PSYA2: Abnormality Revision (Cognitive Approach)

Focus on the cognitive approach is on our thought processes and how they influence bahavior. Cognitive psychologists explain abnormality in terms of irrational and negative thinking. 


Abnormality is caused by faulty thinking

People suffering from psychological disorders, percieve the world differently to the way most of us do. Anxious people see many situations as threatening; depressed people see the world around them as hopeless and unrewarding. 

Mental ilness is caused by inappropriate and dysfunctional thinking. The problem isnt actually the problem, its the way the person thinks about it that is the problem. Cognitive model believes the person is in control of their own thoughts, therefore with the right help, (changing their thought pattern), these abnormal behaviors can be cured.  

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Ellis' ABC model

A = activating event 
B = beliefs
C = consequences (of beliefs)

E.g. Activating event is that you failed a test.
A rational/positive way of thinking about it is you can do better next time, irrational thinking would be "im stupid and I will never pass any test." Consequences would be for the rational/positive thinking that you revise more for the next class test, pass and do OK; irrational thinking would be that everything else would turn out the same and you will never be good at anything. 

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Beck's negative thinking

People view things about their self, the world, and their future. Beck suggested that there was a relationship between negative thinking and depression and that depressed people think negatively automatically. Depressed people are more likely to have a negative view of their self the world and the future, which is according to Beck, the cause/ worsening their depression.  

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Evaluation of the Cognitive Approach to Abnormalit

Blames the patient not the situation

  • overlooks situational factors. 
  •  doesn't consider how life events or family problems might have contributed to the mental disorder.
  • disorder is in patients mind, therefore in order to recover, you have to change the patients mind. 

Consequence rather than cause 

  • depressed individual develops a negative way of thinking because of their depression rather than the other way around
  • faulty thinking is a vulnerability factor for abnormality 

Irrational beliefs may be realistic

  • not all irrational beliefs are really irrational 
  • depressed people have a more realistic view of the world  
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Thanks this was really helpful and easy to understand

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