The Cognitive Approach to Abnormality

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Explanations of Abnormality- The Cognitive Approach

  • The cognitive approach suggests that we are in control of our own behaviour as we are in control of our own thoughts.
  • The approach assumes that our thinking, explanations and attitudes direct our behaviour.
  • It suggests that mental illness is the result of inappropriate or disordered thinking or distorted thoughts.
  • It operates on the conclusion that irrational/ faulty/ negative thoughts lead to irrational/ faulty/ negative behaviour.


  • Blames the patient rather than situational factors- The cognitive model suggests that it is the patient who is responsible. This may lead one to overlook situational factors, for example not considering…


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