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Doctoral clinical psychology student commentary on common myths about CBT: lessons learned for competency-based training

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 March 2023

Ashton Dessert
Affiliation:
College of Health Sciences, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Doctoral Clinical Psychology Program, Midwestern University, 19555 N 59th Ave, Glendale, AZ 85308, USA
Aadila Lynch
Affiliation:
College of Health Sciences, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Doctoral Clinical Psychology Program, Midwestern University, 19555 N 59th Ave, Glendale, AZ 85308, USA
Ashley McMillon
Affiliation:
College of Health Sciences, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Doctoral Clinical Psychology Program, Midwestern University, 19555 N 59th Ave, Glendale, AZ 85308, USA
Madeline Terrill
Affiliation:
College of Health Sciences, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Doctoral Clinical Psychology Program, Midwestern University, 19555 N 59th Ave, Glendale, AZ 85308, USA
Brad A. MacNeil*
Affiliation:
College of Health Sciences, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Doctoral Clinical Psychology Program, Midwestern University, 19555 N 59th Ave, Glendale, AZ 85308, USA
*
*Corresponding author. Email: bmacne@midwestern.edu

Abstract

Effective methods for training and education in the dissemination of evidence-based treatments is a priority. This commentary provides doctoral clinical psychology graduate student authors perspectives on common myths about cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Three myths were identified and considered: (1) CBT does not value the therapeutic relationship; (2) CBT is overly rigid; and (3) exposure techniques are cruel. Graduate students were engaged in a competency-based course in Cognitive Behavioural Approaches to Psychotherapy at an American Psychological Association (APA)-accredited doctoral clinical psychology program. The origins of common myths identified by graduate students included a lack of in-depth coverage of CBT and brief video segments provided during introductory courses, lived experience with CBT, and pre-determined views of manualized treatment and exposure techniques. Myth-addressing factors discussed by graduate students included holding space at the start of training for a discussion of attitudes about CBT, specific learning activities, and course content described in this commentary. Finally, self-reported changes in graduate students’ attitudes and behaviour following the course included a more favourable view of CBT as valuing the therapeutic relationship, as well as implementation of resources provided, and techniques learned and practised at practicum settings. Limitations and lessons learned are discussed through the lens of a model of adult learning that may be applied to future graduate training in evidence-based therapies like CBT.

Key learning aims

  1. (1) To understand common myths about cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) that doctoral students in clinical psychology hold prior to entering a course in CBT.

  2. (2) To understand the possible origins of these myths, factors that may address their impacts, and changes in attitudes and behaviour among graduate students as a result.

  3. (3) To examine the lessons learned that can be applied to future training in evidence-based therapies like CBT.

Type
Empirically Grounded Clinical Guidance Paper
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies

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References

Further reading

Dobson, D., & Dobson, K. S. (2018). Evidence-Based Practice of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Guilford publications.Google Scholar
Meyer, J. M., Kelly, P. J., & Deacon, B. J. (2020). Therapist beliefs about exposure therapy implementation. the Cognitive Behavior Therapist, 13, 114. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1754470X20000112 Google Scholar
Tolin, D. F. (2020). Advances in the identification of empirically supported psychological treatments. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 27, e12356. https://doi.org/10.1111/cpsp.12356 Google Scholar
Waller, G., & Turner, H. (2016). Therapist drift redux: why well-meaning clinicians fail to deliver evidence-based therapy, and how to get back on track. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 77, 129137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2015.12.005 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

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