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PSY343H1 Chapter Notes -Behavioral Activation, Bulimia Nervosa, Cognitive Restructuring

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Neil Rector

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CH 10 Cognitive Therapies
REBT Theory of Personality
Ellis: A rational-emotive explanation of personality is almost as easy as ABC
At point A are the Activating events of life, such as rejection by a lover or failure to get into a graduate
Point B represents the Beliefs that individuals use to process the activating events in their lives. These
beliefs can be rational (rB), such as believing that the rejection was unfortunate and regrettable or that
the failure was annoying and unpleasant. The beliefs can also be irrational (iB), such as thinking, “I will
never be loved again,”
At point C, the person exp the emotional and behavioral Consequences of what has just occurred
REBT points to processes within the person as the critical determinants of personality functioning. It is
not the activating events (A) that are crucial but rather the person’s perceptions and interpretations of the
events. That is, B leads directly to C.
REBT Theory of Psychopathology
What is common to these irrational beliefs is a demanding and absolute mode of thinking characteristic
of young children.
The irrational beliefs (iBs) and dysfunctional attitudes (DAs) that constitute people’s self-disturbing
philosophies, then, possess two main qualities.
oFirst, they have at their core rigid, dogmatic, powerful demands, usually expressed in the verbs
must, should, ought to, have to, and got to
oSecond, the self-disturbing philosophies, usually as derivatives of these demands, generate
highly unrealistic and overgeneralized attributions. This is catastrophizing
REBT Therapeutic Processes
Effective new philosophy = To identify the irrational beliefs causing the presenting symptoms, to
dispute them vigorously + to replace them with more rational beliefs that constitute an effective new
philosophy of life. Clients and therapists work together to raise the clients’ level of consciousness from a
childish, demanding and absolute style of thinking to the logical, empirical, and probabilistic style of
processing information
Consciousness Raising
Clients soon learn that their favorite beliefs and biases are not accepted by the teacher/therapist just
because the client presents the belief in an absolute or demanding way.
The therapist can anticipate the nature of the underlying beliefs based on the activating events and
inappropriate consequences

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Interpretations and confrontations will be made over and over until patients become undeniably aware of
their irrationalities
Therapists raise the consciousness of clients to a more mature, rational level through refutations. As
effective debaters, therapists can point out inherent contradictions between the clients’ beliefs or
between beliefs and actions
Committed to active learning, therapists direct their clients to complete various homework assignments
designed to refute irrational hypotheses or to enable them to practice more rational thinking.
Humor & self-disclosure = comparatively safe method for helping clients become aware of some of their
Contingency Management
If the client is failing to follow through on homework assignments in spite of the therapist’s
interpretations or exhortations, the client may be asked to make a contingency contract that seems
workable for the client
Having clients reevaluate particular consequences.
Therapist can assign the client to imagine an expected consequence 10 times a day, until the imagined
outcome no longer elicits much emotion
embracing rational beliefs interferes with holding irrational beliefs
REBT Therapeutic Content
Intrapersonal conflicts
oIndividuals produce emotional problems within themselves by irrational beliefs. Therapy usually
begins, therefore, with individual sessions focusing on the client’s demanding thinking rather
than on the relationship between client and therapist.
oAnxieties such as these cannot be extinguished by desensitizing a person to a particular
stimulus, but rather by disputing the irrational thoughts that a person has about stimulus events
oUnconditional self-acceptance (USA) is the key to being a natural and logical member of our
own team.
oThey can be responsible only for how they currently construe their childhood. They cannot be
responsible for their genetic makeup; they can be responsible only for choosing to rely on reason
over nonsense
Interpersonal conflicts

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oHostility is the irrational consequence of (1) an inborn, biological tendency to become
aggressive; (2) some unpleasant or frustrating event; and (3) a tendency to think crookedly about
the event and a persistent refusal to work against this crooked tendency
oThe most effective countercontrol method is to dispute the irrational demands of others by
asserting one’s own rationality.
Beyond Conflict to Fulfillment
We can agree that it is best to maximize our pleasures and minimize our pains
Getting better involves making a profound philosophical change, which is intimately tied to examining,
clarifying, and perhaps replacing values
REBT Therapeutic Relationship
Therapists try never to evaluate the client as a person, but they do evaluate the client’s beliefs and
The REBT therapist views the therapeutic relationship primarily as a precondition for effective
Cognitive Theory of Psychopathology
Beck’s Depressogenic (depression-causing) Assumptions
Cognitive Error Assumption
Overgeneralizing If it’s true in one situation, it applies to any situation
that is even remotely similar.
Selective abstraction The only events that matter are the failures, which are
the sole measure of myself.
Excessive responsibility I am responsible for all bad things, rotten events, and
life failures.
Self-references I am at the center of everyone’s attention, particularly
when I fail at something.
Dichotomous thinking Everything is either one extreme or another (black or
white, good or bad).
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