Cognitive Theory Paper
University of North Texas at Dallas
COUN 5710- Counseling Theories
November 12, 2012
Dr. Jennifer Baggerly
"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind." William James (Whitbourne, 2011)
When we hear the word cognitive, several words come to mind such as, reasoning, thinking or learning. It sends implications of a person’s conscious intellectual ability that contribute to the academic, social and occupational success of that individual. It even correlates directly with a person’s logic and reasoning skills and how they are capable of prioritizing, and plan. (Gibson, 2007) The major contributor to the cognitive theory is Aaron Beck and can be it can be best characterized as an adaptive theory. It was highly popularized in the 1960s when he published a psychological model proposing that thoughts played a significant role in the development and maintenance of depression. (Guindon, 2011) Beck’s cognitive triad is identified as a pattern of reportable depressive thoughts that consist of; Negative view of self (perceived as deficient, inadequate, or unworthy); Negative view of the world (interactions with the environment are perceives representing defeat or deprivation), Negative view of the future (current difficulties or suffering will continue indefinitely). (Arajuo, 2002) Beck’s cognitive therapy also hypothesized that dysfunctional thinking is common to all psychological disturbances. The fundamental elements in the cognitive approach include that: (a) cognition affects behavior, (b) cognition can be monitored and changed (c) change in behavior can result from change in cognition. (Guindon, 2011) The overall goal of the cognitive approach is getting clients to separate thoughts and feelings, in order to realistically see improvements in their behaviors and achieving modifications in their thinking process. Cognitive therapy has attracted increasing interest from mental health professionals around the world during recent years and has become the meeting grounds for therapists from diverse theoretical and philosophical positions ranging from the psychoanalytic to the behavioral. (Gurman and Messer, 1995) A case study of a 16-year old Caucasian male client will be analyzed from Beck’s cognitive perspective and examined from the view point of the constructs of human nature and development of his personality, nature of maladjustment, treatment goals, counselor roles and treatment strategies.
Human Nature and Development of Personality
Aaron Beck relied on the motivation for human behavior in two major evolutionary goals: survival and reproduction. (Murdock, 2013) He felt humans create adaptive strategies in order to understand their surroundings and the meaning of life. We truly lived by with an overall goal of “survival of the fittest” mentality. Many CT theorists conceptualize human functioning from learning and genetics. With this belief of how humans function, there are three tiers in the levels of cognitions, which include: automatic thoughts (streams of cognitions constantly in our minds); a belief system which includes, intermediate beliefs (those extreme and absolute rules and attitudes that shape automatic thoughts); core beliefs, (those central ideas about the self that underlie automatic thoughts and are reflected in intermediate beliefs); and schemas, (those specific rules that control information that control information process and behavior). (Guindon, 2011 pp.74-75) We are very unaware of our schemas. They are developed and consolidated over the course of and individual’s infancy and childhood. (Gurman and Messer, 1995) Modes also play an active role in how complex human behavior is affected. CT suggests three categories of modes: four...
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