What's the big idea behind cognitive behavior theory, and what are the implications for therapeutic interventions?
What is Cognitive Behaviour Theory?
Cognitive Behaviour Theory indicates that people's emotions, thoughts, behaviour and body sensations, are linked to each other and that whatever people do and whatever they think, affects how they feel. Also, changes in one of these will cause changes in the others. When a person feels distressed or worried, they can fall into thinking patterns and emotional responses that can exacerbate any negative feelings. This theory outlines how an individual's mental processes play a critical role in the development of their emotional state.
From a therapist's perspective, if we can change the way a person thinks, then we can change the way they interpret the world around them. This type of approach can help address unhelpful thinking styles and form an initial approach for the treatment of neurotic symptoms.
Unhelpful thinking styles are mental blocks that prevent us from achieving our goals. They're often unconscious and hard to recognize because we've been conditioned to believe them over time.
Examples of this type of thinking include beliefs such as "People who fail at things must be lazy." "I'm not smart enough to succeed." "I'm too young/old/different/unqualified to succeed." "I won't ever find a job."
These thoughts are called cognitive distortions because they distort reality. If we can acknowledge and begin to transform unhelpful thinking styles, we have a good chance of changing our behaviour. These types of metacognitive beliefs provide us with a more significant Locus of Control, equipping us with a greater capacity for positive change.
What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (or CBT)?
CBT is an effective therapy that helps people recognize and explore how their thoughts and emotions can affect their actions. After noticing such patterns, people may start learning how to build new coping strategies, behavioral techniques and change their behaviors.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is an effective therapy that includes a range of strategies that help individuals pay attention to and change problematic behaviour patterns or thinking styles which allows them to feel better.
Research suggests that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a beneficial treatment for conditions such as pain, anxiety, insomnia and depression.
The effectiveness of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy remains the same across different stages of the lifespan. Young learners, adolescents, grown-ups, and older adults everyone can benefit from behavioral techniques of Cognitive Therapy. Also, it is flexible and can be used in self-help, online, and face-to-face formats.
Cognitive-Behavioral Theory states that human thinking determines human behaviour and feeling. Behavioural Therapy indicates that all these cognitive components may directly affect how learners study in a classroom setting.
What are the different levels of cognitive models?
Different levels of the cognitive model are as follows:
- Core beliefs
- Intermediate beliefs
- Automatic thoughts
Automatic thoughts are particular to the circumstances in which they are created.
Rules, attitudes, and assumptions are at the intermediate level which establishes as a person strives to make sense of his surrounding.
The cognitive model asserts that the particular kinds of automatic thoughts, to which humans are prone are an outcome of the intermediate and core beliefs held by the people. Therefore, if someone's automatic thought is biased, then his biased thinking is due to his assumptions and beliefs. Behavioural Therapy indicates that one may perceive automatic thoughts like the plants that we grow. The growth of a plant will become better by providing better soil to the plant.
What are Cognitive Distortions?
Aaron Beck was the first to note the Cognitive distortions in depressed patients in the 1960s. Cognitive distortions hold a fundamental position in Aaron Beck's cognitive theory of depression and then Cognitive Therapy or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
According to the Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy model huge variety of problems occur due to the inaccurate interpretations of the irrational beliefs or meaning of a trigger, traumatic event or situation. In 1963, Beck published his original list of 5 cognitive distortions. Later on, in 1979 he added two more distortions in his Cognitive Therapy of Depression. Aaron Beck’s list of cognitive distortions included:
- Arbitrary Inference / Arbitrary Interpretation
Behavioural Therapy by Aaron T. Beck indicates that Arbitrary interpretation is a process of constructing inaccurate interpretations of experiences, events, or situations. Arbitrary interpretation occurs in absence of factual evidence to support the outcome of a traumatic event or where the outcome is opposite to the fact.
Example: A good example of an Arbitrary interpretation is when someone faces psychological distress and thinks in their mind 'Everyone knows I am a loser.' However, in reality, no one can find out what others are thinking. Also, not everyone has the time to think about others' failures or achievements as all are busy in their life.
- Selective Abstraction
Aaron T. Beck states that it is the process of demonsrating irrational beliefs and inaccurate interpretations while paying more attention to any specific element out of context. The person will ignore other more important aspects of a situation, and conceptualize the entire experience based on a specific detail.
Example: A student has performed very well in the class and everyone praises the student. However, one class fellow says that 'you didn't perform very well and you did much better last year.' In Selective Abstraction, the student will undergo emotional distress and pay more focus on negative events or comments and not to what is said by the entire class.
It indicates the process of coming to a general conclusion about one's performance, or ability, based on inaccurate interpretations of just a single incident.
Example: A student could not perform very well in one of the assignments. Due to this, he faces psychological distress and thinks that he would fail every assignment. This is distorted thinking because there is also a chance that he would perform better in future to avoid the same embarrassment.
- Magnification and Minimization
Aaron T. Beck mentioned that these are inaccurate interpretations of erroneous evaluations which are so disturbing that they end up in distortions.
Example of Magnification: It is when someone considers a small problem as a major problem. For instance, a broken plate is a small problem but someone faces emotional distress and gets too much angry.
Example of Minimization: Minimization occurs when people demonstrate inaccurate interpretations and downplay something to be lesser than it is by dismissing or denying its importance. For example, a bully might purposefully downplay his inappropriate actions to prevent any outcomes for his conduct and claim that it was just a joke.
- Inexact labelling
Inexact labelling is a kind of cognitive distortion in which labels and judgments are incorrectly applied around others or oneself, mostly based on how such things are perceived by a person.
Example: A student bumps into another student after getting off the school bus. One student calls the other student a 'complete idiot.' In reality, it is just a mistake that anyone can make.
This is one of the most common inaccurate interpretations and distortions of thinking in which a person takes something personally when he is not related to it or something is not caused by him at all.
Example: Personalization occurs when a person undergoes psychological distress and blames himself for a single or a wide variety of traumatic event that are far from his control or are not his fault. One more example is when someone incorrectly speculates that he has been deliberately targeted or excluded.
- Dichotomous Thinking
Dichotomous thinking is the inclination to perceive things in binary opposition, like “all or nothing,” “good or bad,” or “black or white.” Dichotomous patterns of thinking can be seen as the propensity to get stuck at points, unable to shift toward synthesis
Example: An example of Dichotomous Thinking is to consider all the children of a class as "good" or "bad" in studies. Everyone knows that every class has a wide variety of students and many of them are average in learning.
What is included in a Typical Treatment plan for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy ?
Following are some of the different types of therapy or the most popular Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy behavioral techniques used to identify how inaccurate thinking may make the problems even worse. According to Typical Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy psychological interventions mostly involves:
- Learning to face challenges and fears;
- Developing new problem-solving skills;
- Using calming techniques and role playing in case of potentially challenging problems;
- Gaining confidence and a better appreciation and understanding of self-worth.
The main objective of the above Cognitive theory techniques is to replace self-defeating and unhelpful thinking styles with positive effects of more realistic and encouraging events. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy has Positive Effects as it offers effective treatment and behavioral interventions for depressed people as well as those suffering from a wide variety of emotional disorders including treatment of Anxiety, Disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Borderline Personality Disorder and many more.
Examples of cognitive behaviour therapies
Mental Healthcare experts use Dialectical behavior therapy as an effective treatment and one of the most useful Psychological Therapies that deals with people's speech. It is based upon Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT); however, it is particularly adapted for individuals who feel emotions very deeply. The Dialectical behavior therapy is one of multiple Forms Of Psychotherapy that offers behavioral interventions that enable people to accept, understand and manage their complex feelings.
Mental Healthcare experts use Exposure therapy as a kind of CBT, to provide the most effective psychological intervention for those with Psychological Distress due to anxiety disorders. However, sufficient knowledge of exposure therapy is essential to being able to execute exposure therapy in ways that enhance both long and short-term outcomes.
How is Psychodynamic Therapy different from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Psychodynamic therapy are two significant Forms Of Psychotherapy and two different schools of thought. Some major differences between Psychodynamic Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy are:
- Psychodynamic therapy is an effective therapy that considers the past events to understand present; whereas, CBT concentrates on finding skills-based and practical solutions to current problems.
- Psychodynamic therapy is comparatively a long-term process that lasts many months or years. On the other hand, CBT offers a short-term treatment plan frequently lasting a few months.
- CBT is an effective therapy that mostly offers behavioral interventions to the Emotional Disorders like Eating disorders Depression Borderline Personality Disorder and Anxiety disorders; whereas, the positive effects of psychodynamic therapy can be used for the Treatment Of Anxiety Disorders such as Eating disorders, Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as to provide behavioral interventions to those with Adjustment disorders and Relationship issues.