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How to Build Self-Esteem in Teens & Adults with a History of Abuse
10 CEUs How to Build Self-Esteem in Teens & Adults with a History of Abuse

Section 14
Commitment Therapy

Question 14 | Test | Table of Contents | Self-Esteem CEU Courses
Social Worker CEU, Psychologist CE, Counselor CEU, & MFT CEU

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In the last section, we discussed depression and anxiety co-occurring with low self esteem.  We examined primary depression and primary anxiety disorder.

In this section, we will discuss encouraging commitment.  This will include two cognitive behavior therapy methods for encouraging commitment.  These two methods are creating commitment statements and commitment slogans.  With so many consequences affecting so many vital areas of living, it is of inestimable benefit to clients to maintain the constructive self critical perspectives and behaviors that they have acquired in therapy. 

However, do you agree that some client’s may reach their therapeutic goals and then, within a few weeks or months, return to their old modes of self criticism?  You are probably already familiar with a number of techniques for preventing such regressions.  However, additional means for helping clients make a deep personal commitment will be provided in these next two sections. 

2 CBT Methods for Encouraging Commitment

♦ Method #1:  Commitment Slogans
First, let’s discuss commitment slogans.  Various slogans, mottos, aphorisms, and maxims may be recommended to clients or may be devised by them personally.  Do you agree that such slogans should be tailored to specific clients?  I find that, ideally, the slogan prescribed would be a crystallization of the primary solution that has worked for your client ad would capture the ideology or perspective behind this solution. 

For example, do you remember Joan from Section 7, the section which introduced the use of the howitzer mantras? Joan continued the use of that technique in order to commit herself to compassion toward herself.  In much the same way as Alcoholics Anonymous use the slogan ‘One day at a time,’ Joan devised a slogan to remind herself of a perspective on her personal efforts that framed them in a more manageable and less overwhelming way.  Joan stated, "My slogan is, ‘Perfection is a guide star, not a destination.’" 

What type of slogan might your client use?  Other considerations may include tailoring the specific language, degree of sentimentality, and favored images or metaphors to the specific client.  Would you agree that designing or selecting such slogans carefully will enhance the likelihood that they will intrigue and captivate clients and will be adopted by them as a very economical means for recapturing complex solutions and for renewing their personal commitment to it?

♦ Method #2:  Commitment Statements
In addition to commitment slogans, another way to encourage commitment is by commitment statements.  As you may already know, a commitment statement is similar to a slogan in that it is a highly condensed vehicle for crystallizing an important perspective or solution into a few words.  Further, like a slogan, it is designed to be recited by the client as a reminder and as a reaffirmation of commitment. 

Such a statement may be memorized or it may be written on a small card and kept in the client’s wallet or purse for easy access.  Such a commitment statement was written for David, from section 12.  I stated to David, "This statement may be recited each morning, evening, or on any other schedule found to be helpful.  It should never be read passively, but always in a spirit of reaffirmation and rededication to its content."The final version of David’s commitment statement was the result of an initial rough draft and subsequent revisions. 

Four considerations that went into designing David’s statement: 
1. David was ethically oriented,
2. Was a competent and dedicated father of three children,
3. Had problems primarily with the self degradation and hanging judge varieties of self criticism. 
4. And finally, fourth was that David had an affinity for a William Butler Yeats poem entitled ‘A Deepsworn Vow.’  David read his commitment statement as a promise to himself to be a certain kind of self critic. 

David stated, "Today, my job – indeed my moral commitment and deepsworn vow – is to take care of you, as a good parent takes care of his child.  It is to notice, acknowledge, and appreciate your strengths, accomplishments, enjoyments, and moral actions.  It is also to notice and to acknowledge when things have gone wrong.  When these are correctable, I will try to correct you without degrading you are attacking you viciously, remembering that this only destroys you and does not help you to change anything.  When they are not correctable, I categorically refuse to take your personal limitations and failings and use these as ammunition to destroy you." 

Think of your client.  Could it be productive to play this section for him or her in an upcoming session?

In this section, we discussed encouraging commitment.  This will include two methods for encouraging commitment.  These two methods are creating commitment statements and commitment slogans.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Bass, C., van Nevel, J., & Swart, J. (2014). A comparison between dialectical behavior therapy, mode deactivation therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy in the treatment of adolescents. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 9(2), 4–8.

Burke, E., Pyle, M., Machin, K., Varese, F., & Morrison, A. P. (2019). The effects of peer support on empowerment, self-efficacy, and internalized stigma: A narrative synthesis and meta-analysis. Stigma and Health, 4(3), 337–356.

Dunkley, D. M., Starrs, C. J., Gouveia, L., & Moroz, M. (2020). Self-critical perfectionism and lower daily perceived control predict depressive and anxious symptoms over four years. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 67(6), 736–746.

Gaudiano, B. A. (2010). Evaluating acceptance and commitment therapy: An analysis of a recent critique. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 5(3-4), 311–329.

Jacob, J., Canchola, J. A., & Preston, P. (2019). Young adult children of parents with disabilities: Self-esteem, stigma, and overall experience. Stigma and Health, 4(3), 310–319.

Wolitzky-Taylor, K. B., Arch, J. J., Rosenfield, D., & Craske, M. G. (2012). Moderators and non-specific predictors of treatment outcome for anxiety disorders: A comparison of cognitive behavioral therapy to acceptance and commitment therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 80(5), 786–799.

What are two CBT methods for encouraging commitment? To select and enter your answer go to Test.
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