In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Cognitive Behavior Therapies with Diverse and Stressed Populations

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Assessment
  • Case Formulation
  • Schema Theory and Therapy
  • Cognitive Treatment with Children and Adolescents
  • Cognitive Treatment with Aging Populations
  • Cognitive Treatment with Diverse Groups
  • Problem-Solving Treatments
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Treatments
  • Cognitive Approaches to Stress Management
  • Cognitively Oriented Methods for Anxiety and Trauma

Social Work Cognitive Behavior Therapies with Diverse and Stressed Populations
Paula S. Nurius, Sara Green
  • LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 21 November 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0189


When psychotherapy was in the early stages of development, the terms “cognitive therapy” and “cognitive-behavioral therapy” signaled meaningful distinctions. However, those boundaries have blurred, and currently the terms tend to be used interchangeably. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the more common framing and is emphasized in this bibliography. CBT may be best understood as a general term for a classification of therapies with similarities. Overall, the CBT framework of human functioning is based on the premises that thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are inextricably linked and that each of these continuously interacts with, and influences, the others. Although the ways in which these cognitive-affective-behavioral processes operate are believed to be fairly universal, their content can vary greatly. CBT tends to take an educational and collaborative approach to client engagement. The therapist’s role tends to emphasize listening, teaching, demonstration, and encouragement. Treatment tends to be relatively brief and problem or solution focused. As the references included in this bibliography illustrate, the specific therapeutic strategies that a practitioner may use can span a considerable range across different clients, settings, and problem foci. Social workers and practitioners from allied disciplines use CBTs to address a wide range of psychosocial problems. CBTs have a strong record of empirical testing and support and have been found to be applicable in a variety of settings, from private practice offices to residential or long-term care facilities to community-based social services. However, CBTs have been, and continue to be, challenged and critiqued. As many life problems derive from social conditions, including inequalities and injustices, legitimate questions are raised about the use of clinical tools such as CBT that are directed more toward coping with, rather than changing, conditions. Critiques have spawned several lines of adaptation, extension, and differentiation, several of which are included in the selected entries in this bibliography. This bibliography is complementary to the Oxford Bibliographies article on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Resources on the theoretical and historical foundations of CBT are included, as well as core therapeutic principles and implementation guides. This article is oriented to include emerging emphases such as schema theory, emotion-focused cognitive therapies, and the growing role of mindfulness-based cognitive treatments. Current life stress, histories of adversity, and trauma exposure often characterize client profiles, thus stress-therapeutic and problem-solving cognitive resources are included. Finally, resources for cognitive therapies with varying age groups (including the rapidly evolving treatment with older adults) are provided as well as important considerations in application with broadly diverse groups. Attention is also paid to resources that are useful for the social work direct service practitioner and practice student, as well as broadly applicable to practitioners in related helping professions.

General Overviews

The sources in this overview section provide a range of perspectives on the development and application of cognitive therapies. Selections were made to reflect core components as well as the constantly evolving developments of this very dynamic field. Aaron Beck’s enormous imprint on cognitive therapy (CT) is evident in many of the selected works. Beck 2005a provides a brief, but rich, portrayal of a forty-year evolution. Judith Beck (Aaron Beck’s daughter) continues the legacy of contributions in Beck 2005b, which builds on her acclaimed Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond (New York: Guilford, 1995), going beyond basics to provide more advanced psychotherapeutic guidance. Cormier, et al. 2009 offers a training-oriented design, attentive to topics such as ethics, critical thinking, client resistance, and the helping relationship in addition to up-to-date developments in CBT. The remaining sources are all edited books, each providing distinctive elements that make for a complementary set. Dobson 2010 is scholarly yet accessible, explaining core CBT principles as well as specific change strategies used to clinical problems, and what the research reveals about the therapy’s effectiveness. O’Donohue and Fisher 2009 is close to encyclopedic, with broad coverage that includes guidance on implementation of many specific intervention strategies. Sperry 2006 focuses specifically on applications with personality disorders, including a review of recent developments in the evolution of CBT. Ronen and Freeman 2007 is written explicitly for clinical social work practice by some of the leaders in clinical and academic social work. Simos 2009 builds on an earlier volume, blending theories, focused techniques, and clinical flexibility from an international set of clinicians and researchers.

  • Beck, Aaron T. 2005a. The current state of cognitive therapy: A 40-year retrospective. Archives of General Psychiatry 62.9: 953–959.

    DOI: 10.1001/archpsyc.62.9.953

    Beck is considered by many to be one of the preeminent pioneers of CT. This article provides an overview of the evolution of cognitive theory and therapy since its earliest inception to its current status. The use of CT to treat depression and anxiety is highlighted. Available online by subscription.

  • Beck, Judith S. 2005b. Cognitive therapy for challenging problems: What to do when the basics don’t work. New York: Guilford.

    This book builds on prior overviews, addressing challenges with nonprogressing clients while using CBT. Emphasizing practical guidance and problem solving, a range of clinical issues is addressed, with particular attention to longstanding challenges such as those found in patients with personality disorders. Includes assessment tools.

  • Cormier, L. Sherilyn, Paula Nurius, and Cynthia J. Osborn. 2009. Interviewing and change strategies for helpers: Fundamental skills and cognitive behavioral interventions. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

    This classic text combines evidence-based interviewing skills and cognitive-behavioral-intervention change strategies applicable to a wide range of client ages, cultural backgrounds, and presenting problems. Strengths of the book include an emphasis on practical skills and real-life factors in contemporary settings with diverse clientele, with case models, learning activities, and guided feedback.

  • Dobson, Keith S., ed. 2010. Handbook of cognitive-behavioral therapies. 3d ed. New York: Guilford.

    This well-known edited handbook provides a comprehensive overview of CBT. Part of what is distinctive is its inclusion of historical and philosophical bases of cognitive therapies; assessment and case formulation; and application with youth, couples, and diverse populations.

  • O’Donohue, William T., and Jane E. Fisher, eds. 2009. General principles and empirically supported techniques of cognitive behavior therapy. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

    Designed more for breadth of coverage than for intensive detail. Includes nearly eighty chapters on individual therapies or therapeutic components of CBT. Written for graduate psychology students, it has broad relevance and accessibility to students and practitioners alike, attentive to a wide range of psychotherapeutic arenas.

  • Ronen, Tammie, and Arthur Freeman, eds. 2007. Cognitive behavior therapy in clinical social work practice. New York: Springer.

    A teaching text written by social workers for social workers, with ample relevance for other helping professions. In addition to basic foundations of CBT, the twenty-six chapters include attention to developmental factors, cultural diversity, and comorbidity in addition to specific frequently encountered disorders in children, adults, couples, and families.

  • Simos, Gregoris, ed. 2009. Cognitive behavior therapy: A guide for the practicing clinician. Vol. 2. New York: Routledge.

    Somewhat unique in its inclusion of contributors from Canada and Europe. This is a very clinically oriented and techniques-focused CBT manual, dealing with specific clinical conditions (e.g., social anxiety, psychoses, depressive relapses, posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD], body dysmorphia, and gambling addictions).

  • Sperry, Len. 2006. Cognitive behavior therapy of DSM-IV-TR personality disorders: Highly effective interventions for the most common personality disorders. 2d ed. New York: Routledge.

    Provides an overview of the field, including recent advances such as dialectical behavior therapy, schema therapy, cognitive coping therapy, structured intervention strategies, cognitive behavioral analysis system of psychotherapy, and developmental psychopathology. Also reviews treatment for specific personality disorders and follows the treatment process in its various stages: engagement, pattern analysis, pattern change and termination, and pattern maintenance, including follow-up and relapse prevention.

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