Cognitive Theory Detailed Outline

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* Cognitive Theory Outline

I. Theory: Cognitive Theory (CT)
a. Key Concepts:
i. The way a person’s mind collects and categorizes information is built into schemas. Those schemas help build associations with future thoughts, emotions and behaviors, as they determine how we categorize an experience. Schemas influence our recall of an experience (good or bad), our emotion (positive or negative), and our behavior (acceptance or avoidance), and how we relate it mentally to similar new situations that we encounter. If the schemas that are built within are faulty, they can cause a domino effect of inappropriate thoughts, emotions and behaviors until the faulty view is challenged and the old schema is replaced with a new one. ii. The most primitive schema houses our automatic thoughts. iii. Automatic thought can be visual or verbal. Other characteristics of the three types of automatic thought show that it; (1)is distorted, yet occurs although no evidence exists to support the distorted thought (ex. Telling yourself you are the worst person in the world and believing it); (2) is a correct automatic thought, but the conclusion the patient draws isn’t (ex: I failed the test, so that means I’m stupid); or (3) is an accurate thought, but still dysfunctional (It will take me all night to finish his project! The behaviors associated with this thought becoming overwhelming and cause anxiety, which lessens the concentration and work output) (Murdock, 2009, p.318). iv. Automatic thoughts are coexistent with our deeper thinking thoughts, as they are quick snapshots of thought that come about spontaneously without any reflective thought (Murdock, 2009, p. 318). v. CT Theory doesn’t believe that humans are innately good or bad, but rather neutral, whereby humans are seen as “organisms adapting to the environment” (Murdock, 2009, p. 319). vi. “CT assumes both an external, objective reality and a personal, subjective, phenomenological one” (Murdock, 2009, p. 319). vii. CT is most a “theory of psychological dysfunction” (Murdock, 2009, p. 319). viii. Murdock (2009) provides that Clark and Beck concluded that “cognitive processes evolved to enhance adaptation to the environment, and hence, survival (p. 319). ix. In CT, the “basic needs of humans are thought to be preservation, reproduction, dominance, and sociability’ (Murdock, 2009, p. 320). x. The cognitive model says that perception determines emotions and behavior. xi. Three types of cognitive processes that individuals have are; automatic (can be innate- suited to preservation and survival); conscious (the actual act of thinking), and metacognitive (an examination of how we think). xii. “Two kinds of cognitions are important in CT: core beliefs and assumptions, roles and attitudes” (Murdock, 2009, p. 323). xiii. CT theory asserts that human functioning is a product of what you learn and genetics. xiv. Recently, two types of temperaments have been presented within the theory- autonomy and sociotrophy. Autonomous people strive towards mastery and control and rated self-worth and achievement without regard to others, while sociotrophic people rank themselves against others in terms of worth. These types approach thinking, and life differently based on their perspectives, therefore they feel and react differently. xv. CT recognizes that people can be illogically functional, meaning that you can function even if you have illogical beliefs, i.e., someone who is functionally depressed. xvi. Issues are born in how an individual constructs his or her reality, which is based on “innate, biological, developmental, and environmental” factors (Murdock, 2009, p. 327).

b. Key Theorists:
xvii. Aaron Beck is the key theorist for Cognitive Theory. He also recognizes other cognitive theorists as influences, including...
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