and behavioral upset and hence distort information about those particular events (McCabe, 2010).  There are some irrational beliefs that we keep on sending to ourselves as individuals that prevent us from growing emotionally. Such irrational beliefs include:

  1. To prove my worth to everybody who matter to me, I must do well to get their approval.
  2. Other people must treat me kindly and fairly or else they are bad.
  3. I must have an easy, enjoyable life or I cannot enjoy living it at all.
  4. All the people that matter to me must love me and approve me, or it will be awful.
  5. I must be a higher achiever, or I will be worthless.
  6. Nobody should ever behave badly and if they do I should condemn them.
  7. I must not be frustrated in getting what I want and if I am it will be terrible.
  8. When things are tough, and I am under pressure, I must be miserable, and there is nothing I can do about this.
  9. I can avoid my responsibilities and dealing with life’s difficulties and still be fulfilled.
  10. My past is the most important part of my life, and it will keep on dictating how I feel and what I want to do.
  11. When faced with the possibility of something frightening or dangerous happening to me I must obsess about it and make frantic efforts to avoid it
  12. Everybody and everything should be better than they are and if they are not, it is awful.

Selective abstraction is one of the irrational beliefs where victims make decision and judgment based on specific information specially the past and disregarding any other information. Moreover, patients are more personalized and self-centered and thus believing that they are better than anybody else, and thus they can condemn all who wrong them (Broyd, 2009).

Question 3

Most of the mood disorder patients undergo cognitive behavior to help distort the negatives thoughts that an individual may have to himself and change his mood about the life as a whole. Below are some of the cognitive distortions that a patient may experience.

  1. Filtering- taking negative details and filtering them to take all positive aspects.
  2. Polarized thinking- seeing things as either black or white we are either success or failure.
  3. Overgeneralization – generalizing things based on a single event or evidence.
  4. Jumping into conclusion- thinking that we know why people act and react the way they do.
  5. Catastrophizing- having a negative attitude and always waiting for disaster to strike.
  6. Personalization – where an individual believes he is better, and all people should follow his example.
  7. Blaming – holding other people responsible for our misery and pains.

Patients suffering from cognitive disorder tend to catastrophize things by exaggerating the importance of insignificant ideas such as reasons for their failure. Moreover, these patients are constantly blaming the people next to them in the case of failure for example poor school and work performance (Association., 2013).


Question 4

Shaping as used in behavioral therapy is not a method used to manage inappropriate behavior, but rather it is a method that helps a patient in setting goals and his objectives. Shaping provides the guidance and directions on how to set these targets (Broyd, 2009). On the other hand, a token economy is a behavior modification method based on systematic reinforcement of individual behavior. These tokens are usually in the form of symbols that can be exchanged for reinforcers.

In conclusion, we can say that there is no one best therapy approach, and therapists and doctors should examine each patient independently before treatment. However, both methods should give similar results. In addition, for the therapy to be successful, the efforts of both the patient and the doctors are needed.


Association., A. P. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5®). American Psychiatric Pub.

Brands, A. M. (2007). A detailed profile of cognitive dysfunction and its relation to psychological distress in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 13(2),, 288-297.

Broyd, S. J.-B. (2009). Default-mode brain dysfunction in mental disorders: a systematic review. Neuroscience & biobehavioral reviews, 33(3),, 279-296.

McCabe, M. A.‐M. (2010). Psychological and interpersonal dimensions of sexual function and dysfunction. The journal of sexual medicine, 7(1pt2), , 327-336.

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