From the first meeting the client and therapist engage in a process of 'collaborative empiricism' (J. Beck, 1995). This involves working together to identify the primary presenting problems, generating goals for therapy, selecting interventions and planning ways to avoid relapse. The therapist takes an active stance, supporting the client in working towards the therapy goals. Cognitive therapists are active and comfortable with structuring therapy sessions and the therapy process. When this collaboration is successfully established, the therapist and client work like a scientific partnership, approaching the client's problems together as a scientist approaches a scientific problem. Thoughts, beliefs and behaviours become hypotheses for testing, the basis for experiments to evaluate their basis in reality and their pragmatic value. This guided discovery process aims to develop good problem-solving skills and ultimately healthier ways of thinking and behaving.
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