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Elements of Buddhist philosophy in cognitive psychotherapy: the role of cultural specifics and universals

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This article traces current and emerging themes from Buddhist philosophy and psychology that have increasingly appeared in western cognitive psychotherapeutic practices. We argue that this interest has occurred within the context of post-modernist, relativistic thinking patterns first exemplified by the constructivistic movement within cognitive psychotherapy. This in turn has arisen from a world-wide clash of cultures in which western cognitive psychotherapies have been forced to reconsider some of their own tacit assumptions. Ideas for the future development of cognitive psychotherapies using Buddhist and Eastern ways of thinking are presented.

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Cognitive Behavior Therapy: evidence and new directions

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Psychotherapy is a diffuse, complex, multi-faceted undertaking. It has been practiced and investigated for decades and much of the literature could be summarized as, “It all depends…” That is, after thousands of studies and generations of theorizing, few interventions derived from theory appear to be uniquely successful and none account for the major source of variance in client change. From the beginning, it has based its theory, practice, and research on the medical model, both for historical and professional status reasons. Freud was a physician and only after the Second World War did psychologists begin conducting psychotherapy in significant numbers in the United States. In addition, because the practice and the professional training standards for psychologists were established at that time with powerful assistance from the U.S. Veterans Administration Medical Centers, educational and training parity with physicians was important. Thus, the doctorate (at that time the Ph.D.) was set by the American Psychological Association as the entry-level degree for practice in the United States. I will use two recent and important books to demonstrate the complexity and the equivocal results of psychotherapy theory, research, practice as well as its promise for the amelioration of human distress.

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