Strengths And Weaknesses

Strengths of cognitive-behavioral approaches have been summarized by Rotgers (1996) and include:

(1) flexibility in meeting individual needs,

(2) acceptability to a wide range of substance-abusing individuals seen in clinical settings,

(3) solid grounding in established principles of behavior theory and behavior change,

(4) an emphasis on linking science to treatment,

(5) well-specified treatment goals and clear guidelines for assessing treatment progress,

(6) emphasis on building self-efficacy, and

(7) a comparatively strong level of empirical support.

These approaches are highly flexible, and can be used in a number of treatment modalities and settings, can be applied across different types of sub stance use with minor modifications, and are compatible with a wide range of other treatment approaches, including family therapy and pharmacotherapy. Another advantage is that these approaches have emphasized clear specification of treatment and a variety of manuals are available, thus allowing a high level of technology transfer. Disadvantages of this group of approaches include:

(1) research evaluating these approaches have tended not to emphasize the importance of isolating and evaluating the specific 'active ingredients' associated with behavior change,

(2) comparative underutilization of these approaches outside of academic treatment settings (Rotgers, 1996), and

(3) lack of emphasis on patient motivation and specific procedures for addressing the patient's readiness for change.

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