College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

The Relation Between Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies: Commentary on "Extending the Goals of Behavior Therapy and of Cognitive Behavior Therapy."

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Summer 1997

Publication Title

Behavior Therapy

ISSN

0005-7894

Volume

28

Issue/No.

3

Abstract

Ellis (1997) describes how Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) can be distinguished from Behavior Therapy (BT) and, perhaps more significantly, “adds” to BT. Among the issues raised by Ellis is the suggestion that traditional BT may lead only to temporary or superficial behavior changes, and that the goals of BT should be extended to include more comprehensive and enduring “personality change.” In this commentary, I discuss the underlying medical model adopted by cognitive therapists, the empirical data that bear on the issue of “adding” to BT, and an alternative framework to evaluate clinical practice. It is suggested that there are more similarities among therapists, and their therapies, than differences. Thus, as Charles Ferster (1972) suggested 25 years ago, more effort should be devoted to studying what successful therapists do, and less to arguing the merits of therapists' theoretically informed explanations for success.

DOI

10.1016/S0005-7894(97)80079-2