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“Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Basics and Beyond”

With today’s material on CBT, I’m starting a section in which I’ll introduce to you the books that have influenced me the most as a specialist. Among them, there will be both old “classics” and modern influential theories. Some of the books are intended for professionals, others for the general public, so I hope everyone will find an attractive idea to add to their reading list. Unfortunately, some of the books are still not translated into Bulgarian.

I’ll start with “Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Basics and Beyond” by Dr. Judith Beck. Not because it’s my favorite, but because it is one of the few books on CBT* that are translated into Bulgarian and that are foundational. If you want to understand what this approach is, this book is a good start.

Here’s the context: the author’s father, Dr. Aaron Beck, is one of the pioneers of the cognitive-behavioral modality. Together with Dr. Albert Ellis, they laid the foundation for this modality in the second half of the 20th century. Beck called his model Cognitive Therapy, and Ellis – Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy.

Dr. Judith Beck worked together with her father as they founded the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 1994. The institute certifies specialists working with Beck’s method.

I read ‘Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Basics and Beyond’ for the first time during my undergraduate program. CBT was one of the modalities presented in a personality theory course I took. Later, it was on the required reading list for my cognitive-behavioral therapy course in my master’s program. In 2020, the third edition of the book was released, but the Bulgarian market currently offers the second edition from 2011.

The book is a practical guide for planning, structuring, and evaluating sessions. It covers all the necessary components of effective counseling/therapy sessions. It includes sample dialogues from sessions that illustrate the practical application of the presented theory. It also has specific exercises that you can use on your own or assign to clients. The appendices contain the therapist rating scale, which will guide you on what skills you need to develop.

“Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Basics and Beyond” is a good textbook for an introductory CBT course. The language is easy to digest, so the volume should not scare you. The first part discusses the theoretical basis of the model and introduces the basic techniques. The second part deals with the application of the model in specific cases. It also presents some common challenges, as well as strategies for dealing with them.”

If you are interested in certification in the model, this book will be part of the mandatory literature in the initial phase – “Foundations of CBT”. If you are considering using consultative services in this model and want to get a closer look at it, the book will give you the opportunity to try to apply some techniques on your own. It contains detailed instructions on how to apply the exercises, worksheets, and practical tasks presented.

If you are interested in CBT and want to follow the new directions in which it is developing, you can subscribe to the newsletter of the Beck Institute.

*The term “Cognitive Behavior Therapy” refers to Dr. Aaron Beck’s model. The term “cognitive-behavioral therapy” or “cognitive-behavioral therapies” refers to the entire modality in psychotherapy that includes several dozen models.

You can see more about me and the cognitive behavioral approach .

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