Cognitive approach

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Outline; cognitive approach

Root is faulty thought processes; negative thoughts about oneself, negative expectations of future, distorted perception of the world. Interact with world through mental representation. If inaccurate or reasoning  is inadequate our emotions/behaviour become disordered. Healthy cognitions>normal; learn from mistakes, plan happy future. Faulty cognitions>abnormal; small set back, major obstacle, cant overcome. Beck called these irrational thoughts ‘cognitive errors’. Make sense of world through cognitive processes, brain organise cognitive processes into easy-access rules/ideas;schemas, help us automatically make sense of events, lead to automatic thoughts about them. Attempt to automatically make sense of own/others behaviour through attributions based on our schemas. Psychological problems; inaccurate expectations about the world/others behaviour, faulty attributions/schemas. 

Over generalisation; reach a conclusion about world based on evidence from single event. Magnification; magnify small setbacks, appear more serious than they are. Minimisation; turn a success into something insignificant. All biased cognitions can be replaced by more appropriate ones. Replace failing test, i'm useless with need study harder. First negative over generalisation, replacement =improvement, failure into context. Change faulty thinking> change behaviour. Failed test depressed/anxious, replacement behave more positive.

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Evaluate; cognitive approach

Much research done, significant evidence supports approaches claim that patient with psychological disorders have distorted/biased thought processes.  Supports assumption that distorted thinking leads to psychopathologies. Main treatment developed is CBT, looks to address distorted thought patterns,resolve the symptoms.  Proved to be highly effective, particularly in the treatment of depression/anxiety.

Causality of thinking processes; not possible to conclusively establish causality of disorders.  Disorder may creates the distorted thought processes.  Latter very different to the argument of cognitive approach.

Blames patient, ethical issues;  person’s own thinking processes creating disorder, their fault.  Must change themselves, pressure on individual.  Contrast to biological approach.

Ignores genetic factors; focuses purely on cognitive processes, ignores biological factors limited in its focus.

Mainly applied to anxiety and depression – unclear relevance to other disorders; treatments successfully applied to depression/anxiety, less successful to others, schizophrenia.  Limits the application of approach as it should be able to be universally applied to all disorders.

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