Cognitive therapy is a form of psychotherapy that was established during the 1960s and which concentrates on illustrating how a patient more or less unconscious awareness mechanisms affect his thoughts and feelings.
The cognitive therapy took shape in the 1960s by the American psychiatry professor and psychoanalyst Aaron T. Beck. By observing how depressed patients think, he discovered common traits in the form of automatic thoughts of a negative nature and systematic misinterpretation of reality. This insight forms the basis of the therapy. Inspired by philosophers such as Socrates, Immanuel Kant, and Seneca, as well as by psychologists like Jean Piaget and Abraham Maslow, it developed in Beck’s theory of how we are affected by our thoughts. His cognitive therapy became a scientific breakthrough in 1977 when a study showed that in some cases it worked better than antidepressants.
1980 – and 1990’s represented a further development and specialization of the cognitive therapy. It has two main directions, the constructivist and interpersonal. In addition, many ideas taken from the cognitive therapy approach and are incorporated into a range of other treatment modalities, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. In the constructivist approach, the therapy starts from the patient’s background and history in order to understand how he thinks and why. The interpersonal model focuses contrast to life’s social aspect, meetings, and relationships between people, trying on this basis solve patient problems.
The cognitive theory assumes that psychological disorders originate from a dysfunctional thinking or a dysfunctional working model. A dysfunctional approach is often characterized by negative thoughts and feelings. To understand how to proceed in order to treat this, the term “cognition” is used.
Cognitions consist of both cognitive structures (thoughts, memories, images…) and cognitive processes (attention, assessing situations, abstraction…). These are closely linked to the emotions that give our impressions a sentence. Since we cannot deal with all the sensory input, we receive at the same time, the cognitive serves structures and processes as a kind of filter.
Through cognitive therapy tries to change a dysfunctional working model, ie ‘Repair’ consciousness filter that weeds out the wrong perceptions, thoughts, etc. In order to efficiently find the problems have divided the concept of cognition in three layers.
The core of cognition are made up of what is called schemas or core beliefs. These are learned perceptions of the self and the outside world. Basic assumptions are often “black or white,” i.e., they are over-generalizing and using the words “always” or “never.” They are linked to our identity, which has the traits of immutability, making them difficult to change.
If the assumptions are not working right, it often leads to misunderstand situations, often in a negative way. This can lead to so-called negative automatic thoughts.
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