Sample on Theories Reflection-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Theory

Theories Reflection- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Theory

There are several theories or approaches important in social work practice. Some of these approaches include crisis and task-centered practice, cognitive-behavioral practice, humanistic practice, empowerment and advocacy, systems and ecological practice, anti-oppressive and multicultural sensitivity approaches to practice, as well as strengths, narrative, and solution practice. The theory or approach to social work practice added to my theoretical repertoire is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

CBT can be defined as a time-limited and structured approach to social work practice that focuses mainly on addressing the current problems of the client. According to Payne (2016), a major contribution of the CBT approach to social work is its emphasis on the need to develop clients’ rational management of their behavior so as to understand better the source of clients’ problems. Social work practice that arises from CBT majorly focuses on the management and change of people’s behaviors in a bid to resolve social problems affecting them in one way or another. CBT uses two primary strategies; problem-focused cognitive and behavioral strategies that are derived from theories of learning and cognition and guided by empirical science (Weaver et al., 2014). In social work, CBT is used as it understands the importance of both behavior and cognition, and client outcomes are usually based on cognitive, behavioral, and emotional changes.

In the social work context, a major emphasis of the CBT model is that client distress is not caused by a situation or circumstance but the client’s view or interpretation of a particular event. This model further asserts that thought, emotions, and behavior are not only intertwined but also affect one another. When a client consistently has maladaptive thoughts and behaviors, he or she can encounter numerous problems. Thus, the use of the CBT approach on such a client is beneficial as it helps in challenging the maladaptive thoughts and teaching the client how the damaging behaviors can be changed (Murphey, 2018). Despite the continued use of CBT in social work, controversies surround its use. One of the controversies is that CBT is at the center of the EBP debate. Supporters of CBT claim that it is one of the approaches to social work with the best and longest developed evidence base that underlines its effectiveness. However, a critique of CBT is the limitation of the said claim especially in relation to taking a broad view of social work practice (Payne, 2016). Another controversy surrounds CBT is practitioners’ concern with regard to values. The fact that practitioners rely on CBT in the manipulation of behavior points to the client’s inability to consent.

As a social work practitioner, I would use the CBT model to offer services to clients in the future. One of the model’s techniques that I would use with clients is psychoeducation. This technique entails teaching clients relevant psychological principles and knowledge while relying on materials that convey information about a diagnosis, treatment rationale, and research findings (Weaver et al., 2014).  I would utilize various didactic materials for this purpose some of which include books, videos, pamphlets, and websites tailored to the client’s literacy and education level, interests, privacy needs, skills, and distress level. I would also utilize behavioral interventions when offering services to clients. Some of the behavioral interventions that I would use include social skills training, problem-solving training, relaxation training, exposure, and behavioral activation.

A theory added to my theoretical repertoire after reading Payne (2014) textbook is CBT. This approach emphasizes the importance of developing rational management of the client’s behavior in a bid to understand the source of the client’s problems. CBT argues that the client’s distress is not a result of a situation or circumstance but the client’s view or interpretation of a particular event. I would use the model to offer services to clients in the future relying on its techniques such as psychoeducation and behavioral interventions.


Murphey. (2018, August 3). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Social Work and How It’s Used. Retrieved from

Payne, M. (2016). Modern social work theory. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Weaver, A., Himle, J., Steketee, G., & Muroff, J. (2014). Cognitive-behavioral therapy. In Encyclopedia of Social Work. Retrieved from