Cognitive therapy was chosen to assist Leslie with gaining a better understanding of her horrific decisions. Cognitive therapy is the best approach because it analyzes individual’s thoughts and helps change behaviors. The theory focuses on helping clients understand and change irrational beliefs the client may have. This type of therapy helps individuals function more affectively by removing cognitive distortions. It also helps the client develop more positive beliefs and behaviors.
This type of therapy will be beneficial to Leslie because it will help her recognize her automatic thoughts, change her cognitive istortions, and address underlying issues. Leslie will gain a better understanding of her distorted beliefs that affected her decision making skills. Cognitive therapy will also evaluate Leslie’s past to determine how it has affected her decisions. Client Difficulties Leslie comes from a dysfunctional family. Her childhood was extremely chaotic. Her mother had very little education and worked low paying jobs. Her mother had multiple children she could not care for.
Her father was in and out of prison which affected his ability to parent. Leslie witnessed irresponsible and promiscuous behavior by her mother. As a child, she witnessed adult parties where her mother engaged in sexual behaviors with multiple men. Leslie also describes her mother as being physically and verbally abusive. Leslie’s cognitive development was impaired by her early childhood experiences. Her environment shaped her beliefs systems as a child. Her unloving environment affected her childhood beliefs and continued into adulthood. Due to lack of parental guidance, Leslie had a very risky and promiscuous childhood.
She engaged in many different harmful activities such as prostitution and substance abuse as an adolescent. She confessed to having numerous sex partners and she admitted to sleeping with guys in random places. Leslie disclosed that she was raped by her mother’s significant other when she was nine years old. She then became pregnant by her rapist as a teen and was forced into foster care. During a very difficult time in Leslie’s life she did not have the support of family. Her mother neglected her by eliminating all forms of communication once she entered the foster care system. She did not receive love and support as a child.
Not receiving the proper love and support influenced a negative chema. Leslie living situation was unstable. She moved back and forth from foster homes to group homes. She had many negative experiences where she resided. She moved from the original foster home after a disagreement with her foster mother. Leslie expressed that her foster mom would discipline her child inappropriately. She then moved to a group home specifically for teen mothers where she lost custody of her child because of sexual abuse allegations. After regaining custody of her son, she murdered him days later. She is currently incarcerated and convicted of murder.
Leslie suffers from ognitive distortion. She believed she was protecting herself by harming her child. Leslie’s reason for harming her child was to prevent him from being taken away again. She also mentioned that she did not want to lose her housing. These particular thoughts are irrational beliefs that she was unaware. Also, Leslie struggle with gaining insight of her own decisions. Key Issues Addressed in Therapy The main issues that will be addressed in therapy is Leslie’s cognitive distortions, and underlying issues such as, traumatic childhood experiences, family constellations and rape.
Reflecting on childhood experiences and family dynamics will help her recognize dysfunctional thoughts she may be unaware of. The focus of therapy will be helping Leslie understand irrational beliefs she has that impacted her previous behavior. Therapy will also help her modify those beliefs to decrease the likely hood of negative future behavior. In order to assist Leslie with gaining a better understanding, schema-focused cognitive therapy will be utilized. Schema focused therapy was developed by Jeffrey Young and is used to assist individuals with severe ental illness such as personality disorders and childhood abuse (Young, 2008).
According to Young, severe psychological disorders can arise from early maladaptive schemas in childhood (Young, 2008). This approach has multiple themes that will give Leslie more insight to her behavior. The themes that will be used are “disconnection and rejection”, “impaired autonomy and per directedness”. With these themes being the focus of therapy nance”, impaired Limits, and “other Leslie will learn how her schema was altered in childhood and continued into adulthood. “Disconnections and rejection” would e used to educate Leslie about the importance of having a loving a supportive family.
The schema would be activated by encouraging Leslie to reflect on her relationships with her parents and her perception of family. She will be asked to recall a specific event such as her mother neglecting her and share her emotions. Leslie will be encouraged to share her feelings of having or not having a trusting relationship with her parents. Having Leslie recognize her emotions of feeling disconnected or rejected may allow her to become more aware of her negative beliefs of herself. Another theme that will be used to address Leslie’s cognitive distortions is “Impaired autonomy and performance”.
After being sent to foster care, Leslie did not have any support from her family. Due to not having support, she may have felt that she could not manage without others. Leslie went from a huge family with multiple siblings to having no communication with anyone. This particular schema will be activated by encouraging Leslie to reflect on her relationships with her siblings, specifically her sister Barbara whom she was close to. She will also be asked to share her feelings of having to become Independent so sudden. This technique will assist Leslie with bringing unconscious emotions to the forefront.
The techniques “Impaired Limits” will be used to assist with helping Leslie learn self-control and managing frustration. The schema will be activated by advising Leslie to reflect on her adolescent years when she abused alcohol and drank uncontrollably until she passed out. She will also be asked to share specific details of the day she murdered her son. Leslie will be asked to evaluate her emotions, frustration, and behavior during those specific times. Her impaired thoughts, lack of discipline and lack of self- ontrol will be brought to her attention. Leslie will then learn how these negative schemas have impacted her decisions.
She will also be given tools and techniques to manage her frustration in a positive way. Lastly, “Other directedness” will be used in therapy to assist Leslie. She endured a lot of negative childhood experiences with her family. She was mentally and physically abused by her mom and sexually abused by her mother’s significant other. Leslie suppressed her emotions and anger until she could not any longer. She completed a heinous crime by murdering her two-year old and was unsure why. This particular theme will help Leslie recognize her unconscious feelings and cognitive distortions.
Leslie will also be given tools to assist with anger. Strengths of Theory This particular theory was chosen because Leslie seems to be dealing with cognitive distortions. The theory can be used with clients who have severe psychological disturbances. Leslie suggested that she murdered her two year old son because she was afraid of losing custody again. She also suggested that she was afraid of losing her housing. This particular thought is a distorted belief. The cognitive therapy was chosen to evaluate Leslie’s thought and behavior because it deals specifically with helping clients understand distorted beliefs.
The theory also allows Leslies to evaluate her childhood experiences and learn how it could have impacted her thought process and influenced her behavior. This particular theory is strong because it can be used worldwide. It also has many different techniques that can be used when assessing clients. The theory is also concrete because it can be tested. Weaknesses and Multicultural Considerations Like most theories, this theory has some weaknesses and can prevent the client from progressing. While using this type of therapy it is important that the therapist allow the client to put forth effort instead of doing all the work.
Since this therapy has structured techniques, the client may look to the therapist for all the answers. This could keep the client from making sufficient progress in therapy. Leslie may become overly dependent on the therapist for answers instead of using the tools to evaluate her life. There are also some multicultural issues with this therapy. Cognitive therapy focuses largely on the belief systems of the individual. Religious and spiritual beliefs can have a huge mpact on individual lives and how they make decisions. Leslie is a Mexican American female, her culture, background, and religious beliefs could possible impact therapy.
Relevant Research From the Journal of Cognitive Psycho-Therapy the article “Developmental considerations in the use of cognitive therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder” suggest that cognitive therapy is beneficial for adolescents who suffer from Post-traumatic stress disorder. It also suggests that cognitive therapy improves any developmental dysfunctions (Vernberg & Johnston, 2001). The article “The relationship of anger and cognitive distortions ith violence in violent offender’s population: A meta-analytic review” suggest that there is a correlation between cognitive distortions and violence (Chereji, Pintea, & David 2012).
Findings from the article “The moderating role of rational beliefs in the relationship between irrational beliefs and posttraumatic stress symptomology” suggest that an irrational belief leads to psychological disorders (Highland, Shevlin, Adamson & Budeszuk 2014). These particular studies suggest that Leslie may benefit from cognitive therapy. Theory fit for therapist This approach seems best fit for me because it is important to elp clients understand the faulty decisions that lead to negative actions.
It is also important for the therapist to educated the client and provide them with the necessary tools to help repair their issues. The theory seems best fit in regards to Leslie situation because the approach fits the circumstances. The theory is very structured and straight forward; it allows Leslie to assess her own life and recover answers. This theory will assist Leslie with recognizing her distorted cognitions and shape them into more positive beliefs. It will also give her an opportunity rise above her traumatic past. Conclusion
In conclusion, the cognitive therapy was selected to address educated Leslie about her distorted beliefs that lead to her irrational behavior. The Cognitive therapy approach help individuals gain a better understanding of their faulty belief systems. It also encourages positive behaviors by assisting individuals with changing their beliefs that will eventually change their behavior. The techniques are well structured and therapy can assist those with severe mental issues. There were four themes chosen to assist Leslie with her cognitive distortions. Using these techniques will prevent Leslie from making irrational decisions in the