Developmental Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Adults by Janet M. Zarb
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About Developmental Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Adults by Janet M. Zarb
The aim of this book is to introduce a new psychotherapy approach that combines conventional cognitive therapy with a lifespan developmental psychopathology perspective. The major focus will be on the treatment of adult role difficulties contributing to mental health problems. This approach examines the relationship between depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and other psychological problems and the client’s difficulties in performing expected adult roles and tasks.
It adopts a developmental psychopathology framework that considers behavioral and emotional problems in relation to normative sequences and achievements for particular ages and stages across the life cycle. This new approach will be referred to as Developmental Cognitive Behavorial Therapy, or Developmental CBT.
The initial phase of Developmental CBT adopts the most studied and commonly used CBT model developed by Aaron Beck and his colleagues and expanded by other therapists over the past forty years (e.g., Beck, 1976; Beck & Emery, 1985; Beck & Freeman, 1990; Beck et al., 1979; Beck, J., 1995; Meichenbaum, 1994; Padesky, 1994; Young, Beck, & Weinberger, 1993).
This model is also frequently referred to as cognitive therapy (CT). The primary difference between the new Developmental CBT approach espoused in this book and traditional CBT approaches is the addition of a developmental phase of assessment and treatment that focuses on the client’s inadequate resolution of normative psychosocial developmental tasks and transitions of earlier life stages.
This approach evolved from a common observation by the author and other clinicians that a substantial proportion of people seeking therapy are experiencing problems with adult life tasks and roles, such as leaving the parental home, coping with social or family relationships, or maintaining effective occupational status (Ruble & Seedman, 1996). Many psychotherapy clients are stuck at life transitions and have failed to resolve critical life-stage tasks in the past in occupational, interpersonal, partner, or family functioning areas.
In an attempt to address the client presenting problems and comorbid Axis I and II disorders, therapists may lose sight of the larger picture, namely the client’s failure to resolve normative life tasks that may be maintaining the psychological disorders. For example, clients presenting with depression secondary to unemployment may have failed to develop sufficient self-discipline in the early years for adequate job performance as adults. Similarly, they may have failed to attain educational prerequisites for the desired occupation or failed to develop sufficient independence from the family of origin to establish a separate residence and viable career path.
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