Bandura’s cognitive theory Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 19 May 2017

Bandura’s cognitive theory

Introduction There are many approaches to the psychological treatment of mental disorders. While some therapists identify with particular orientation, others are more non-specific, trying various perspectives in their attempts to offer psychological treatment. Psychological treatment is based cognitive therapy, which seeks to change the way in which people think about various things and aspects of life, particularly depression. It is along this line that an American psychiatrist, Aaron Beck, formulated a theory to help in cognitive therapy.

Beck’s cognitive theory serves as a basis for the treatment of anxiety and depression by addressing the causative agents of the abnormalities (Beck, 1976). Beck noted that psychological patients have the capability to tune into their internal “talk” or “dialogue” in order to alter non conducive thinking patterns. In this way, Beck noted that patients have the ability to change their thinking and therefore solve their personal problems (Beck, 1979).

The distinctive feature of Beck’s cognitive theory is the presentation of the factors that affect people’s attitude, and which play an important role in contributing to or eliminating depression among individuals. Beck identified three factors- the self (cognizance of thoughts), the world or environment (which affects behavior) and the future or antecedent events as the factors that impact largely on a human beings cognitive ability and mental well-being. The three factors constitute the Beck’s cognitive triad (Beck 1976).

The triad represents the types of negative depression and therefore forms part of Beck’s Cognitive Theory of Depression (Beck 1976). Beck’s cognitive theory articulates the manner in which cognitive processes are perceived in psychopathology and in provision of effective psychotherapy. Although the “biopsychosocial” (integration of biological and psychological mechanisms in solving problems) framework is used in perceiving the complexity of the human mental system, the focus of Beck’s cognitive theory is mainly on elements of psychopathology and psychotherapy.

According to Beck’s cognitive theory, the essence of a disorder in a human being’s personality is portrayed in the dysfunctional opinions that characterize it and sustain its existence (Beck, 1979). Along this line, investigations that were done in the past on the association between dysfunctional cognitions and disorders in personality generally support the model of Beck’s cognitive theory (Beck, 1979).

Beck’s cognitive theory of depression delineates the characteristics of ideas, which when activated or aroused in irresponsible ways, are maladaptive, or a source of mental dysfunction. Effective cognitive conceptualization would serve to correct such anomalies (Beck, 1979). Beck’s theory has a number of strengths in that among other points, it highlights that depressed people evaluate themselves in biased ways and that negative thinking of participants in research may deter the collection of accurate results in any research.

On the other hand, the weaknesses include the inability of the theory to address cognitive biases and the fact that negative thinking could as well have contributed to the generalization of the theory. This paper evaluates the critical aspects of Beck’s theory and discusses the salient features of the model. In addition and evaluation of the theory’s strengths and weaknesses is given based on evaluation of the theory and models used.

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