Tag Archives: dialectical behavior therapy

Practical Application of Theory


What are some ways that a development theory could be useful to you in the field of work you are interested in?  What about your personal life?  What do you want a theory to tell you?  What specific problems should/could a theory help you solve?

The adoption of one or more developmental theories could have significant implications on implementation of real world therapy practices.  Our theoretical worldview has the potential to bias our views of developmental change and the antecedents that drive that change.  Will the therapist sitting across from you attribute your current situation to biological antecedents?  Is nature responsible for (insert any psychological condition here)?  Or, instead, will your therapist choose to focus on the environmental and societal factors that have influenced your personal developmental trajectory?  Before any of us engage a therapist, or any of us engage in the practice of therapy, we should consider the theoretical underpinnings that form the foundation of our helping professionals’ worldview.  Obviously there’s a good reason why individual therapists choose the theories they do… conscious consumers should not be afraid to ask for the reason.

When change occurs in my personal life, I usually attribute it to entropy.  The illusion of being able to control my environment is tempting to say the least, but I believe self realization comes as a result of accepting that you have little or no control over the sequence and timing of developmental change.  For me, clinical counseling represents a vehicle by which individuals learn to control reactions to a constantly changing chaotic world.  My goal for all of my clients, and for myself, is to be able to embrace change and employ it as a springboard to drive structural, functional, and behavioral growth.  To me, it’s almost irrelevant as to whether it is “governed by nature (i.e., genetics, maturation or biological structures) or nurture (i.e., child rearing methods, cultural values, planned learning experiences, unplanned life events).” (Bergen, 2008, p. 3)  Regardless of the governance, the reality is that we have the opportunity to change tomorrow by acting today.

As I continue to process and refine my own theoretical perspective on human development, my expectation is that the theory provides individuals I serve with an outcome that can be predicted with reasonable certainty.  For example, if we engage dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) I should be able to predict with reasonable certainty that you will experience an increase in mindfulness.  If DBT fails to produce that result, I am content to attribute that failure to individual variability… to me, it doesn’t much matter if it’s nature or nurture… so long as we identify the point of failure and try again (this time modified to fit the individualized participant).  Perhaps we could integrate religious and metaphysical concepts into the effort to increase the traction of our DBT efforts.  Or, perhaps we will go in a parallel direction and focus more on interpersonal effectiveness or emotion regulation since they are contributing factors to the overall efficacy of DBT?  Maybe we abandon DBT altogether and take another angle?  The options are endless… but a theory some provide some direction, some purpose, to the decisions that are made in that process.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) meets all of my expectations for a theoretical construct.  ABA is committed to resolving real world issues not theoretical quandaries.  Practical importance is at the forefront of my interest.  ABA focuses on the behavior that needs improvement, not just any behavior.  Good results must be measurable, conceptually systematic, and able to be replicated.  Finally, a good theory must possess generality of the in the respect that it lasts over time and it appears in environments other than the one in which… it was implemented.  (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007, p. 18)

As a sidebar…

Does anyone out there have any real world examples of entrainment?  (juxtaposition of one or more systems to form new combinations)

What strategies do you use to ensure you are employing “activated knowledge” as defined by Bergen (2008) on page 33?

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References

Bergen, D. (2008). Human development: Traditional and contemporary theories. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied Behavior Analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Pick 4 Psychoanalysis Theories! Which do you favor, and why?


My plan is to specialize in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).  I like the concept of direct and frequent measurement of variables that can me quantitatively or qualitatively measured.  I like the transparency of the ABA discipline.  “Everything about ABA is visible and public, explicit and straightforward… ABA entails no ephemeral, mystical, or metaphysical explanations; there are no hidden treatments; there is no magic.”  (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007, p. 18-19)  ABA is committed to resolving real world issues not theoretical quandaries.  It’s sensible, it’s practical, and it’s in demand.  ABA focuses on the behavior that needs improvement, not just any behavior. Good results are measurable, conceptually systematic, and able to be replicated.  Finally, a good theory must possess generality of the in the respect that it lasts over time and it appears in environments other than the one in which it was observed.  ABA relies on operant conditioning with the fundamental assumption being that behavior is a function of its consequences.  I intend to make use of positive and negative reinforcement, token economies, extinction, and stimulus control.  I’m not ready to rule out cognitive processed entirely because I want to keep an open stance, but right now, I am “all in” with ABA (more specifically, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), role-playing, behavioral observation, guided imagery.  If there’s anything I don’t like about ABA, it’s the measure of control that is required to do it right… I would like to soften that requirement a bit and do observation in a more natural setting… the inpatient clinical environment is too artificial to get good measurements or results that can be generalized.

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I really enjoy reading Carl Jung despite the fact that he has fallen out of favor with many of the movers and shakers in psychology.  Conceptually speaking it is a lot different than ABA, but I see some synergy there that is untapped.  Specifically, I really buy the concept of Enantiodromia.  “This word refers to Heraclitus’ law that everything sooner or later turns into its opposite.”  (Corsini & Wedding, 2011, p. 123)  Please forgive the lack of a citation because it comes from memory… but Carl Jung said “the word happiness would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”  It’s a concept I will never forget, so, I’d like to learn more about Carl Jung and Analytical Psychotherapy.  The only part I don’t like about Analytical Psychotherapy that is it’s not as practical as “brief therapy” techniques that are more pragmatic.  Realistically, how often am I going to get the opportunity to go 20 sessions + with someone with EAP and managed care looming around the corner?  Not often, I suppose.  It’s more likely to be the croutons on my metaphorical presentation salad, there’s too much meat and too many vegetarians to serve Analytical Psychotherapy as the main course in 22nd Century counseling.  It’s still an intriguing option nonetheless, one that I will definitely continue to read whether it’s assigned or not… it interests me.

I would have put existential therapy at the top of the list if it were a legitimate “stand alone” school of therapy.  I really enjoy the duality and the conflict involved in relativism.  I like shooting for the moon… talking about the BIG PROBLEMS (Death, The Meaning of Life, etc).  I really like that it is more person centered and holistic, as compared to reductionist (like ABA).  I like the idea of creating meaning for people… love, marriage, family, religion, etc.  (Corsini & Wedding, 2011, p. 340)  I would, however, like to bring it back down to earth, if you will… it’s a bit “out there” sometimes.

My last choice would have to be Cognitive Therapy for no other reason that it is so dominant in the field right now.  It seems to be the tool of choice for most people, I don’t suspect we will have any difficulty finding someone to write on this one.  I like the concept of guided discovery, and I am particularly drawn to cognitive restructuring as it relates to phobias, OCD, and eating disorders.  If I had a problem with cognitive therapy at all, it’s that everyone is doing it… and while I can hardly afford to neglect it, CBT just doesn’t “excite me” like the opportunity to measure behavior.  Mostly a personal preference I suppose.

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References

Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied Behavior Analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Corsini, R. J., & Wedding, D. (2011). Current psychotherapies (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Nature, nurture, and the effect of theory on personal development


The adoption of one or more developmental theories could have significant implications on implementation of real world therapy practices. Our theoretical worldview has the potential to bias our views of developmental change and the antecedents that drive that change. Will the therapist sitting across from you attribute your current situation to biological antecedents? Is nature responsible for (insert any psychological condition here)? Or, instead, will your therapist choose to focus on the environmental and societal factors that have influenced your personal developmental trajectory? Before any of us engage a therapist, or any of us engage in the practice of therapy, we should consider the theoretical underpinnings that form the foundation of our helping professionals’ worldview. Obviously there’s a good reason why individual therapists choose the theories they do… conscious consumers should not be afraid to ask for the reason.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

When change occurs in my personal life, I usually attribute it to entropy. The illusion of being able to control my environment is tempting to say the least, but I believe self realization comes as a result of accepting that you have little or no control over the sequence and timing of developmental change. For me, clinical counseling represents a vehicle by which individuals learn to control reactions to a constantly changing chaotic world. My goal for all of my clients, and for myself, is to be able to embrace change and employ it as a springboard to drive structural, functional, and behavioral growth. To me, it’s almost irrelevant as to whether it is “governed by nature (i.e., genetics, maturation or biological structures) or nurture (i.e., child rearing methods, cultural values, planned learning experiences, unplanned life events).” (Bergen, 2008, p. 3) Regardless of the governance, the reality is that we have the opportunity to change tomorrow by acting today.

As I continue to process and refine my own theoretical perspective on human development, my expectation is that the theory provides individuals I serve with an outcome that can be predicted with reasonable certainty. For example, if we engage dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) I should be able to predict with reasonable certainty that you will experience an increase in mindfulness. If DBT fails to produce that result, I am content to attribute that failure to individual variability… to me, it doesn’t much matter if it’s nature or nurture… so long as we identify the point of failure and try again (this time modified to fit the individualized participant). Perhaps we could integrate religious and metaphysical concepts into the effort to increase the traction of our DBT efforts. Or, perhaps we will go in a parallel direction and focus more on interpersonal effectiveness or emotion regulation since they are contributing factors to the overall efficacy of DBT? Maybe we abandon DBT altogether and take another angle? The options are endless… but a theory some provide some direction, some purpose, to the decisions that are made in that process.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) meets all of my expectations for a theoretical construct. ABA is committed to resolving real world issues not theoretical quandaries. Practical importance is at the forefront of my interest. ABA focuses on the behavior that needs improvement, not just any behavior. Good results must be measurable, conceptually systematic, and able to be replicated. Finally, a good theory must possess generality of the in the respect that it lasts over time and it appears in environments other than the one in which… it was implemented. (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007, p. 18)

As a sidebar…

Does anyone out there have any real world examples of entrainment? (juxtaposition of one or more systems to form new combinations)

What strategies do you use to ensure you are employing “activated knowledge” as defined by Bergen (2008) on page 33?

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

References

Bergen, D. (2008). Human development: Traditional and contemporary theories. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied Behavior Analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.