Cognitive Behavioral Approach
In the 1950s, the prevailing tradition in psychology was that of the Behaviorist perspective. It focused on outward human and animal behavior as opposed to internal mental states like consciousness and thought. Though these constructs are not observable, they could not be ignored. The notion that these internal states do result in outward behavior set the stage for the cognitive revolution. Application of a dual (cognitive and behavioral) approach to explaining behavior resulted. It was not, however; a new idea. The cognitive-behavioral model has its philosophical origins in Roman Stoicism, a philosophical movement of the Hellenistic period. Stoics believed that only the corporeal existed and mattered. “Even cognitive states such as knowledge are treated as corporeal dispositions of the material mind since they have causal impact” (Borchert, 2006, p. 254). The focuses of the broad cognitive-behavioral perspective are both the behavioral and cognitive models. The theory is based on learning theory and rooted in the academic experimental psychology and conditioning research of the prominent behaviorists B.F. Skinner, John Watson, Edward Thorndike, Ivan Pavlov, and others (Plante, 2005). Modern practice of cognitive-behavioral techniques largely draws upon behaviorist principles, though some may rely more heavily on newer cognitive science and information processing models (Plante, 2005). Cognitive-behavioral perspectives encompass the ideology of operant and classical conditioning, social learning and attribution theories in the assessment and treatment of many mental illnesses (Plante, 2005). Behavior techniques such as contingency management and behavioral rehearsal are operant conditioning techniques used to shape behavior by altering consequences and practicing appropriate behaviors, respectively (Plante, 2005). For example praise and rewards can be used to help a child improve his or her classroom behavior or...
References: Plante, T. G. (2005). Contemporary clinical psychology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Fundukian, L.J., & Wilson, J. (Ed.). (2008). The gale encyclopedia of mental health. Detroit: Gale.
Borchert, D.M., (Ed.). (2006). Encyclopedia of philosophy. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA.
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