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Outline and Evaluate the Cognitive Model of Abnormality

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    Outline and evaluate the cognitive model of abnormality (12 marks) The cognitive model of abnormality suggests that the individual is the cause of the mental disorder because they are in control of their own thoughts. The cognitive model states that if our perceptions are wrong, then our emotions and behaviour may become distorted. According to Beck, there is a cycle which is thought to lead to depression.

    The components of the triangle are: negative thoughts about themselves, negative expectations of the future, and a distorted or unrealistic perception of the world – the actual, beliefs and the consequence. Beck said they all lead to each other creating a cycle of depression. An example of this is Schizophrenia. The symptoms are a combination of faulty perceptions and faulty thoughts. Seligman’s theory suggests that how a person perceives an event will affect their behaviour.

    An event can be: internal, external, stable, unstable, global and specific. An example being failing a driving test – internal: “i need more lessons” external: “the examiner didn’t like me”, stable: “no matter what I do, I will always fail” unstable: “I’ll work hard and pass next time” and finally global: “I will fail at life” specific: “I may fail my driving test, but I will pass other things. ” The three biases are thought to add negative thoughts and irrational beliefs.

    Firstly, attention is people with anxiety disorders automatically give attention to the information they are worried about therefore triggering maladaptive thoughts. Secondly, reasoning is people suffering from psychological disorders show biases in their reasoning. Finally memory is when people suffering from depression are more likely to recall negative thoughts adding to their irrational beliefs.

    There are a few treatments for abnormality from a cognitive perspective such as CBT and RET. CBT works by replacing the patients irrational thoughts with rational ones. It attempts to change their thoughts so they have a more rational and realistic view of the world. RET works by making the patient take responsibility for their actions. They will use practical recommendations in order to overcome the mental disorders.

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