Over the years, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) has been applied to a variety of client populations in a range of treatment settings and to the range of clinical problems. This chapter provides a general overview of the cognitive behavior history, model, and techniques and their application to clinical social work practice. It begins with a brief history and description, provides a basic conceptual framework for the approach, highlights the empirical base of the model, and then discusses the use of cognitive, behavior, and emotive/affective interventions. Cognitive behavior therapy is based on several principles namely cognitions affect behavior and emotion; certain experiences can evoke cognitions, explanation, and attributions about that situation; cognitions may be made aware, monitored, and altered; desired emotional and behavioral change can be achieved through cognitive change. CBT employs a number of distinct and unique therapeutic strategies in its practice.
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The treatment of the suicidal individual is perhaps the most weighty and difficult of any of the problems confronted by the clinical social worker. Some frequent comorbid pathology with suicidal behavior includes alcoholism, panic attacks, drug abuse, chronic schizophrenia, conduct disorder in children and adolescents, impulse control deficits, schizophrenia, and problem-solving deficits. Suicidal harmful behavior appears in all ages and characterizes clients in a large spectrum of life. There are four types of suicidal behavior namely rational suicider, psychotic suicider, hopeless suicider and impulsive or histrionic suicider. This chapter presents some primarily cognitive techniques for challenging suicidal automatic thoughts. Recent reports suggest that individuals suffering from alcohol or substance abuse are at an increased risk both for attempting, and for successfully completing, a suicidal act. The therapist must develop an armamentarium of cognitive techniques, and the skills to use these effectively in ways that are appropriate for each individual client.