Compare and contrast how the cognitive-behavioural and person-centred models of counselling understand the person, and how these two approaches explain the psychological distress experienced by individuals. In Part 2, reflect on and write about which of the two models appeals most to you and why.
In this assignment I will describe and explain how the cognitive-behavioural approach to counselling reflects behaviour as learned. I will explore how the cognitive-behavioural approach describes dysfunctional thinking as the cause of psychological distress. I intend to explore how the person-centred models of counselling describe the awareness and acceptance of self and how phenomenological thought processes explain distress. I will highlight the similarities and differences between the cognitive-behavioural approach and the person-centred models of counselling. I will discuss how the cognitive-behavioural approach to counselling is personally more appealing than the person-centred approach. (word count: 92)
The cognitive-behavioural approach to counselling views the person in the here and now and focus on current problems. They see the person as suffering from psychological distress that can be cured through learning new behaviours, though the process of breaking the situation down into stages. (word count:45)
The cognitive behavioural approach developed from behavioural psychology. Psychologists wanted to explore behavioural changes through the use of monitoring and challenging cognitive functions. Watson (OU chapter 5 pg 133) suggested that psychology should define itself as a scientific study of actual, overt behaviour rather than invisible thoughts and images because these behaviours could be controlled and monitored in laboratory settings. The cognitive behavioural model views the person as one that is motivated and has a vision to make themselves feel more comfortable and cure their irrational thoughts. (word count:87)
Skinner (1953) was one of the most influential people in the behaviourist movement. He stated that all behaviour is learned operant conditioning. If behaviour is displayed by an individual and they receive reinforcement or praise, they will learn that this behaviour is accepted. If the behaviour is ignored, the will “undergo a process of extinction” whereby they will forget the specific unrewarded behaviour. This approach shows that a person is said to learn their behaviours from studying others and acknowledging what receives positive reinforcement. Pavlov (IP 1890’s) conducted an experiment into learned behaviour; he called the outcome of this, “operant conditioning”. He suggested that a new unconditioned stimulus could be used to evoke an old response through the process of association. The subject of the experiment leaned to associate a bell with the arrival of food as opposed to the old unconditioned stimulus of the lab assistant. This experiment proves that new behaviour can be learned through the use of new stimulus if the outcome is a desired reward. (word count:169)
Distress is stated by Wolpe (OU Chapter 5 pg 140) to be caused by a “conditioned emotional response”. Wolpe was influenced by Pavlov’s theory of operant conditioning, but suggested that a person needed to be introduced to a conditioned stimuli through the process of systematic desensitization. The distress someone faces can evolve and become more extreme. Ellis (1962) described this cognitive-behaviour as dysfunctional thinking, this causes cognitive distortion. (Beck 1976) “The emotional and behavioural difficulties people experience are not caused by events but the way they interpret them”. Through a hierarchy, a person can acknowledge different levels of their distress and learn to behave appropriately to these situations through a learned behaviour of relaxation. (word count:114)
The person-centred approach to counselling focuses on the emphasis of self-...
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