to Changing Body Image
THOMAS F. CASH
MELISSA D. STRACHAN
During the past 40 years, the cognitive or cognitive-behavioral paradigm emerged as a "fourth force" in psychotherapy, on the heels of psychoanalytic, strictly behavioristic, and humanistic approaches. Although cognitivebehavioral therapies (CBT) do not derive from a singular perspective, the shared tenets and values of CBT proponents often include (1) either a rational or a constructivist emphasis on individuals' learned views of their environment, their life events, and themselves; (2) the related proposition that cognition mediates behavior and behavioral change as well as emotion and emotional change; (3) a belief that cognitive contents and processes can be accessed and altered; and (4) a valuing of psychological science for understanding, preventing, and treating problems in living.
The scientific allegiance of CBT has afforded it a central position among empirically supported treatments of psychological disorders. CBT's proponents believe that, through carefully executed clinical trials, effective treatment based on specifiable interventions is demonstrable. Such data encourage application of CBT to different problems and different populations. In this manner, CBT has evolved as a treatment of choice for many disorders, including body image dysfunctions. To appreciate the conceptual bases of CBT approaches to changing body image, see two chapters in Part I of this volume: Cash presents a detailed cognitive-behavioral model, and Williamson and his colleagues discuss a cognitive information-processing perspective.