Donald Meichenbaum on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
by Donald Meichenbaum
In this conversation with Donald Meichenbaum, the founder of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy relates the origins and ongoing evolution of his approach. He shares the method behind his ingenuity and keen clinical judgment in a way that challenges the viewer to cultivate their own openness to new ways of engaging in therapy.
Part of the 8-video series: Perspectives in Behavior Therapy
In an attempt to increase the efficacy of behavior therapy techniques, Donald Meichenbaum started paying attention to the cognitive and affective components of his client’s stories. The resulting method, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, is arguably one of the most widely used and influential forms of therapy today. Describing how his style developed, Meichenbaum shares an entertaining vignette depicting the way his mother tells stories – and reveals his hunch that the change process has a strong literary component. “One can look at all psychotherapy as an occasion of where the therapist hears the story that clients tell. All therapies are a series of soaps. And the question becomes, in some sense, what does a therapist do with those stories? And what does the client do with those stories?”

Identifying with investigative journalist I.F. Stone as an exemplar of iconoclastic wisdom, Meichenbaum has carefully nurtured his critical eye. This quality led to his being labeled a ‘malcontent’ by the old guard behavior therapists early in his career, and it continues to keep his mind open to advancements in therapy, regardless of theoretical orientation. He warns that therapists can become overly invested in technique, laments the didactic style of some cognitive therapy, and admonishes behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapists to ask questions of other orientations, rather than rejecting them outright. Advocating for the movement to integrate therapeutic orientations, Meichenbaum offers specific encouragement and advice to therapists to keep an open mind and use their own critical judgment to increase their therapeutic effectiveness.

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By watching this video, you will:
  • Learn about the origins and evolution of cognitive-behavioral therapy.
  • Appreciate the imperative to question the tenets of any therapeutic orientation.
  • Understand why building a therapeutic alliance is more important than specific techniques.
  • Describe what makes a strong therapeutic relationship.

Length of video: 00:48:55

Number of Discs: 0

English subtitles available on: Stream

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Donald Meichenbaum, PhD is Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychology at the University of Waterloo, and founding member of The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment. He holds the dual distinction of having been voted "one of the ten most influential psychotherapists of the century" (reported in the American Psychologist) and being the most cited psychology researcher at a Canadian university.

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CE credits: 1

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about the origins and evolution of cognitive-behavioral therapy.
  • Appreciate the imperative to question the tenets of any therapeutic orientation.
  • Understand why building a therapeutic alliance is more important than specific techniques.
  • Describe what makes a strong therapeutic relationship.
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