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Beyond opposites: extending the cultural boundaries of CBT methodology

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In cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), a black or white perception of the world is generally considered to be a distortion of reality. This paper addresses the issue of bipolar or categorical thinking and its role in creating disturbance. It introduces a new quantitative methodology known as fuzzy logic (FL) and shows its potential in developing new effective CBT strategies to address bipolar thinking. The paper maintains that the roots of such thinking can be traced back to the Aristotelian logic which posits a 'black or white' view of the world. It is argued that a bipolar perspective is no longer defendable given recent developments in the field of literature, physics and logic. Moreover CBT can derive significant benefits by embracing the fuzzy logic paradigm. In particular it can, first, benefit by improving the degree of precision of its diagnostic tools and, second, by applying the FL principles to derive alternative strategies for inducing healthy changes in clients. Such improvements are believed to enhance CBT profile in terms of the degree of realism, flexibility and efficiency of its methods. The illustrations offered throughout this paper are based on the two main CBT perspectives; rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT) and cognitive therapy (CT).
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: City and Guilds of London Institute

Publication date: June 1, 2000

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