to the top

#13 - Therapist: Cognitive psychotherapy focuses on changing

quiz555
LSAT Apprentice
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:12 pm
Points: 0

I'm having a tough time understanding the difference between answer choices B and D. Though B is the correct answer, I am not understanding why D is incorrect. May someone help please!!

Thank you in advance
Nikki Siclunov
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 1383
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:31 am
Points: 1,208

The argument is structured as follows:

Premise: Cognitive psychotherapy focuses on changing a patient's conscious beliefs.

Premise: Other forms of psychotherapy focus on changing unconscious beliefs.

Premise: Only conscious beliefs are under the patient's direct control.

Conclusion: Cognitive psychotherapy is likely to be more effective.

Clearly, to strengthen the argument we need to establish that the effective use of psychotherapy depends, at least in part, on its ability to alter beliefs that are under the patient's direct control:

ET = Effective Therapy
PC = Focus on beliefs that are under patient's control

ET ==> PC

Answer choice (B) presents a similar conditional relationship, albeit in the contrapositive.

Answer choice (D) relates to the effectiveness of other forms of psychotherapy, i.e. those that focus on changing the patient's unconscious beliefs. The point of the argument is not to describe how to make these forms of psychotherapy more effective, but rather to establish that cognitive psychotherapy is preferable to other forms of psychotherapy. Even though answer choice (D) may be an inference we can deduce from the information provided in the stimulus (indeed, changing a patient's conscious beliefs is a necessary condition for the effective use of psychotherapy), our job is to answer a Strengthen question, not a Must Be True question.
Nikki Siclunov
PowerScore Test Preparation
quiz555
LSAT Apprentice
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:12 pm
Points: 0

Thank you for your help!

I'm still not quite clear exactly why my reasoning was incorrect however.

Doesn't answer choice D help the conclusion by ruling out all other forms of psychotherapy as effective and thereby establishing that cognitive psychotherapy must be more effective than any other form?

In other words, since answer choice D can be reduced to:

IF effective at changing the patient's unconscious beliefs and desires,
THEN (it is necessary that) it also helps change beliefs that are under the patient's direct conscious control.

Since ONLY conscious beliefs are under the patient's direct conscious control, and since other forms of psychotherapy do not focus on conscious beliefs, then other forms of psychotherapy do not allow for direct conscious control.

IF Direct conscious control, then focus on conscious beliefs.
Other forms do not focus on conscious beliefs,
THEREFORE, it is not under direct conscious control.

Now with this conclusion negating the necessary condition for Answer Choice D wouldn't we be left with: since not under patient's direct conscious control, then cannot be effective.

So, if it cannot be effective, then the conclusion of the argument would be strengthened since it proves that cognitive psychotherapy is more effective than these non-effective forms.
Nikki Siclunov
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 1383
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:31 am
Points: 1,208

Answer choice (D) can be reduced to the following conditional relationship:

IF a form of psychotherapy that focuses on changing the patient's unconscious beliefs is effective, THEN it must also change beliefs that are under the patient's direct conscious control.

Unfortunately, answer choice (D) only specifies a necessary condition for effectiveness relevant to those forms of psychotherapy that focus on changing the patient's unconscious beliefs. Although answer choice (D) establishes a way for those (other) forms of psychotherapy to be effective, it falls short of proving that cognitive psychotherapy is more effective than other forms of psychotherapy. In other words, if (D) is true, then it is possible for other forms of psychotherapy to be just as effective as cognitive psychotherapy, provided they help change beliefs that are under the patient's direct conscious control.

Hope this helps!
Nikki Siclunov
PowerScore Test Preparation
quiz555
LSAT Apprentice
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:12 pm
Points: 0

But since other forms of psychotherapy do not allow for direct conscious control, then it must be true that those forms are not effective (if answer choice (D) is true). And if they are not effective, then doesn't that strengthen the claim that cognitive forms are more effective?

Your posts states that it is possible for other forms to be just as effective, provided that they help change beliefs that are under the patient's direct conscious control.

But, I don't see how they can allow for direct conscious control:

IF direct conscious control, then focus on conscious beliefs
does not focus on conscious beliefs,
therefore, other forms cannot allow for direct conscious control.

Also, by that same reasoning, if Answer Choice (B) is true, then isn't it still possible for those other forms to be just as effective as cognitive psychotherapy even though they have difficulty being effective?

I know how this can strengthen the conclusion, but I don't how this reasoning separates answer choice D from B...

sorry, I just don't get it, perhaps I'm missing something, I don't know...
Nikki Siclunov
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 1383
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:31 am
Points: 1,208

The stimulus clearly states that other forms of psychotherapy focus on changing unconscious beliefs and desires. The author never stated that they only focus on changing these beliefs/desires. Whether they can (or cannot) also allow for direct conscious control is unclear. You are assuming that they don't, which is not necessarily true.

If answer choice (D) is true, it would establish that for those other forms of psychotherapy to be effective, they must be capable of changing beliefs that are under the patient's direct conscious control. This is not impossible given the information in the stimulus. Even if possible, however, it does not automatically mean that cognitive psychotherapy is more effective than those forms of psychotherapy. For answer choice (D) to work, it would need to establish that the other forms of psychotherapy are inherently less effective than cognitive psychotherapy, because they are unable to alter a patient's conscious beliefs (unlike cognitive psychotherapy).

Clearly, answer choice (D) implies that even forms of psychotherapy that focus on changing unconscious beliefs and desires can be effective, as long as they also focus on changing a patient's conscious beliefs. This would weaken, not strengthen, the author's conclusion.
Nikki Siclunov
PowerScore Test Preparation
quiz555
LSAT Apprentice
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:12 pm
Points: 0

Ahhhhh!!!! I see now!!! Thank you!!!

I absolutely did make an unwarranted assumption. Just because they focus on unconscious beliefs does not mean that they only focus on these beliefs!

And if they can still allow for also focusing on conscious beliefs, then they can certainty still allow for direct conscious control!

Thank you so much! I had a feeling it had something to do with that, but I somehow couldn't clarify that sluggish idea in my head. You've helped with that! Thanks again.
Nikki Siclunov
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 1383
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:31 am
Points: 1,208

Glad we finally figured it out! *sigh of relief* :-)
Nikki Siclunov
PowerScore Test Preparation
LSAT2018
LSAT Master
 
Posts: 357
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:11 am
Points: 358

I noticed how conditional reasoning was used in the answers and chose B because I was looking through answer choices that would include 'only conscious beliefs are under the patient's direct conscious control'. Although I chose the correct answer, I still don't understand why conditional reasoning was used for a conclusion with comparison ('cognitive psychotherapy is likely to be more effective').

Is this because the question asks to strengthen the above conclusion, it is acceptable for an answer to be stated strongly, in conditional terms?
Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 2476
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:01 pm
Points: 2,291

It's not about how weak or strong the answer is, but about whether it closes the gap in the argument. The evidence is about being under the patient's control, and the conclusion is about being more effective. We need an answer that links those two concepts. Your search for an answer that talks about the link between conscious beliefs and control misses the crucial link to "effective." Many Justify, Strengthen, and Assumption answers will be all about closing the logical gap in the argument, linking the new thing in the conclusion back to something in the premises.
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LSATadam