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Psychology 3325 Lecture Notes - Cognitive Therapy, Cognitive Model, Cognitive Distortion

Course Code
Psychology 3325
John Usher

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Cognitive therapy is a very distinct form of psychotherapy, very different
Between two possible explanations, choose the more simpler one, cognitive theories is
more cleaner model, more simple, symptoms are the problem whereas in psychoanalysis
therapist is almost ambiguous, and the symptoms are underlying of the disease
Cognitive theorist are more in your face, confrontation, talk about themselves to model
appropriate behaviour
Cognitive therapy is different because it is very structured, goal directed environment, every
session has an agenda, with goals to fulfill
The therapy is time limited, distinguishes it from psychoanalysis which can go often for
months or years, cognitive is limited to weeks
In that time frame, therapy is present focused, at least in the beginning, not that past is not
important, they come up later in the therapy, the focus is understanding, focusing on
symptoms of here and now
Its focus on the problem, in psychoanalysis, the symptom is viewed as a sign or indication of
a disease, but for cognitive therapeutic case, the symptoms is the problem, you treat the
symptoms, you solve the problem
In this framework the patients and therapists work collaborate, work together to build an
alliance, agree on the terms, topics, problems to be addressed, and the approach that is
taken is one that is collaborated
Some level patients thoughts and beliefs are responsible for the cause of behaviour
Cognitive therapy tries being educational, with respect to the nature of their disorder, what
is the cause and nature of it, but beyond that, one of the primary goals is to train the patient
to become their own therapist in their own life
The cognitive model is profoundly simple, the principle is that underneath every emotion is
a thought, every response or behaviour reflects some thought on our part, our thoughts
determine how we react and behave, and when we saw patients one of our objectives is to
target the thoughts and beliefs that cause these behaviours
Some of the central targets of therapy is reaching the core beliefs of the patient, often
things that we don’t say out loud, underlying beliefs we hold of how we see ourselves, not
situational (I tend to act in this way in situations like that)
Beliefs of how you finish sentences beginning with I am (I am incompetent, I am unlovable,
These core beliefs are acquired early on in developmental, these are those that we try to
target in therapy, but they don’t come readily to mind, most patients have all kinds of
others beliefs that are undetected, having gone through the world believing these, they
have strategies to compensate for these negative core beliefs (attitudes, rules, expectancies
called intermediate beliefs that try to protect patient from negative core beliefs)
e.g. its essential that I succeed, I must work as hard as I can all the time, if I don’t
understand something then I am stupidhelp us to be in the world, negotiate with our
negative core beliefs with the experience we have of the world (intermediate beliefs)
Most common things we see from cognitive therapy are automatic thoughts, which are the
running stream of words and images as we go through our lives day to day, things that run
through your head right now
What is really important is how our automatic thoughts determine how we feel and how we
Important that we do not respond to situations as it is objectively in the world, we are
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