THERAPY THEORIESSummary of the Key Points

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Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) associates three main concepts. The human person works through feelings, thoughts, and behavior, each of these influencing the other but ultimately informing the behavior of the person. Thus the human person is complex and dynamic and the focus of the therapy is on behavior, how the person acts based upon their thoughts and feelings. Reality therapy focuses on three Rs: realism, responsibility, and right and wrong. This therapy looks at the person in the current situation, the here and now, as opposed to considering their past and upbringing. It is an intensely reality driven approaching, assuming that the reality is present reality. This holds a person responsible for their actions rather than viewing them as victims of some sort of behavior or problem. And this occurs in a framework of morality, of right and wrong.

Summary statements of comparisons and contrasts between the theories
Both of these therapies focus on the human person. They are quite individual in that regard. Neither CBT nor reality therapy consider the person as a primarily communal creature. And it does not view the person as responsible to a higher being or a community of persons. The closest that a theory comes to such a view is reality therapy, that seems to suggest some latent moral code in the universe. Aside from this, the two therapies share their individualistic approach.

The two theories also consider how to improve a person’s situation. They are not only explanatory but resolution based. That is, the therapies do not aim to simply inform the person about what is occurring in the world or in themselves. The therapies actually aim to change that person’s reality, whether in thought or deed or response, and does not wish that the situation remains as it is. This primarily focuses on changing the future, even with the reality therapy’s focus on the here and now.

The therapies differ, however, on their approach to the human person. The CBT views the human as an integrated being of thoughts, feelings, and actions. While it privies the actions of the human, it sees their thoughts and feelings as contributing to those behaviors in a dynamic way. The reality therapy does not consider the person as an integrated whole who must then be examined in parts, like CBT does. Reality therapy rather considers the emotional contexts of the person, their responsibility and the moral world in which the human lives. In this way, the view is broader than the CBT type.

CBT will look into a person’s past. The influence of parents, prior events, and past situations will inform the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves. It especially informs how that person will respond to a current situation. In short, CBT looks to the past and accounts for the client’s history. In contrast, reality therapy considers the human person in the present reality. The here and now of the person is what is considered significant rather than the past and the history of formation.

Summary of the applications of each theory to multicultural counseling
CBT applies to multicultural counseling best by considering the differences in behavior across cultures. It considers the individual person and their behavior and how this might adapt to another culture for the benefit of the group. Reality considers the present and here and now responses of these people from different cultures and explains those dynamics.

Assessment of each theory’s applications to substances use counseling
CBT accounts for history and focuses on behavior. This might be well applied to a person with addiction. However, reality therapy considers present circumstance and does not look at history. So it might focus better on present emotions related to things like depression or anger. But no single therapy theory can accomplish everything.