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The Cognitive Approach
Thinking, expectations and attitudes direct behaviour. Mental illnesses are therefore
result of faulty thinking. It's the way a person thinks about something, faulty thinking
prevents individual behaving adaptively. Ellis referred it as the ABC model:
A activating event (sight of large dog)
B belief, which may be rational (dog is harmless) or irrational (dog is going to
C consequence rational beliefs leads to healthy emotions, irrational beliefs
lead to unhealthy emotions.
The individual is the cause of their own behaviour as they control their own thoughts;
abnormality is the product of faulty thinking.
Suggests patient is responsible, this could lead to situational factors. For example
life events or family problems could contribute to mental disorder.
Unclear what comes first, for example a depressed individual develops negative
thinking because of depression rather than other way round. Faulty thinking may
be a vulnerability factor to abnormality.
Alloy and Abrahmson suggests that depressives tend to see things for what they
are. Found that depressed people gave more accurate estimates of likelihood of
disaster than normal controls sadder but wiser effect.
Methods of Investigating the Cognitive Approach