Human Behaviour - Cognitive Approach


Human Behaviour - Cognitive Approach


  • It is a structured approach - useful when your thoughts are all out of 'sync'
  • It sets clear goals to be achieved
  • Outcomes can be measured easily to demonstrate levels of success
  • Non-threatening
  • The basic ideas are easy to understand
  • Provides basic strategies for the clients to help themselves
  • Basic strategies can be applied in a variety of different situations
  • The approach works well in all emotional situations and particularly with stress and anxiety


  • It provides a “quick fix” which only deals with symptoms and not underlying causes
  • it requires the client to be able to understand their situation and think through the causes
  • It requires the client to be able to recognise the effects of their behaviours
  • It wouldn't be suitable for clients who are unable to express themselves honestly
  • It won't work with people who are not willing to change
  • Many clients may be unwilling or unable to talk about their problems
  • Some clients may not accept that they are doing anything wrong


The cognitive approach is useful with people who feel that they are not in control of their lives - that they are behaving in certain ways because of external influences. This is called an external locus of control.
Resulting behaviours may be depresion, inability to form and maintain relationships and addictions
Why may this talking therapy be effective with people who feel they are directed by people or events outside of their control?
Why may talking about their inappropriate / antisocial behaviour with a 'stranger' be difficult?
How may this difficulty in being able to discuss the situation prevent the counsellor from assisting the client?
For each of these questions use examples from the case study.


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