Cognitive Approach to Abnormality - Unit 2 (AQA)

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  • Created on: 22-01-13 19:36
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Cognitive Approach to Psychopathology
Assumes that behaviours are controlled by thoughts and beliefs
Abnormal Behaviour ­ Caused by Irrational Thoughts and Beliefs
Poor Thinking (Maladaptive Thoughts) = Abnormality
Version 1 of the model:
Ellis (1962)
Emotional problems can be attributed directly to distortions in our thinking
Distortions take the form of negative thoughts, irrational beliefs and illogical
ABC Model:
Disorders begin with an activating event (Failing Exam)
Leading to a belief about why this happened
Belief could be rational (Didn't prepare enough)
Belief could be irrational (Too stupid to pass exams)
Belief leads to a consequence
Consequence could be rational ­ Produce adaptive, appropriate consequences
(Revise more)
Consequence could be irrational ­ Produce maladaptive, inappropriate
consequences (Get depressed)
Examples of Distortion:
Polarised Thinking ­ Seeing everything in black and white
Overgeneralization ­ Generalizing from a single event
Catastrophing ­ Mountain out of a mole hill Version 2 of the model
Beck (1963)
Identified a `cognitive triad' of negative, automatic thoughts linked to
Negative views about themselves (Can't succeed at anything)
Negative views about the world (Must be successful to be a good person)
Negative views about the future (Nothing will change)

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Once a cognitive triad is activated ­ individual will only process information
consistent with that view ­ all other information will be disregarded
Cognitive Behavioural Therapies
Assume we can treat disorders by eliminating or changing the original faulty
thoughts and beliefs
Process of CBT:
Therapist & Client identify clients faulty cognitions (thoughts and beliefs)
Therapist shows that cognitions aren't true ­ e.g.…read more



this was amazing, helped me with something I thought was impossible to understand, can't thank you enough !!!

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