Cognitive behaviour therapy territory model: effective disputing approach


  • Danny Lam RMN RNT PGCE DipGH GBR Bsc BA MSc MA

    Corresponding author
    1. Senior Lecturer, Joint Faculty of Healthcare Sciences, Kingston University and St George's Medical School, London, England and Honorary Cognitive behaviour Therapist of Surrey Heartland NHS Trust
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Mr. Danny Lam, 4 Barons Hurst, Woodcote, Epsom, Surrey KT18 7DU, England.


This paper proposes a disputing model (territory model) which is particularly useful and effective for disputing clients who persistently hold on to their dysfunctional thinking and/or core irrational beliefs. Their 'stubbornness' to change is compounded by unhealthy negative emotions during sessions. The intense emotion makes it difficult to access the belief system, and therefore any attempt to dispute it often proves futile. This model advocates the shift of disputing onto a different ‘territory/ground’ where the client can be facilitated to acquire higher, abstract and objective thinking, and at the same time his/her emotional level is susceptible to rational and logical arguments. The new thinking would act as a catalyst for the client to reflect on his/her dysfunctional thought/irrational beliefs. In this paper, the author uses a case example to illustrate and discuss the ineffectiveness of the ‘traditional’ way of disputing the dysfunctional thinking/core beliefs of a difficult and emotional client. This is contrasted with the ‘territory’ model.