Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Based on two principles:

  • Behavioural theory- a disorder is brought about by a conditioned response to a specific environmental stimuli
  • Cognitive theory- disorders are brought about by specific patterns of maladaptive thought

CBT takles both of these processes together.  With regards to cognition, CBT recognises 3 types of thoughts/beliefs:

  • Automatic thoughts- the most superficial and accessible.  Involuntary, usually plausible but can be distorted

My friend phoned to cancel lunch tomorrow.  She must not like me any more.

  •  Underlying assumptions are a person’s ‘rules’ for behaving, based on fundamental beliefs and shaped by experience.

I can’t enjoy myself unless I’m with other people.

  • Schemas or core beliefs are a person’s most fundamental beliefs about themselves and the world around them.
    • e.g. a neglected child believing ‘I am unlovable’.

Common types of cognitive error

  • Selective abstraction- drawing conclusions (usually negative) from only one part of the information
  • Arbitrary inference- drawing unjustified conclusions
  • All or nothing thinking- seeing situations as the be all or end all
  • Magnification/minimization- emphasising negatives and playing down positives
  • Disqualifying the positives
  • Catastrophic thinking
  • Overgeneralisation- viewing a single negative event as the norm
  • Emotional reasoning- using emotions as evidence
  • Jumping to conclusions
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