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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Dagnan, Dave Pulford, Helen Cathers, Rebecca and Jahoda, Andrew 2016. Using Questions in Cognitive Therapy with People with Intellectual Disabilities. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, Vol. 44, Issue. 04, p. 499.

    Clark, Gavin I. and Egan, Sarah J. 2015. The Socratic Method in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: A Narrative Review. Cognitive Therapy and Research, Vol. 39, Issue. 6, p. 863.

    Lin, F-Y. Huang, C-Y. Lu, H-Y. Shih, C-M. Tsao, N-W. Shyue, S-K. Lin, C-Y. Chang, Y-J. Tsai, C-S. Lin, Y-W. and Lin, S-J. 2015. The GroEL protein ofPorphyromonas gingivalisaccelerates tumor growth by enhancing endothelial progenitor cell function and neovascularization. Molecular Oral Microbiology, Vol. 30, Issue. 3, p. 198.

    Kazantzis, Nikolaos Fairburn, Christopher G. Padesky, Christine A. Reinecke, Mark and Teesson, Maree 2014. Unresolved Issues Regarding the Research and Practice of Cognitive Behavior Therapy: The Case of Guided Discovery Using Socratic Questioning. Behaviour Change, Vol. 31, Issue. 01, p. 1.

    Overholser, James C. 2013. Guided Discovery. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, Vol. 43, Issue. 2, p. 73.

  • Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, Volume 38, Issue 1
  • January 2010, pp. 83-93

The Science and Art of Asking Questions in Cognitive Therapy

  • Ian Andrew James (a1), Rachel Morse (a2) and Alan Howarth (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 19 November 2009

Background: Questions underpin all aspects of therapeutic assessment and intervention and are a vital component of the clinical process. Over recent years frameworks have started to be applied to obtain a greater understanding of questioning formats and processes. Method: This paper examines the use of questions in cognitive therapy (CT). An overview of the main types of questions identified in the literature is presented. In addition, we examine a range of client and therapist characteristics that may impact on the questioning process. Conclusions: Asking questions in therapy is a complex, yet under-taught, skill. This paper provides a set of frameworks to assist in identifying helpful and unhelpful questioning skills. Thus the article has implications for further training and research.

Corresponding author
Reprint requests to Ian James, Newcastle Challenging Behaviour Service, Newcastle General Hospital, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6BE, UK. E-mail:
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

T. A. Carey and R. J. Mullan (2004). What is Socratic questioning? Psychotherapy: Theory, Research Practice, Training, 41, 217226.

I. A. James , D. Milne and R. Morse (2008). Micro-skills of clinical supervision: scaffolding skills. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly, 22, 2936.

I. A. James , F. K. Reichelt , P. Carlsson and A. McAnaney (2008). Cognitive behaviour therapy and executive functioning in depression. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly, 22, 210218.

D. McGee , A. Del Vento and J. Bavelas (2005). An interactional model of questions as therapeutic interventions. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 31, 371384.

J. C. Overholser (1993). Elements of the Socratic method: 1. systematic questioning. Psychotherapy, 30, 6774.

W. Stiles and D. Shapiro (1994). Disabuse of the drug metaphor: psychotherapy process-outcome correlations. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62, 942948.

D. J. Wood , J. Bruner and G. Ross (1976). The role of tutoring in problem solving. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 17, 89100.

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  • ISSN: 1352-4658
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