Cognitive Therapy Applied to Personality Disorders

  • Arthur Freeman
  • Russell C. Leaf


In the last several years, there has been a growing interest in the study and understanding of personality disorders. Patients with personality disorders have been part of the clinician’s case load since the beginning of the recorded history of psychotherapy; the general psycho­therapeutic literature on the treatment of personality disorders, however, has emerged more recently and is growing quickly. The main theoretical orientation in the present literature is psychoanalytic (Abend, Porder, & Willick, 1983; Chatham, 1985; Goldstein, 1985; Gunder­son, 1984; Horowitz, 1977; Kernberg, 1975, 1984; Lion, 1981; Masterson, 1978, 1980, 1985; Reid, 1981; Saul & Warner, 1982). Millon (1981) is one of the few volumes in the area of personality disorders that offers a behavioral focus, and the volume by Beck, Freeman and associates (1989) will be the first to offer a specific cognitive-behavioral focus. This is of interest, in that leading cognitive therapists have been, and remain, interested in “personality disorder” and “personality change” (Hartman & Blankenstein, 1986). When Beck (1963a,b) and Ellis (1957a, 1958) first introduced cognitive approaches, they drew upon the ideas of “ego analysts,” derived from Adler’s critiques of early Freudian psychoanalysis. Though their therapeutic innovations were seen as radical, their earliest cognitive therapies were, in many ways, “insight therapies” in that the therapy was assumed to change a patient’s overt “personality,” whether or not the therapy changed some hypothesized underlying personality. Although Beck and Ellis were among the first to use a wide array of behavioral treatment techniques, including structured in vivo homework, they have consistently emphasized the therapeutic impact of these techniques on cognitive schemata and have argued in favor of the integration of behavioral techniques into therapy within a broad framework that has some roots in prior analytic practice (Beck, 1976; Ellis & Bernard, 1985); they and their associates have emphasized the impact of treatment for particular types, or styles, of cognitive errors on dysfunctional self-concepts, as well as on presenting focal problems (Beck & Freeman, 1989; Ellis, 1985; Freeman, 1987).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur Freeman
    • 1
  • Russell C. Leaf
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Cognitive Therapy, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Rational-Emotive TherapyNew YorkUSA

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