This chapter will discuss some of the cognitive approaches to counselling and assessment, principally the cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) of Beck (1967, 1989 and 1997), and the rational emotive therapy (RET) of Ellis (1962, 1998, 2001). The lifeskills approach of Nelson Jones (1993) will also be briefly discussed.We describe these approaches as handy road maps because they are interested in clear goals towards which the therapist hopes to travel with the client, and also because of their accessibility and transparency and their potential for use in self-help. The core theory is clear and capable of being understood and used by clients. Users of such approaches say they need to understand the problem; it can therefore be said to be problem-oriented, taking an information-processing approach to the client on the principle that the way in which people interpret their experiences determines how they feel and act, how they become disturbed. Although startling to the world of psychoanalysis in the 1950s, this is not a particularly new idea; Dryden (1990) quotes the Roman philosopher Epictetus as saying that men are disturbed not by things but by their views of things. The move away from emotion and into cognition places this approach in the second wave of theory.
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