Wilson, Hayes, & Gifford, 1997

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APA Citation: 

Wilson, K. G., Hayes, S. C., & Gifford, E. V. (1997). Cognition in behavior therapy: Agreements and differences. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 28, 53-63.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Conceptual
Behavior Analysis: Conceptual
Publication Type: 
Cognitive therapy, Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance therapies, Integration, Cognitive Control, Methodological Behaviorism.

The issue of cognition has often been divisive among behavior therapists. Typically the debate has centered around the causal status of cognition. Cognitive psychologists have argued for the causal efficacy of cognition, while behavior analysts have argued against it. These disputes are not entirely empirical matters. In part, they reflect irreconcilable differences at the level of theory and philosophy. Such differences may make theoretical integration impossible. However, in this paper we examine the potential for reconciliation of the cognitive and behavioral wings of behavior therapy when the issue of cognition is approached as a shared content area, rather than at the level of theory and philosophy. Behavior therapy has always been comprised of very diverse theoretical positions. Historically they found common ground around a set of shared values centered on an empirical science of clinical work. We will argue that this core of shared values still exists, and that even controversial topics can provide an arena for reconciliation when we focus on the core values that initially brought us together.

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