Discuss the Cognitive Approach to Treating Disorders.

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Cognitive approach (12 marks)

Becks cognitive triad is the first model. It describes how people’s disorders can be caused by negative views about themselves, about the world and about the future. These beliefs can feed into each other which continues disorders such as depression. Then there is Ellis’s ABC model also explains abnormality through beliefs and behavioural consequences. This model suggests that an activating event causes beliefs these are either rational or irrational. These can lead to consequences; desirable or undesirable emotions and desirable or undesirable behaviour. It is the irrational beliefs and consequences that maintain disorders such as depression. Cognitive biases can be internal, global or stable. Depressed people use cognitive biases to view the world.

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A strength is that there is clear evidence for cognitive biases. Clarke found that individuals with panic disorders exaggerate the significance of physical symptoms. In addition, therapy based treatments are effective in treating anxiety disorders and depression e.g. CBT and REBT.

A weakness of the approach is the idea of schemata and NATS are vague and unexplained. It’s not clear how irrational thoughts are designed and measured. Also the approach is reductionistic as it reduces psychopathology down to a simple set of factors which reduces the validity of the approach. Lastly, it’s not clear if the negative thoughts lead ...

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