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  • Print publication year: 1992
  • Online publication date: May 2010

21 - Expanding the experiential parameters of cognitive therapy



While the specific reasons vary widely, people generally seek therapy to relieve emotional distress or to modify troublesome attitudes or behaviors. The means by which therapists contribute to the accomplishment of these ends are as varied as the presenting problems. Still, a dual process takes place where on the one hand the patient brings his or her extra-therapeutic life into the therapy session, and on the other hand the therapist facilitates the exportation of therapeutic gains into the everyday extra-therapeutic life of the patient. The present chapter will explore the possible contributions of the ESM to this dual process of importing extra-therapeutic life into therapy sessions, and of generalizing therapeutic accomplishments to everyday life. While ESM may be useful within many different therapeutic programs, the therapeutic utility of ESM will be illustrated in the cognitive treatment of depression.

The cognitive treatment of depression assumes that clinical depression is the result of negative cognitive distortions (Beck, 1979; Diekstra, Engels & Methorst, 1988; Wright & Beck, 1983). In light of the presumed etiological role of negative cognitions in clinical depression, it is not surprising that the modus operandi of most cognitive interventions revolves around identifying and decreasing negative thoughts (e.g., Beck et al., 1979; Stravynski & Greenberg, 1987; Teasdale & Fennel, 1988; Teasdale, Fennel, Hibbert & Amies, 1984).