Cognitive behavioral therapy also known as (CBT) is a type of therapy used by many therapists to treat a patient of his/her mental illnesses by helping that patient to uncover the link between his/her thoughts, feelings and behavior. This type of therapy was created by an American Psychologist known as Aaron Beck in the 1950’s (Argosy University, 2013). According to Aaron Beck, the way a person thinks affects the way he/she feels, and that feeling influences how that person behave and of course someone’s behavior always influences how that person lives his/her life and also the choices he/she is making throughout life (Aaron Beck, 1950).
Being Codrina’s behavioral therapist, it is clear that there is a connection between what she is going through with her childhood and her experience with men who abuse her. Because of those past abusive experiences, she came to conclusion that all men are the same; as a result she finds it difficult to trust her husband. Codrina’s reaction when she found out that her husband had an affair is very odd; most people who find themselves into that situation would feel violated, betrayed, angry, etc. for many that would be the end of the relationship. But for Codrina, she was relieved instead, because in her mind she does not have to sleep with him anymore. There’s no doubt that she has experienced this situation before, perhaps multiple times to a point where it does not bother her anymore, but comfort her instead.
Codrina’s sexual behavior toward her husband also raises serious concern about her being sexually abused when she was little, probably at the orphanage. The reason for that assumption is because Codrina seems to have all kinds of problems in the world when it is about getting intimate with her husband. As a cognitive behavioral therapist my understanding of that avoidance is that she is fleeing from a painful past which leads to the mistrust and her sexual discomfort. It is clear that woman is been through a lot since she was little, and how she feels about her past is what influence her to behave the way she does toward her husband, which greatly impact how she sees and feels about herself (Aaron Beck, 1950).
As Codrina’s cognitive behavioral therapist the main concern would be to help her achieve a remission of her disorder and to prevent relapse as well. But to achieve such goal smaller ones has to be established. Some of those smaller goals can be, behavior change: in order to accomplish this the focus need to be on helping her understand that even though nobody has any control over what is happening to them in every aspect of their lives, they can control how they feel and think about it and deal with it in more a positive. So the point is, the way someone interprets what happens to him/her is the fountain of that person’s emotion.
For example two friends might have an altercation; how they interpret what has just happened between them would define the future of their relationship. They can chose to get upset and never talk to one another ever again or the can interpret the altercation as a misunderstanding, forgive each other and remain friend (Argosy University, 2013). Helping Codrina to understand and interpret her life events differently (positively) would be the primary goal of the cognitive behavioral therapy treatment. Doing so would help her to behave differently around others especially in her future relationship. The truth is, if someone is able to change his/her thoughts his/her emotional feeling would change so is that person’s behavior.
Another goal would be to help her regain self-confidence and motivation in by helping her identify and challenge negative and inaccurate thinking. As it says in the story, “since the divorce she has not been able to sleep, eat, and loses interest in taking shower and isolate herself” (Argosy University, 2013). To accomplish this, her irrational thoughts about what is going on would need to be disputed; this is like giving her a second opinion from her own thought of how she can interpret what has happened.
People get divorce every day and the find a way to cope with the reality, it is in fact, very unfortunate, but she should not see it as the end of her world, because it is not. Another technique that can be used in Codrina’s situation is to have her state her preferences, because for any goal to be achievable she would have to be willing to change her behavior. One way to do that is to ask her if she would prefer to be in a relationship with someone she cannot trust as a result of infidelity then being alone. That question would give us both a clear view of her own belief which is very crucial for her treatment and her willingness.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is not same as saying to a doctor that you sick and then get medicine to be relieved, it is more sophisticated than that, it involves effort and hard work from both the client and the therapist. So it is probable, coming to therapy Codrina might think that the therapist would just treat her in the very first session and not have her face the reality, but the truth is cognitive behavioral therapy does not work that way it is a team work that involves the client and the therapist, and in order for that treatment to be successful there must be trust, confidence and most of all honesty. So it is understood that Codrina would be a little disappointed since she did not expect to be actively involved in her own treatment.
Some of the distortions that Codrina might be experiencing are; emotional reasoning, personalization, and overgeneralization.
Emotional reasoning involves the way a client judge herself or a situation base on his/her emotions. It is clear that Codrina feels bad and sees herself as the cause of the divorce.
Personalization and Blame
Personalization is almost same as emotional reasoning; however, they differ from each other. Personalization and blame involves patient blaming himself or herself or someone else entirely for a situation that is out of his or her control (Argosy University, 2013). There is no doubt that Codrina has blamed and continues to blame herself for what happened in her life this is why she finds it very difficult to deal with to a point she has neglected her self-care and live in isolation.
According to Aaron Beck (1950), overgeneralization happens when a single event, or a series of coincidences, are seen as reflecting a rule (Argosy University, 2013). Codrina’s behavior toward her husband shows that due to what she’s been through with men in past abusive relationship her conclusion is that all men are the same that is why she finds it difficult to trust her husband.
Cognitive therapy theory emphasized that someone’s thought is what make that person feel sad, angry or happy. So if someone can control his/her thought he/she can also control how he/she feels about life. When someone is depressed it is simply because that person focuses too much on the negative. So the cognitive therapy techniques that can be used to help Codrina overcomes her negative feelings are simple; observe the situation as she sees it, analyze her thoughts about the event in order to see how her emotions affects or influences the situation (divorce) that took place in her life, her mental and physical state at the time and how her actions differ from before, during and after the divorce (Argosy University, 2013).
This helps Codrina dissembles what she is going through in smaller portions in order to see it is not as bad as she thought and it is manageable. I would also give her homework between sessions in order to help her acquire skills to solve or face specific life events. Gradually I would help her make small changes in how she sees life and herself, and then over time those small changes would lead to permanent mood and behavior change. So my desired outcome for Codrina would be. Behavior and mood change, high self-esteem, confidence, stop isolating herself and being able to trust and love again.