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The Cognitive Model. Beck and Ellis. The cognitive model. This model assumes that emotional problems can be linked to distortions in our thinking processes – our cognition.

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the cognitive model

The Cognitive Model

Beck and Ellis

Y. Quaintrell, 2009

the cognitive model1
The cognitive model
  • This model assumes that emotional problems can be linked to distortions in our thinking processes – our cognition.
  • These can be; negative thoughts, irrational beliefs, illogical errors, polarized thinking (very black and white thinking) or over-generalisations
  • They claim that they thoughts occur automatically without our full awareness of it

Cardwell et al (2003)

albert ellis 1962 and aaron beck 1963
Albert Ellis (1962) and Aaron Beck (1963)
  • Ellis and Beck are the founders of this approach
  • They felt that the behaviourist model did not take into account cognitive/mental processes
  • They argued that thinking processes that occur between the stimulus and response are responsible for the feelings associated with the response.

Cardwell et al (2003)

ellis and rebt
Ellis and REBT
  • Ellis believed that everyone’s thoughts were rational at times and irrational at other times.
  • When we think rationally, we behave rationally and we feel happy, competent and efficient.
  • However when we think irrationally we can develop negative or disturbed habits in our thinking which can lead to psychological disturbance (e.g. depression, anxiety etc)

Cardwell et al (2003)

ellis and rebt1
Ellis and REBT
  • Ellis felt that irrational thinking can be observed in the language we use e.g. ‘should’ ‘ought’ and ‘must’
  • Some examples:
  • ‘I ought to be good for my parents’
  • ‘My tutor should be nice to me’
  • ‘I must get a good grade’

Cardwell et al (2003)

ellis and rebt2
Ellis and REBT
  • Ellis also felt that some people exaggerate or ‘catastrophize’ events
  • E.g. ‘I must be really stupid because Yvonne ignored me this morning when I asked for help’
  • What other reasons might there be?
  • This negative thinking will lead to feelings of failure which will lead to behaviour that reflects that (e.g. for the above it may be to leave college) and the outcome will be psychological problems such as depression.
  • Ellis developed a therapy for people based on this called Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy where individuals are assisted in removing irrational thinking

Cardwell et al (2003)

beck and cbt
Beck and CBT
  • Beck also felt that negative thoughts underlie mental disorder and he was particularly interested in finding out why people become depressed.
  • He found that depressed people tend to draw illogical and negative conclusions about themselves
  • These result in negative feelings which lead to depression

Cardwell et al (2003)

beck cognitive triad
Beck – Cognitive Triad
  • Beck identified three forms of negative thinking that are typical of people with depression
  • Negative views about the future – e.g. ‘I’ll never be good at anything’
  • Negative views about themselves – e.g. ‘I’m worthless and stupid’
  • Negative views about the world – e.g. ‘Everyone hates me’
  • He called this the cognitive triad

Cardwell et al (2003)

beck cognitive triad1
Beck – Cognitive Triad
  • Beck’s cognitive therapy (or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – CBT) is usually used with people with depression
  • It aims at training people to monitor their thinking and situations where negative thinking occurs.
  • It trains them to counter-balance that thinking and challenge distorted thoughts

Cardwell et al (2003)

the cognitive model and behaviour
The Cognitive Model and behaviour
  • How might these theories relate to children’s behaviour?
  • How might these theories influence early years practice?

Y Quaintrell, 2009

relating to children s behaviour
Relating to children’s behaviour
  • Children can experience negative thinking too.
  • Children can become depressed and may develop thinking habits that might carry on into adulthood
  • If children have negative views of themselves and low self-esteem that may withdraw from activities or disrupt in an attempt to avoid certain situations and learning
  • If children have low self-esteem and feel that they are not worthy then they may behave in ways that reflect this e.g. ‘No-one likes me anyway so I might as well misbehave’
  • Children too can over-generalise or catastrophize situations
  • They may use ‘must’ ‘ought’ and ‘should’ in their thinking

Y Quaintrell, 2009

relating to early years practice
Relating to Early Years Practice
  • We should challenge children’s negative comments
  • We should challenge over-generalisations or exaggerations e.g. ‘I have no friends’ – you could encourage them to tell you what they have done during breaks and highlight children who have played with them
  • Refrain from using ‘ought’ ‘should’ and ‘must’ – try explaining choices and consequences

Y Quaintrell, 2009

reference list
Reference List
  • Cardwell.M., Clarke.L. and Meldrum.C., (2003) Psychology for AS-level 3rd Ed., London: HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd

Cardwell et al (2003)