UCL News


Cognitive behavior therapy is explained

11 August 2006

An investigator explains cognitive behavior therapy in a recent issue of 'Behaviour Research and Therapy'.

According to that report, "Vulnerability to emotional disorders is thought to lie in memory representations (e.g., negative self-schemas) that are activated by triggering events and maintain negative mood. There has been considerable uncertainty about how the influence of these representations can be altered, prompted in part by the development of new metacognitive therapies. This article reviews research suggesting there are multiple memories involving the self that compete to be retrieved."

"It is proposed that CBT does not directly modify negative information in memory, but produces changes in the relative activation of positive and negative representations such that the positive ones are assisted to win the retrieval competition," said Professor Chris Brewin [UCL Psychology]. "This account is related to the treatment of common symptoms typical of emotional disorders, such as phobic reactions, rumination, and intrusive images and memories. It is shown to provide a parsimonious set of principles that have the potential to unify traditional and more modern variants of cognitive behavior therapy." …

'Medicine & Law Weekly'