Cognitive Theory Detailed Outline

Cognitive therapy, Psychotherapy, Thought

* 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,...
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