PRINCIPAL FIGURES IN COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY
JULIAN ROTTER:. Studied with Tolman, also influenced by Adler.
Core concepts.. ILC (INTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL and ELC (EXTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL.
Behavior Potential is a function of the expectancy of being reinforced and the perceived value of the reinforcement.
The potential for a group of functionally related behaviors (that is, behaviors related by a particular goal the person holds) is a function of the expectancy that the group of behaviors is likely to satisfy some need, and the importance of that need to the person.
ALBERT BANDURA: (See separate notes on imitative learning)
SELF-EFFICACY is the belief that one can effectively carry out a given behavior.
Distinguishes between EFFICACY EXPECTATIONS
and OUTCOME EXPECTATIONS.
With efficacy expectations you know you can come up with the kind of behaviors necessary to achieve a givben goal. You know you can do what it takes. With outcome expectations, you may or may not know the steps required to reach a goal. If you know them, you may not do them, due to anxietyies, etc.
Once you become morre efficacious in a given area, your fear about that area reduces. Goal--to become highly self-directed in that area.
After a successful performance accomplishment, it's important to ensure that the person makes the proper attributions about the reasons for success. Recognizing our behavior as successful or not depends on how e attrbute our performance.
External attributions: "I did well on the exam, but it was so easy I couldn't miss" or "I did well, but just because the prof was so good."
Internal attributions: "I did well, because of my ability," or "I don't test well " (global attributions) or "I don't test well on that kind of exam" (specific.)
A negative global attribution means"I never do well--wo why bother to even try?"
A a person becomes efficacious in one area, it tends to generalize to toher kidns of behavior, both in similar and dissimilar contexts.
Self-efficacy leads to competence. If we're performing well, doing it with the right attitude, we probably also have the knowlwedge to make us efficacious and confident.
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGIST SHELLEY TAYOR'S "POSITIVE ILLUSIONS"
Here we meet a tendency opposite to the self-putdowns that are described in
detail below. .
Intriguingly enough, social psychologist Shelley Taylor has shown that small-scale positive illusions which portray us as a little better than we are and our actions as a little more admirable than they are can contribute to our self-esteem, help us feel better about ourselves, and even act more kindly toward others. (She didn't find the same advantages in repressing painful memories from our past, but that's a subject for a later chapter.)x
Taylor's positive illusions are one side of how we use our thoughts to affect our feelings. There is, of course, another side. There are also troubling thoughts that go through our minds. These involves talking to ourselves, or picturing ourselves, in ways that cause us to feel ineffective or defective.
When you find yourself stuck in a self-perpetuating negative mental whirlpool, no one else can pull you out. Fortunately, there are a number of do-able steps that can help you climb out on your own. (If necessary, an effective counselor, therapist, personal coach, or even an insightful trusted friend can help with that task.)
A useful first move is to "step back" and just watch (or listen to) what you're actually doing with your mind, and how. In other words, you train yourself to be aware of what you're doing with your conceptual thinking. You're using a little of your attention to "stand behind yourself" and be a "witness" of your own thinking process. Then you can see when your thinking is taking you places that are not helpful, and switch your thoughts onto a different track that makes it easier for you to feel good or succeed in what you want to do. The technique you just used in the "Clearing Mental Chatter" exploration is one way to do this.
COMMUNICATION THEORY'S "REFRAMING:"
Communication theory, as developed by William Lederer, Don Jackson, Paul Watzlawick, and others, which is directly related to family therapy literature rather than the behavioral literature, deals with essentially the same processes as the cognitive behaviorists, but in a somewhat different way. Consider the following true anecdote:
"During one of the many nineteenth-century riots in Paris the commander of an army detachment received orders to clear a city square by firing at the canaille (rabble). He commanded his soldiers to take up firing positions, their rifles levelled at the crowd, and as a ghastly silence descended he drew his sword and shouted at the top of his lungs: "Mesdames, m'sieurs, I have orders to fire at the canaille. But as I see a great number of honest, respectable citizens before me, I request that they leave so that I can safely shoot the canaille. " The square was empty in a few minutes.(From Watslawick).
The process of reframing (also sometimes called "cognitive restructuring") has many applications. You can use it with yourself: "How else can I think about this situation and what I'm doing in it? What other stories might I tell myself about it?" Looking at a troubling situation from a new angle often makes it eassier to find a better way to handle it. In the words of communication theorist Paul Watzlawick and his colleagues, to reframe something is "to place it in another frame which fits the 'facts' of the same concrete situation equally well or even better, and thereby changes its entire meaning.... The situation itself may remain quite unchanged and, indeed, even unchangeable."18
For instance, "I made a mistake on that job. How terrible! " A `'mistake," is transformed into a "disaster" because I classify it as such. Disaster becomes my reality. (We're back to our old friend "catastrophizing.") It’s more useful to note that, “The mistake is not so bad. I can correct it in a few minutes and then pay closer attention so I don't repeat it."
When you're stuck in a self-defeating attitudes, another person with a different perspective can be helpful. Here's an example of how therapist Carl Whittaker reframes his clients' complaints: The husband complains "And for the last ten years nobody has ever taken care of me. I've had to do everything for myself...." Whitaker replies, "Thank God you learned to stand on your own two feet. I really appreciate a man who can do that...."19
Salvador Minuchin practices reframing with families.20 Family members will mention some terrible problem and he'll say, "It's great that you're talking about that." And it is. It means that they want to make some kind of positive change, and they've had the strength to bring it out and deal with it instead of hiding it. That opens up new possibilities.
From this perspective it makes sense to regard any selfdestructive or self limiting pattern as a potentially constructive message from some aspect of yourself.
Also Shirley Luthman and Martin Kirshenbaum: "The Theory of Positive Intent." Look for whatever kind of positive intention might underlie some action that didn't come out so well.
In all the approaches below, the principles of stimulus control, reinforcement, etc. that you have previously learned in regard to overt behavior are applied to covert behavior or "coverants," with the emphasis on how we "talk to ourselves"--what we say to ourselves inside our minds.
Notice that in Ellis' and Beck's approaches, attention plays an important role. You start to notice what you're thinking rather than being completely lost in your thoughts.
ALBERT ELLIS' "RATIONAL EMOTIVE THERAPY." (RET)
IRRATIONAL MALADAPTIVE THOUGHTS
Common thinking pattterns that are likely to cause you to feel bad about yourself include these:
• Musturbation, a catchy term coined by cognitive therapist Albert Ellis, refers to conditions that we set in our minds in order to feel OK or good or satsified about a matter or about yourself. If the conditions aren't met, you make yourrself unhappy. For instance, you might believe "that you must have a high degree of order or certainty to feel comfortable" or that you must have sincere love and approval almost all the time from all the people you find significant."14 You set conditions that must be met in order for you to allow yourself to feel good or satisfied or content, and may drive yourself into a frenzy of dissatisfaction, depression, or despair if they're not met.
• Awfulizing or catastrophizing is the irrational idea that events are supposed to happen in a certain prescribed or expected fashion, and it's awful or a catastrophe if they don't. "It would be a disaster if . . ." If I think an event is a disaster, then it becomes one for me—even if most other people wouled view it as just an inconvenience (or sometimes even a blessing in disguise, if I'm willing to recognize it as such.) For example, it's awful when my date cancels," and you "have to view it as awful and horrible if you do not quickly find lasting solutions to life's hassles." We can likewise listen for selftalk about things we "can't bear," as in "I can't stand it (i.e. it's awful) when my boss ignores my suggestions—and then uses them as his own."
Overgeneralization is concluding that all instances of some kind of event will turn out a certain way because one or more in the past did. For instance, a class goes badly one day and I conclude, "I'll never be a good teacher."
A self-evaluation of personal worthlessness is a specific form of overgeneralization that often accompanies failure. You make one mistake on your job and conclude, "I'm a worthless employee," or even "I'm just worthless." • Another irrational belief is that "because something once strongly influenced your life, it has to keep determining your feelings and behavior today." A particular version of this is that you're powerless to change because of the ways certain people treated you in the past. When you tell yourself that, you're giving up your power to redefine your life in constructive ways now.
ELLIS' ABC MODEL is very similar but not identical to the Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence model of behavioral psychology.
A = Activating event (parallel to antecedent)
B = Belief or irrational idea (a form of covert behavior)
C = Consequence. That is, negative emotion or maladaptive behavior. (In some cases this would be B in the behavioral ABC model and the C would be the result of the negative emotion or maladaptive behavior. )
THE INTERVENTION PROCESS involves an almost Socratic form of disputation of the irrational beliefs. The therapist reasons with the client to the point at which the latter discovers that his or her beliefs are untenable and irrational. Then the therapist helps the person substitute a rational belief that will help the person feel better and act more effectively in place of the old irrational one. So after failing a course, a student's initial cognition may be, "I'm just plain stupid; I'll never succeed at anything." After therapy, the new cognition may be, "I goofed off instead of studying. I can retake the course and it's not the end of the world."
AARON BECK'S COGNITIVE THERAPY
Beck developed his approach independently from Ellis, but there are numerous similarities in their approaches.
Both were originally traine in the psychoanalytic tradition and moved to more cognitively focused approaches.
Both try to help clients learn to notice (pay attention to) the occurrence of maladaptive cognitions, recognize their disruptive and destructive impact, and replace them with more realistic and adaptive thought pattterns.
Both are programmatic, problem-oriented, and directive.
Both give clients "homework" assignments as part of the treatment.
BECK'S LIST OF COMMON MALADAPTIVE COGNITIONS. Unlike Ellis, Beck does not view these beliefs as necessarily irrational, but rather too absolute, too broad, to extreme, or too arbitrary.
ARBITRARY INFERENCE. This is drawing a conclusion without evidence or in the presence of contradictory evidence, like believing you were laid off due to incompetence when the company is goint out of business.
OVERGENERALIZATION. (Same as Ellis.) Drawing a broad general conclusion from a single narrow specific incident.
SELECTIVE ABSTRACTION. Focusing on a detail while ignoring the context--like feeling rejected because a friend who was busy didn't stop to talk, or thinking that the only things that matter are failures, which are the main measure of yourself.
PERSONALIZATION. Mistakenly viewing yourself as the source of some event that had another cause.
POLARIZED (DUALISTIC, DICHOTOMOUS) THINKING. Thinking in extreme either-or fashion. • Dualistic thinking, which we'll meet again later in this chapter, includes either-or mental habits like interpreting a mild rebuff as total rejection
MAGNIFICATION AND MINIMIZATION. Viewing that something is far more or less important than • Jumping to conclusions without evidence to back them up includes several more specific habits of thought. Among these are errors of omission, like emphasizing a detail while ignoring its larger context, and personalizing—incorrectly referring an outside event to oneself: "She's terribly angry—it must be something I did."it really is.
THE INTERVENTION PROCESS
Beck's approach useds both cognitive restructuring and overt behavioral interventions. His test of whether a cognition is accurate does not rely on rationality so much as on testing it against empirical evidence. He casts himself as a co-investigator seeking to empirically test his client's beliefs. His style is collaborative rather than confrontational. He gives his clients homework "experiments" that involves actually finding out whether what they imagine is true or not. For instance, a woman believed that one of her coworkers disliked her because he seldom spoke to her. The therapist suggested that she view this idea as a hypothesis and check it out by observing how often he interacted with other women in the office. She was surprised to find that he seldom spoke to any of the women, and finally let go of her mistaken idea.
Therapy includes helping clients ferret out "automatic thinking." "First he has to become aware of what he is thinking. Second, he needs to recognize what thoughts are awry. Then he has to substitute accurate for inaccurate judgments. Finally he needs feedback to inform him whether his changes are correct.
The technique includes a problem orientation, and provides a therapeutic rationale and a clear programmatic direction.
DISTINCTION BETWEEN STRATEGIES DESIGNED TO ELIMINATE OVERT SYMPTOMS AND THOSE DESIGNED TO CHANGE COGNITIONS.
For symptom relief, he relies more on contingency manageent, structuring assignments so that clients will succeed and be reinforced for their effort. Boil and egg, tie their shoe, or greet the postman courteously.
ACTIVITY SCHEDULING: Involves selecting specific daily activities and evaluating them strictly on the basis of how effectively they elevate mood.
MASTERY AND PLEASURE RATINGS: Clients rate their activities in terms of the degree of mastery and pleasure they get out of various activities. Depressed clients who tend to say they can master nothing and enjoy nothing are confronted with feedback to the contrary.
THE DISATTRIBUTION TECHNIQUE involves letting go of the habit of automatically attributing all bad events to themselves and to share the responsibility with other relevant environmental causes.
COGNTIVE RESTRUCTURING involves modifying the thinking process by asking, in various ways, (a) What's the evidence? (b) What's another way to look at it? (c) What's the problem?
THE THREE COLUMN TECHNIQUE is a particular method (one out of many) used to changes clients' cognitions directly. A table is drawn up with the headings:
|Wearing new outfit for first time||people will laugh at me||no evidence|
|giving an oral report in class||
I'll die if I don't do well.
I froze once before so I'll freeze again
|lost my job||I'm worthless. I can't do anything right. I'll never find another job.||
|family moved away||they don't want to be around me any more||personalization|
|my date doesn't want to go out with me again||my life is ruined||magnification|
|getting a b on a paper||I have no grasp of the material in this course||polarized thinking.|
CONTENT SPECIFICITY means that different kinds of personal problems are related to different cognitive content. Depression, for instance, is related to a differrent pattern of ideas than is an obsessive-compulsive disorder.
THE COGNITIVE TRIAD includes the basic ideation in depression, which consists of three themes:
a. Events are interpreted negatively
b. Depressed individuals dislike themselves
c. The future is appraised negatively.
DONALD MEICHENBAUM'S STRESS INOCULATION to prepare for more effectively handling stressful situations such as fear or anxiety, anger, and pain. (Also Novaco, Turk)
The STEPS IN COPING are
2. Confronting and coping
3. Dealing with temporary difficulties
4 & 5 Assessing and self-reinforcement.
For example, with anger:
Preparing: "This is going to upset me, but I can regulate my anger. Easy does it. Remember my sense of humor."
Confronting and coping: "Think about what I want to get out of this; I'm not going to let her get to me; Don't jump to conclusions."
Dealing with temp. difficulties: "I'm getting tight. I'll relax my muscles and slow down. Treat each other with respect. Try to reason it out."
4&5: (Partially successful coping) "I did better than I have in the past. I'll get better as I get more practice. Can I laugh about this?"
(Successful coping) "I actually got through that without getting angry. It worked."
MARTIN SELIGMAN ON LEARNED HELPLESSNESS (read excerpts)
1. Helplessness seems to undermine our motivation to respond.
2. Helplessness disrupts learning ability
3. Helplessness causes emotional disturbances.
We need to learn what we can and can't be responsible for. What we do and don't control.
Dogs trained to helplessness by being shocked when there was nothing they could do about it later no longer tried to escape even when they could. They just lay there and whimpered. Further experiments showed that this response was not due to shock, but to the fact that the shock is unavoidable.
Interesting: From an important situation, helplessness will generalize to trivial situations. But this does not hold true in reverse.
Also, the EXPECTATION that you're helpless is important. When students were told, "You can cut this wire off but please don;t" they didn't bother with what they thought they couldn't control.
How to cure learned helplessness? In a shock experiment, the dogs that learned to be helpless had to be pulled across to the other side 70 to 100 times. But then they were "cured" and went across by themselves. They were no longer helpless.
The book PINKS AND BLUES looks at learned helplessness in women. Found that in nursery at hospital, male babies weree handled more roughtly than females. Message: females = fragile. Teachers favored assertive boys, quiet girls. Father demands that boy solve problem by himself, but helps girl solve it. Since the girls are more protected, the boys have more chances to deal with success and failure.
ASSERTIVENESS TRAINING, SOCIAL SKILLS TRAINING, OR BEHAVIORAL REHEARSAL
This widely used approach is enactive, like Psychodrama and much of Gestalt Therapy, but it is programmatic rather than exploratory and discovery-oriented. (Some discovery does indeed occur.)
There are a variety of approaches. We will do an in-class demonstration of the method used by Liberman & Liberman:
1. A person describes the social situation in which they have trouble acting as they would like
2. Part of the room is set up to resemble that setting
3. The person chooses another or others to represent the others in the social situation
4. They assume their roles in the situation and act it out.
5. In most cases the client and the other person or people in the situation will reverse roles briefly so that they can see how they are supposed to act.
6. Then they resume their original roles and act it out again
7. Others in the group give feedback about what they saw and heard. (not suggestions for change--just feedback.
8. Others in the group now take the place of the client and model alternative ways of behaving in the situation that hopefully will handle it more effectively. Ideally several differene people will model.
9. The client now reenacts the situation, using what was learned from the feedback and observing the modelling.