Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the bad isms of prejudice.

The bad isms are racism, sexism, ageism, etc, etc.  There is a lot of recent work on how to combat biases of these kinds, particularly implicit ones, of which their possessors are not aware, or are only slightly aware.  Leverhulme, for example, generously funded 4 workshops at Sheffield on the topic.

Cognitive Behavioral Theory could also be seen as addressing biases in one’s thinking.  It is also, apparently, empirically tested and quite successful.  Plus, it also often comes with great little handbooks.

Particularly attracted to the idea of developing a handbook, I’ve been wondering whether anyone has ever tried to do a CBT version for racism, etc.  (I’m assuming a technique not identical to plagiarism could make the handbook development easier than it might be if one were starting from scratch.)

Do you know of anyone who has tried to develop CBT for racism, sexism?

The state of Texas, and no doubt many other states and countries, have something like mandated workbooks for these things, which are on the web in the form of exams.  These are worthless, really.  What will you get if you give the same test to 800 faculty?  Lots and lots of copying.

3 thoughts on “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the bad isms of prejudice.

  1. I don’t know of anyone developing a handbook from CBT principles, but I’m a researcher in implicit attitudes who comes at the question from a Contextual Behavioural Science angle. The CBS approach also informs Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which is gaining empirical ground as a therapy that can hang with CBT outcome wise and also has a nifty handbook (Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life, by Steven C Hayes).

    I think that approach would be pretty powerful in informing a handbook for the various -isms. It’s certainly informed a lot of my own efforts in privilege checking and in reducing my own -isms. (I think pretty effectively…?)

  2. Anthony, I’ve thought a lot about your comments, and I really enjoyed exploring your blog, which has all sorts of interesting links. I’ll check out the handbook.

    Thanks for your comments!

  3. Thanks! I should really start posting there again, lost my steam when the writing energy went into the PhD. (He says, while the internal voice reminds him that excuses are boring).

    I’m happy to talk more (um… basically ad infinitum) about ACT, Relational Frame Theory (the behavioural theory underpinning ACT) and the -isms, so feel free to email me. The idea of an empirically grounded handbook is really exciting!

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