Competing Response Training Therapy

Competing Response Training Therapy

CRT or competing response training is a method within cognitive behavioural analysis for altering responses to habits or trigger situations. It can be useful in situations where the response that currently exists is unhelpful or maladaptive.

We only use behavioural change processes to the objectives defined through client discussion and we NEVER impose social norms against the will of clients. We believe that behavioural training can empower people to have options about how they function in certain circumstances, but their unique and authentic selves must not be sacrificed. We particularly ensure that persons who are not neuro typical only use taught behaviours to enable themselves, and not to conform for the sake of others or society.

What might you address with CRT therapy?

Any situation where the current outcome is inappropriate can be modified with this cognitive analysis method.

Examples might include

  • Anger responses
  • Addiction responses
  • Unsociable responses
  • Withdrawn responses
  • Negative outcomes such as always “saying yes” or passive behaviour
  • Other habits

How does CRT work?

CRT is a form of cognitive behavioural analysis and has two main process parts:

AT or Awareness training enabled the person to become self aware in regard to the existing behaviour and it’s triggers. Related cognitive behavioural methods can be employed to achieve awareness if the client finds it hard to understand. These might include situational analysis, significant other analysis or active mindfulness.

CR or Competing response is the new strategy which is designed with the client. It is a personally chosen and individual new outcome which importantly competes with the original outcome. That is to say, the new outcome can not co-exist with the old one. Thus by doing the new behaviour, the old one can not be repeated. For example if an angry person has always gone to the pub for a pint and then overindulged, a new competing response might be to go to the gym instead.

Benefits of Competing Response Training

  1. Awareness of what and happening and why enables self knowledge and the development of new options and choices.
  2. Competing responses interfere with the old negative behaviour.
  3. Competing responses can be chosen that provide new and positive outcomes and benefits, thus improving well being and self reinforcing.
  4. By interfering with the old outcomes, these stop being reinforced and stop feeling acceptable and inevitable.
  5. Learning to implement new positive outcomes that they helped to co-create enables clients to become “skilled up” in developing their own future strategies, thus gaining independence.
Reinforcing CRT with other therapies

A typical criticism of methods like CRT is that it works out what would be a better option, but then the client struggles to manage it, perhaps because of an addictive element in the old pattern, or because of a lack of self confidence or assertiveness.

CRT is therefore often complemented with other methods such as motivational interviewing style counselling for addictions, assertiveness training, psycho-education training, step by step coaching and clinical hypnotherapy, mindfulness or Neuro Linguistic Programming.

Key Words
habit, addiction, trigger, outcome, maladaptive outcome, unhelpful behaviour, behavioural change, change behaviour, behavioural psychotherapy, behavioural psychology, cognitive behavioural analysis, cognitive behavioural therapy, hypnotherapy, mindfulness, CRT, competing response therapy, competing response psychotherapy, competing response psychoanalysis, Edinburgh, Stirling, Falkirk, Glasgow, Scotland

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