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Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches (From Correctional Assessment, Casework, and Counseling, P 205-224, 2001, Anthony Walsh, -- See NCJ-192641)

NCJ Number
Anthony Walsh
Date Published
20 pages
This chapter focuses on cognitive-behavioral approaches to offender treatment.
The component parts of cognitive-behavioral therapy are behaviorism, cognitive theory, and social learning theory. Behaviorism asserts that behavior is determined by its consequences. The behavioral theorist maintains that the level of sensitivity has been shaped by previous experience (through rewards or punishments) and can be changed by shaping it in the opposite direction. Cognitive theorists agree that maladaptive behavior has been shaped by experience but they assert that self-defeating behaviors are the result of unproductive thought patterns relating to these past experiences. Social learning theorists believe that behavior is not only learned in stimulus/response/reward/punishment fashion, but also learned by modeling and imitation. Lifestyle theory contains three key concepts: conditions, choice, and cognition. A criminal lifestyle is the result of choices criminals make, although it is acknowledged that choices take place “within the limits established by early and current biological/environmental conditions.” Among the most important biological and environmental conditions affecting behavioral choices are temperament and IQ. Cognition is the cognitive styles people develop as a consequence of their biological/environmental conditions and the pattern of choices they have made in response to them. According to this theory, lifestyle criminals display eight major cognitive features that make them what they are: mollification, cutoff, entitlement, power orientation, sentimentality, superoptimism, cognitive indolence, and discontinuity. These lead to four interrelated behavioral patterns or styles that almost guarantee criminality: rule breaking, interpersonal intrusiveness, self-indulgence, and irresponsibility. The Oregon SUMMIT Boot Camp works toward teaching offenders both the thinking skills and awareness about how thinking influences action. SUMMIT stands for Success Using Motivation, Morale, Intensity and Treatment. Research shows that SUMMIT graduates stay out of trouble more often and longer than their peers; and the State of Oregon saved more than 14 million dollars with the SUMMIT program. 23 references, 1 figure