Criminal justice textbook conflates CBT and confronting criminal thinking errors

Stohr and Walsh’s 2018  textbook Corrections: From Research, to Policy to Practice explicitly conflates confronting criminal thinking errors with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Samenow and Yochelson’s Criminal Personality Theory and/or  juvenile justice treatment programs based on confronting clients with their criminal thinking errors  are  widely thought to build on a well research validated evidence-based practice.  This is true despite the fact that no treatment program with Criminal Personality or Criminal Thinking Errors or any combination thereof in its title appears in registries of evidence-based practice.

But a 2018 textbook by distinguished criminologists and professors of criminal justice Mary Stohr and Anthony Walsh may explain why this perception exists and why a focus on Samenow and Yochelson’s criminal thinking errors are so deeply entrenched in corrections, both adult and juvenile.

In the chapter titled “Correctional Programming and Treatment” (Chapter 11) of Stohr and Walsh’s 2018 textbook Corrections: From Research, to Policy, to Practice, the authors could not more explicitly conflate confronting criminal thinking errors with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy then in the CBT section  title and its first two sentences:

Chapter 11 title:    “Correctional Programming and Treatment”

Section title:   “CBT and Criminal Thought”:

First two sentences following:    “The first lesson of CBT is that criminals think differently from the rest of us.  Yochelson and Samenow (1976) and Samenow (1999) pioneered treatment theories based on challenging thinking errors when they realized that modalities based on “outside circumstances” don’t work.”  (Stohr & Walsh, 2018, p. 272).

It is noteworthy that CBT and Motivational Interviewing are the only two evidence-based practices cited in this textbook.  One would never guess that the specific application of CBT in corrections treatment programs that builds on the work of Samenow and Yochelson to focus on confronting “Criminal Thinking Errors” is based on deeply flawed and non-replicated research that has never achieved evidence-based status.

Stohr, M. and Walsh, A. (2018) Corrections: From Research, to Policy, to Practice. Thousand Oaks, California:  Sage Publications.

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