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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The techniques that comprise cognitive restructuring are central to the practice of cognitive therapy, and they are a key component of the skills that clients learn in order to help themselves think in more hopeful, constructive ways. Clients learn to self-assess their cognitive biases and dysfunction in terms of processes (e.g., all-or-none thinking, disqualifying the positive, hopelessness) and contents (e.g., at the levels of automatic thoughts, intermediate beliefs, and schemas). Five chief methods of cognitive restructuring are reviewed: (1) rational responding, (2) the downward arrow, (3) role playing, (4) behavioral experiments, and (5) guided imagery. Additionally, the therapeutic relationship serves as fertile ground on which the clients may ascertain and modify their most common interpersonal misperceptions. The empirical status of cognitive therapy is reviewed across a wide range of clinical problems, and with regard to maintenance. Promising new applications of cognitive restructuring are also described, along with the importance of therapist self-reflection.

Keywords: rational responding, automatic thoughts, beliefs, schemas, homework, imagery, therapeutic relationship, prevention, dissemination, self-reflection

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