Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Antisocial Personality Disorder
Along with social learning techniques, cognitive behavioral techniques are the most commonly used treatment methods for antisocial personality disorder. Although there is not a sufficient body of research investigating cognitive behavioral therapy and antisocial personality disorder, its techniques show promise in some cases.
Cognitive behavioral relapse prevention theory in particular, is associated with successful correctional treatment programs. It works on the premise that antisocial behavior (and indeed all behaviors) are learned, motivated and reinforced by internal (within the person) and external (within the environment) factors. Various cognitive behavioral methods can be used to implement new cognitive and behavioral strategies to break the chain of antisocial behavior.
Cognitive behavioral methods may be effective in treating antisocial personality disorder patients with mild to moderate psychopathy who are motivated to change, respond in the same way as the general population to aversive consequences, and who have realized the consequences of their antisocial behavior.
However, cognitive behavioral methods are unlikely to be effective on antisocial personality disorder patients with severe psychopathy. This is due to several reasons. Firstly, as psychopathy increases anxiety decreases and with it the personal discomfort that motivates a person to change. Secondly, many patients with severe psychopathy have been to found to lack an attachment capacity and will therefore be unable to form an alliance with their therapist. The ability to form an alliance with a therapist has been shown to be related to the effectiveness of all treatments. Lastly, those with severe psychopathy are unable to forsee the long term consequences of their actions, or reflect on the past consequences of their actions.