Case Study Application of Cognitive Behavioral Theory

Case Study Application of Cognitive Behavioral Theory

Cognitive behavioral theory (CBT) presents broad and comprehensive possibilities of diagnosing and treating psychological problems. The theory integrates three critical components the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It postulates that all these three aspects interact to determine our behaviors and mood. According to this model, the thoughts affect how we behave and how we feel about situations or events (Dobson & Dobson, 2016). Psychological Distress results chiefly from how we interpret situations and therefore determine how we react. The case study fits this model. The client is lonely, spends a lot of time thinking about her problems and she has become distressed. The cognitive behavioral theory is an appropriate approach in diagnosing and managing her condition.

Purpose of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT works to influence the client’s mind to change from having negative perceptions and to embrace positive thinking about life and their problems. The theory proposes that by changing the client’s channel of thoughts, their moods will change and finally have an impact on their behaviors and then they will start leading a positive life (Westbrook, Kennerley, & Kirk, 2011).

CBT therapist takes his client through a process of evaluation that will help the client to distinguish between the real and unreal in their thoughts. This is followed by educating the client to know how their thoughts and perception influences their emotions and are educated to understand how they can control their thoughts and emotions (Dobson & Dobson, 2016).

CBT for Short-Term Counseling

CBT therapy focuses on present problems. Its main resolve is to identify present distressing thoughts that affect emotional pattern and behaviors. Every day presents a new challenge that may affect the emotional patterns differently as compared to the past. It serves as a real-time solution addressing present situations and cannot be applied in managing deep-rooted conditions (Corrie, Townend, & Cockx, 2015)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the Client

The client manifests three therapeutic aspects presented in the CBT. These aspects are automatic thoughts, beliefs, and distorted cognitions.

  1. Automatic thoughts

Automatic thoughts are unpremeditated thoughts. A friend passing without greetings may be considered as being in a hurry or having an issue with you. These two interpretations will have opposite implications for a person’s mood and behavior (Westbrook, Kennerley, & Kirk, 2011). The client’s automatic thought is that something bad may happen to her husband.

  • Distorted cognitions

Distorted cognitions are manifested in erroneous conclusions stemming from erroneous reasoning. The client makes overgeneralization. Although it is always expected that soldiers will die in battles, some will always come back to their families. In addition, the client emphasizes one quality in the presence of other possibilities (Westbrook, Kennerley, & Kirk, 2011). The husband may die or have a fatal accident in battle and this will be a terrible loss. Viewing this scenario differently her may return or if he dies, his sacrifice will be heroic and will help save other people.

The patient is also absorbed in minimization and emotional thinking. A decision to seek help from her family would greatly help her in managing her financial crisis. The thought is not acted upon probably because she is minimizing the benefits to be obtained from this move or she is acting according to her emotions and not the reality of her situation (Westbrook, Kennerley, & Kirk, 2011). Her child needs financial support and she needs to wake to the reality and get help from her parents or brothers.

  • Belief

Beliefs about who we are, how the world views us, and what constitutes a good world affect our ability to respond situations. The client has deeply rooted dysfunctional core and intermediate beliefs. Even though the client has family members who are well off, herself she has no job and lower academic credentials. This makes her feel inadequate or even unlovable and has withdrawn and maintained a small connection with the family (Westbrook, Kennerley, & Kirk, 2011).

The role of the client and the counselor

CBT adopts a collaborative interaction approach between the client and the counselor. Goals are set at earlier stages and the process begins with an assessment of the client’s mood. Each step is followed by assignments, which are reviewed before discussions (Westbrook, Kennerley, & Kirk, 2011).

Additional information about the case

Additional information from the client on her past relationship with her family will prove beneficial in this case. The counselor needs to have information that will provide details whether her family members have assisted her in the past, whether her family members contact her through other communication channels. The client should also provide clinical health test reports that may be beneficial in establishing if her stress disorder is resulting in other health complications.

Risk of using CBT

CBT, like other therapies, has its limitations. CBT does not go deep into the problem and therefore the problem may be rebound after a supposed treatment. Moreover, confrontation with personal problems during treatment may worsen the client’s situation (Corrie, Townend, & Cockx, 2015).


Cognitive behavioral therapy is e beneficial technique in managing short-term psychological distress. For short-term purposes, the therapy will help in relieving pressure and pain and the client will soon be on a path to healthful living. In contrast, CBT may prove detrimental in cases where the problem is deeply rooted but assumed as a short-term problem. The patient may receive symptoms of improvement that may turn out as unreal leading to further complications.


Corrie, S., Townend, M., & Cockx, A. (2015). Assessment and case formulation in cognitive behavioral therapy. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Dobson, D. & Dobson, K. S. (2016). Evidence-Based Practice of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Second Edition. New York, NY: Guilford Publications.

Westbrook, D., Kennerley, H. & Kirk, J. (2011). An introduction to cognitive behavior therapy: Skills and applications. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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