June 2007, Logical Reasoning 2, Question 13

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Question 17, when a question asked what would most strengthen the argument? Not surprisingly, it's a strengthened question. On a strengthen question, our job is to support the arguments assumptions. Before we can support the arguments assumptions, we have to know what they are. And before we can know what they are, we have to understand the argument.

We have to break it down into its component parts, its conclusion and its evidence. Here the conclusion is found in the second sentence, cognitive psychotherapy is likely to be more effective at helping patients overcome psychological problems than other types of psychotherapy. Ones that focus only on changing unconscious beliefs and desires.

The first sentence is tells us what cognitive psychotherapy is and what it does. Cognitive psychotherapy focuses on changing a patient's conscious beliefs. The last sentence gives us another piece of evidence, telling us that only conscious beliefs are under the patient's direct conscious control. They gave us a little bit of help there by flagging the conclusion with the conclusory keyword, thus and flagging one of the pieces of evidence with that evidence keyword, since.

Now that we understand the argument, we can think about its assumptions. And here, the main assumption has to do with the disconnect between the benefits they tell us that psychotherapy has and their conclusion that it's that's better than other forms of psychotherapy. So cognitive psychotherapy focuses on changing conscious beliefs and only conscious beliefs are under your direct control to which we could say, so what?

So what that they're under direct control? That means that the argument assumes that there's something good about being under direct control, specifically there's something about being under your conscious control that's important for solving your psychological problems. The correct answer to a strengthened question will give us some reason to believe that assumption.

So we go looking for something in the answer choices. Answer choice A, psychological problems are frequently caused by unconscious beliefs that could be changed with the aid of psychotherapy. Well, this goes the wrong way around. We're trying to strengthen the case for cognitive psychotherapy. This would strengthen the case for the other types of psychotherapy, because it relies on unconscious beliefs.

We need conscious beliefs to be important. So A is not our answer. Go to B, it's difficult for any form of psychotherapy to be effective without focusing on mental states that are under the patient's direct control. This is our answer, because it supports that assumption. The assumption was that there was something good about being on your conscious control for helping you with psychotherapy.

And this says that without focusing on conscious control, it's unlikely to be effective. So that makes it more likely that conscious control is useful, which means it's more likely that psychotherapy which focuses on unconscious beliefs is useful. So we can glance at the other answer choices just to see why they're wrong. Answer choice C might seem right at first.

It seems good to find out that cognitive psychotherapy is the only one that focuses on changing the patient's conscious beliefs, because this whole argument is about conscious beliefs. But the conclusion was limited just to a comparison between cognitive psychology and forms of psychotherapy that focus on changing unconscious beliefs. So they're not trying to prove that cognitive psychotherapy is the best possible psychotherapy just that it's better than the ones that don't focus on the things it focuses on.

If there's another thing out there that focuses on the things that cognitive psychotherapy focuses on, it wouldn't change whether cognitive psychotherapy is better than the ones that don't focus on those things. Answer choice D invents a new type of psychotherapy. One that focuses on both unconscious beliefs and conscious beliefs. That's not gonna help us prove that cognitive psychotherapy, which focuses on conscious is better than things that don't focus at all on conscious.

This hybrid type of psychotherapy, it's irrelevant. So D is not the answer. Answer choice E, well, it's about other psychological states that can be controlled without psychotherapy at all. So who knows what this has to do with a comparison between cognitive psychotherapy and non-cognitive psychotherapy?

Answer choice E is not our answer. It was answer choice B.

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