Topic 2: Cognitive Theories {by 1/27}

There are three readings due this week (Beck, A. T.; Beck, J. S.; Volungis).  For this discussion, share at least two thoughts: (1) What is your understanding of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping in relation to CBT?  (2) What are your initial impressions in your ability to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist?   (I realize many of you do not yet have any therapy experience.  However, now is a good time to start thinking about being a CBT therapist.  Many of you will be starting your practicum this summer!)

 

Your original post should be posted by the beginning of class 1/27.  Have your two replies posted no later than 1/29.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

36 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Victoria Cestodio
    Jan 24, 2022 @ 15:15:10

    My initial understanding of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping is a little shaky, but the more I tried to understand the clearer it became. Having the primary appraisal to assess if the person is in trouble or being benefited, etc. is an important part of the process. From there, we want to assess whether this event is irrelevant or may be something positive and benefit us. In CBT, we hear a lot of counselors ask the question “what is the worst thing that could happen if you *blank*, or if *blank* happens”. This primary appraisal and even secondary appraisal reminds me of that in a sense. We are trying to make sense of something and what potential harm could occur, or if there actually is no harm. Secondary appraisal specifically also makes me think in relation to CBT. I feel as though within CBT we want our clients to see what could potentially be taken from something. Such as what good could potentially come out of something, or is it really all bad? We challenge our clients to think about what really could come out of their specific situation they are struggling with. My favorite part of the appraisal process was the ‘reappraisal’ because it made so many connections in my mind to CBT. As we can see here, this process relates to CBT more than I thought it would at first. Reappraisal is in short is when we modify an old appraisal. Such as, one thing may be working more than another, therefore they will now focus on that new appraisal. CBT clinicians are constantly trying to see what works best for their clients, therefore testing new things with their clients, and seeing if one technique is working better for the client than the other. In regards to coping, emotion focused and problem focused are used with clients, and there isn’t necessarily a ‘better’ one. Like Dr. V said in lecture, depending on the client and what they are handling emotion focused might be better for one person, and problem focused better for another. Coping is a huge part of therapy and knowing that coping is very dependent on the client and their needs.

    My initial impressions in my ability to understand and apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist is that it comes more naturally to me then I originally anticipated. I am nowhere close to knowing everything about CBT, but I feel as though I have a pretty good overall understanding of it. I think learning about it in more detail will be beneficial when we start to. However, even as I was reading the text on Lazarus and Folkman’s theory, naturally my brain started making connections to CBT right away which kind of shocked me (in a good way). Even though I am only in my second semester here at Assumption I feel that I know much more about CBT already then I did before I started.

    Reply

    • Vanessa Nichols
      Jan 25, 2022 @ 14:28:45

      Hi Victoria,
      Great post this week. I totally related to the initial understanding being a bit confusing, but I agree that reading and looking at the lecture slide really helped me better understand. Your example of helping “what is the worst thing that can happen” was really helpful to my understanding because someone who makes appropriate appraisal and, in turn, probably appropriate coping mechanisms would have a reasonable response to that question, but someone who is struggling with negative automatic thoughts or negative core beliefs might have more catastrophic thinking when it comes to the worst-case scenario. Reappraisal is significant for therapy for those people because helping them reevaluate the situation can be substantial for behavior and emotional changes.
      I also agree with your analysis of coping mechanisms. One is not better than the other. Therapists need to know what their clients need and ask for when evaluating coping mechanisms.
      Although I don’t feel like I initially understood CBT (especially Bandura), the more I learn, the more natural it feels. The more I learn, too, the more I want to learn because the benefits for the clients are apparent and substantial.

      Reply

    • Lauren Pereira
      Jan 26, 2022 @ 17:01:40

      Victoria,
      I like that you mentioned you were a bit more hesitant at first but you became more comfortable in understanding more material after the lectures and readings. I agree with you and I like how you explained that in CBT, we often want our clients to see what could potentially be taken in order to make a better judgment in situations.
      I also agree that the information now comes more naturally to me than I thought it would. It is great that you are already starting to make connections within CBT because that shows how much knowledge you have on the topic, even in our second semester.
      Great post!
      Lauren

      Reply

    • Lexi
      Jan 30, 2022 @ 20:20:21

      Hi Victoria
      I like your mention of imagining the worst-case scenario in therapy in CBT because if we can get clients to shift to the mindset of “the worst that could happen may not be so bad at all” maybe they will be less likely to react emotionally or to make a negative appraisal when they do encounter a difficult situation or interaction in their lives. I think a huge part of being able to cope to some extent is being prepared for a less favorable or a negative outcome and so for some it can be helpful to consider what that outcome may be, and how that negative result in 99% of cases is nothing they truly can’t handle. To your point maybe we engage in reappraisal at that moment.

      Reply

  2. Vanessa Nichols
    Jan 25, 2022 @ 14:11:04

    Cognitive appraisal is essential for CBT because an individual’s appraisal of a situation can affect their emotional response to the situation, coping mechanism (adaptive or maladaptive), and behavior. As Dr.V discussed in the lectures, a cognitive appraisal is a mediator between the event and the clients’ response. Appraisal requires judgment, discrimination, and choice activity (Based on past experiences). If a client lacks self-efficacy or evaluates the situation incorrectly, they can respond inappropriately. CBT therapy aims to help clients reevaluate their appraisals of certain situations and, in turn, their behavior or coping mechanisms. There are three forms of appraisals Primary Secondary and reappraisal. Primary appraisals are used to understand what is at stake. Is this situation beneficial, dangerous, irrelevant, positive, etc.? The Secondary appraisal is used to evaluate if anything can be done to prevent harm or overcome this challenge or threat. Secondary appraisals are where coping options come into play. Reappraisal is when a change in the previous appraisal is made based on new information. I believe the goal of therapy would be to help the client form appropriate reappraisal of situations.

    Recognizing a client’s maladaptive and adaptive coping mechanism is extremely important for CBT therapy. Coping is a major factor between stressful and adaptive/maladaptive outcomes such as depression, anxiety, etc. CBT is designed to help a client recognize adaptive coping and maladaptive coping. The idea is to help the client change maladaptive coping patterns and exchange them for adaptive coping. There are two types of coping that CBT focuses on Emotion-focused coping and problem focus coping. One is not better than the other it’s more about the client’s needs or feelings. If the client feels the situation can change, problem-focused may be better. If the client feels like the situation is unchangeable, it’s probably better to focus on emotions. Emotional focus coping helps regulate clients’ emotional responses to problems, While problem-focused coping focuses on managing or altering the troubled person-environment relation. These coping mechanisms are essential for CBT therapy because, as CBT therapists, we are trying to help the client change their thinking and behavior, but we are also trying to set them up to deal with problems in a healthy way on their own in the future.

    I feel a lot more confident in my ability to become a CBT therapist since doing this week’s reading (Dr. V and Becks). While reading Bandura and others, I had a hard time grasping some of the past theories and philosophies that created CBT. I believe I was able to, but it shook my confidence a little bit. I think it was just the manner it was written in. Now that I have done the Beck and Dr. V reading, I feel I have a better handle on what a CBT therapist looks like in real therapy. I have a lot more to learn, but I am very excited to learn more. My basic understanding is that CBT is client-centered therapy focused on how automatic thoughts and core beliefs affect people’s thoughts, emotions, and situation appraisal. This, in turn, affects their behavioral response to situations. CBT made me aware that many of these thoughts or beliefs happen automatically (not unconsciously) and can be hard for a client to recognize without professional help. From the information I have learned about CBT, I really like it; based on personal experience with other kinds of therapy, I don’t feel like they really do anything or make any progress. I like that with CBT, there are tools, weekly goals, and overall goals that help monitor improvement or lack thereof.

    Reply

    • Victoria Cestodio
      Jan 26, 2022 @ 11:52:13

      Hi Vanessa,
      Great post!

      I feel like you gave me a much better understanding of the theory just based on how you explained it in your discussion, so it was really helpful! You said ‘primary appraisals are used to know what’s at stake’, which clicked a lot for me. You described it as 1) what’s at stake, 2) coping style comes in, 3) a change of appraisal comes in. Seeing it written in that way made it easier to break down.

      I really enjoyed when you talked about your understanding of CBT. I agree that it feels much more client based than other forms of therapy. There are so many tools with CBT like you said and I appreciate that a lot too!

      Victoria

      Reply

    • Lauren Pereira
      Jan 26, 2022 @ 17:30:33

      Vanessa,

      You have included a lot of relevant information in your post regarding how important CBT is and how it can be used. I like that you mentioned that coping is a major factor and you were also able to differentiate primary and secondary appraisal’s. Cognitive appraisals definitely play a role in emotional responses which goes along with judgments and behaviors.
      I also feel more confident in my abilities focusing on CBT. It is true that CBT is where many thoughts and beliefs happen automatically which also shows its importance in helping clients. It is nice to watch ourselves gain more knowledge on this topic so that way it comes more naturally.
      Great post!

      Lauren

      Reply

  3. Tressa Novack
    Jan 25, 2022 @ 21:23:05

    My understanding of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of coping and cognitive appraisal in relation to CBT is that the way that we appraise events, or perceive them, determines how we feel about them. This relates to CBT, because CBT has a focus on changing how we think about our thoughts, and how we can change them to make them more adaptive. By changing how we think we can then change how we feel. Lazarus and Folkman point out that we use our judgment to determine if the environment is going to benefit, harm us, or if it has no implications for our well-being. These are the appraisals, which I understand to be the thoughts that determine our emotions and behaviors. These appraisals can affect how we cope with situations. Some situations may require more problem solving focused solutions, and others may require more emotion regulation before we do anything else. CBT can help change maladaptive appraisals or thoughts that lead to maladaptive coping into more adaptive thoughts and forms of coping.

    My initial impressions of my ability to understand and apply the principles of CBT as a therapist are that they may not be as hard to understand as I thought, but applying them is a different story. So far the theories have been easy to understand. It makes sense to me that the way that we perceive a situation affects how we feel and act, and that we often make judgments so quickly we do not even realize that we are doing it. However, how I would point this out to a client or go about helping them discover and pay attention to their automatic thoughts still precedes me a little bit. I think with practice though this will come more easily and I will be able to get the hang of it.

    Reply

    • Victoria Cestodio
      Jan 26, 2022 @ 11:58:11

      Hi Tressa,
      Great post!

      I enjoyed reading your post this week. I like how you touched on judgment and how in this theory we use our judgment to determine if the environment is going to harm us, benefit us, etc. These then produce our behavior and emotions. Like you mentioned, this theory proposed by Lazarus and Folkman relates a lot back to CBT and how we are trying to change maladaptive behaviors in therapy.

      When you spoke about your understanding of CBT, I relate to you!! I think since we are in our second semester of grad school we question our ability a lot as a future therapist, but as we continue in the program I think we will get a lot more comfortable feeling as though we are able to actually apply this when we have clients.

      Victoria 🙂

      Reply

    • Vanessa Nichols
      Jan 26, 2022 @ 12:38:26

      Hi Tressa,
      Great post this week!
      I think you did a great job at explaining how appraisal and coping mechanisms relate to the CBT process. I like that you connected that our appraisal of a situation is just thoughts about it and how we interpret it. These interpretations are what really can lead to maladaptive or adaptive behaviors and coping mechanisms. As CBT therapists, it would be our job to lead clients to a more appropriate interpretation of the event. As well as help them reflect on more adaptive behaviors and coping mechanisms for the future and help them generalize so they can handle more situations on their own.
      I really related to your analysis of being a CBT therapist. I totally agree that understanding the classroom principles and applying them to actual therapy is entirely different. The more case studies I read, the more prepared I feel, especially regarding what questions to ask, when to ask them, and where to lead a client. However, I know the actual test and learning experience will be the practicum and internship. I agree with you, though, that the more practice we get, the more role-playing and case studies we do, the better off we will be.
      Thank you!

      Reply

    • Madelyn Haas
      Jan 26, 2022 @ 17:08:34

      Hi Tressa,
      I enjoyed reading your post! Your description of cognitive appraisal and coping were great. I especially like how you tied cognitive appraisals and coping together. How we appraise things does affect how we cope. If we appraise something as too difficult/challenging, we may have a harder time coping than if we appraised it as easy. I also appreciate how you recognize that CBT can help us alter our appraisals. I think that is an essential part of CBT.

      As for your impressions on CBT, I couldn’t agree more. I feel like I understand all the principles very well, and I can apply them to my life. I can find my own negative automatic thoughts, for example, but it will be a lot harder to parse them out with clients, especially if the clients have a difficult time recognizing their thoughts and feelings. Great post!
      -Madelyn Haas

      Reply

    • Will Roche
      Jan 27, 2022 @ 10:21:53

      Hey Tressa,

      I really liked how you explained Lazarus and Folkman’s concept of cognitive appraisal. A lot of what we decide to do comes down to our personal judgment and how the situation may affect us. While we may not like to think so, we all can definitely be very egocentric and put ourselves above others very instinctively and naturally. Especially with strangers or unfamiliar situations, cognitive appraisal helps us do exactly that: will intervening in this situation benefit me or harm me? This is a question we ask ourselves all the time, and we may not even recognize it. Using our best judgment is typically what we do to resolve these situations in our head. CBT can definitely help people attenuate any confusion clients might have on intervening in certain scenarios which is why cognitive appraisal is so important to know in CBT education. Great job!

      Reply

  4. Lauren Pereira
    Jan 26, 2022 @ 16:28:23

    Within my understanding of Lazarus and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal, it affects the responses we receive. Depending on how we perceive information will relate back to how we process how we are feeling about that certain situation. This concept relates to CBT because there happens to be a major factor of how we think which affects our emotions and behaviors. CBT focuses on our thoughts and how we may be able to adjust them in order to benefit from situations. If our thoughts become different, then so do our feelings and emotions. We may begin to feel differently about a concept or situation when we start to have different thought processes. Having appraisals can also benefit an individual in order to help them adapt better coping strategies. Another concept I understood is that individuals use their judgment in order to determine whether or not something may be more beneficial or harmful for us. This is a benefit as we can differentiate the difference between good and bad and whether something may not be the best decision for our safety. The way we change our thoughts will also influence our behaviors along the way. CBT is a good strategy to help with these types of situations which can lead us to a more positive outcome.

    My initial impression in my ability to understand and apply the basic principles of CBT was not as confident as I feel, now. As a therapist, information may start to seem more natural and flow with every situation you are presented with. In this short amount of time, I have been able to become more confident with my ability to understand certain scenarios and how to approach things. It does seem a bit challenging to apply principles of CBT, but once you begin learning the territory, it becomes more natural in thought. I feel as though I am already able to connect CBT to certain approaches I read and learn about. I now see the importance our judgments has because it can affect how we feel and then again how we act on it. The more I learn about CBT, the easier it will come.

    Reply

    • Madelyn Haas
      Jan 26, 2022 @ 17:17:31

      Hi Lauren,
      Great post! I think your interpretation of how Lazarus and Folkman’s concepts apply to CBT is spot on. We are constantly appraising the environment around us whether we are aware of it or not. We do not directly respond to things in our environment but instead respond to how we appraise them. For example, most people would likely appraise a snake to be scary and threatening, but a person who works with snakes may appraise them as nonthreatening or even as pleasant. In the same way, in CBT we can change how appraise things. Someone who is overwhelmed at school and feels like a failure can be taught how to appraise assignments differently and how to effectively cope with their workload.

      As for your impressions on CBT principles, I feel similarly. I feel more confident than when I first started. I feel especially confident in my ability to apply the terms to my own life. That being said, I feel nervous but excited to start using CBT techniques with clients. It is going to be a completely different experience, but I am looking forward to it.
      -Madelyn Haas

      Reply

    • Tressa Novack
      Jan 27, 2022 @ 10:38:30

      Hi Lauren,
      It’s really important that you pointed out that our emotions and our thoughts interact to determine how we perceive or feel about the environment. By changing our thoughts we can change how we feel about certain situations. Changing our negative thought patterns into more neutral or positive ones is definitely one of the goals of CBT. I like how you also related appraisals to coping. The way we appraise things definitely effects how we choose to cope with them. You also pointed out how we use appraisals to judge whether something can benefit or harm us. This is important because the implications we judge as event as having for us affect how we feel and respond to them.

      It’s great that you have become more confident in your ability to apply CBT. I agree that it can seem challenging to apply CBT principles, but as we have practice and encounter different scenarios, how we respond to them as therapists will come more easily to us. Great post!
      Tressa

      Reply

  5. Madelyn Haas
    Jan 26, 2022 @ 17:03:29

    Lazarus and Folkman wrote about cognitive appraisal and coping, both of which can relate to CBT in various ways. Cognitive appraisal is how people consider things in relation to themselves. People do this constantly throughout the day whether they realize it or not. For example, when you drive, you are always appraising the other cars near you to make sure you drive safely. Our appraisals of things determine how we react and interact with things. We can appraise things as beneficial, detrimental, or unrelated to ourselves. For example, people would likely appraise a sleeping puppy differently than they would a large, hostile dog. Cognitive appraisal is relevant in CBT because our appraisals of things and events influence how we think and feel. If we appraise a tall, muscular man as threatening, we may feel anxious and try to avoid him. On the other hand, if we appraise him as neutral or positive, we may feel alright and even say hello to him. Our appraisals influence how we interpret and interact with everything in our lives, so they are important to recognize and sometimes readjust in CBT. Lazarus and Folkman also wrote about coping. Coping is the process of changing thoughts and behaviors to deal with stressors in our lives. Whether you realize it or not, people cope with things all the time. Coping can be broken down further into emotional coping and problem focused coping. If you did poorly on your first exam, you will likely cope by studying more (problem focused) and by telling yourself that you are capable of passing (emotional). Although coping is often beneficial, not all coping is adaptive. For example, a person who is panicking about a project deadline may mentally shut down to deal with the stress. Coping is relevant to CBT because it is how people deal with problems. If we learn that people cope maladaptively or do not know how to cope, we can teach them methods to better help them navigate their lives.

    At this moment, I feel adequately capable of understanding and applying CBT principles. Obviously, I still have a lot that I need to learn, but I feel like a lot of CBT concepts make sense to me and already apply in my everyday life. I feel comfortable with automatic thoughts, core beliefs, and cognitive distortions. I am no expert by any means, but I feel like I could explain them adequately to someone if need be. I am also a fairly introspective person, and I have recently found myself catching my own negative automatic thoughts and some cognitive distortions as well (especially catastrophizing). I am anxiously looking forward to applying what I know to my practicum/internship this summer. Maybe then I will feel even more comfortable discussing them and applying them to help people.

    Reply

    • Will Roche
      Jan 27, 2022 @ 10:17:59

      Hey Madelyn,

      I really like your description of cognitive appraisal and also the examples that you give on how appraisal of certain scenarios might be different than others. While some of these concepts may feel basic because they are such natural instincts in our everyday lives, I think its important that we understand these basic concepts as it lays a foundation for being able to explain these principles to clients when they are explaining the difficulties they are having while in these situations. I think the examples you give specifically would be a great way to educate a client on how these basic cognitive principles work. Great job!

      Reply

    • Tressa Novack
      Jan 27, 2022 @ 10:45:15

      Hi Madelyn,
      Great post! I really enjoyed the examples you gave to demonstrate how we are constantly appraising. I really liked your example of driving, because I think to most of us, driving seems second nature. When I drive it seems like the decisions that I make are subconscious, but you are right. I am continuously appraising the situation to make sure I am safe and that I am not putting others in danger. This is so interesting to think about because driving feels so automatic. I also like how you point out that not all coping is adaptive. This is important to note and this is where CBT comes into play to change maladaptive coping strategies.

      I am also looking forward to this summer to start practicing what we have learned. I also feel like I understand all the principles that we have learned so far, but that applying them and explain them to others may present a challenge. It is easy for me to recognize my automatic thoughts and cognitive distortions, but the question is how do I get someone else to see them when I can’t be inside their head? Great post, Madelyn!
      Tressa

      Reply

    • Moises Chauca
      Jan 28, 2022 @ 15:23:10

      Hello Madelyn,

      I enjoyed reading your post. Your description and examples of cognitive appraisal are helpful to understand the concepts better. I like your point about people that appraisal their situations every day because it is true and really important. In addition, your other examples are great about cognitive appraisal. I agree with points about coping, a person can learn to cope maladaptive, which is important for a therapist because identifying how and what influenced their learning can be beneficial.

      Reply

    • Lexi
      Jan 30, 2022 @ 20:26:05

      Hi Madelyn
      I like the examples that you used to illustrate appraisals – these are truly perceptions I think of that that way and so how we perceive our world of course determines how we interact with it which includes the people and situations we coma across. Our patterns of thinking and out outlook, or working models / schema if you want to call them – have so much to do with the quality of our experiences and the emotional result. I am excited to learn more about CBT as well and to gain more familiarity. Practicum and internship here we come! d

      Reply

  6. Will Roche
    Jan 27, 2022 @ 10:13:36

    From my understanding, cognitive appraisal refers to the process in which a person assesses a particular situation in their environment, and cognitively decides whether or not the situation is relevant enough for them to intervene or add themselves into. There are two forms of cognitive appraisal: primary and secondary. The primary form of appraisal is when the individual decides if the situation their assessing may affect their self-esteem, either positively or negatively. As an example, someone might see a person reaching for an item on the top shelf at the grocery store and cannot reach. The person’s primary appraisal may begin deciding whether or not to help the person based on how it might affect themselves. Will the person in need be grateful for the assistance, or refuse their help and embarrass them? Many personal factors quickly come into play while making this snap decision; values, beliefs, goals, self-consciousness, etc. The individual’s secondary appraisal helps determine what should be done about the scenario. Should the individual grab the item for the person, should they wait back and see if someone else helps, or wait to see if the person finds a way to grab it themselves. These types of cognitive appraisals happen within us every day, and all the time. Coping refers to a person’s ability to manage the mental, emotional and physical demands of their external environment by using methods to help reduce or tolerate the stress that these environments cause them. Coping has two functions: dealing with the problem at hand in their environment, and being able to regulate the emotions that are caused by the situations in their environment. Both cognitive appraisal and coping are two major facets of CBT because they both relate to how someone is able to manage themselves cognitively and behaviorally in different environments, particularly ones that might causes stress or anxiety. Learning to become more in control with cognitive appraisal and make decisions based on what the client wants to do may be essential in progressing with every day cognitive functionality. If the client is naturally reluctant, but they want to help, CBT may help them make the determination faster that they want to help the person who cannot reach the item on the shelf. Similarly, finding healthy ways of coping with adverse situations is another crucial part of CBT. While many people with serious stress and anxiety issues are unable to cope properly, CBT helps find ways to help clients cope in a healthy manner. Using certain techniques, role-playing and other forms of improvement unique to each person’s wants and needs can help someone cope better in adverse situations that they normally would be very uncomfortable in.

    Despite not having any therapy experience to date, I think that learning some of these basic cognitive concepts (coping, appraisal, etc.) helps lay a foundation for my psychoeducation specific to CBT. In order to educate clients and help put a name to the problems they are having, this alone might quell some of the stresses and anxieties that they may have. So I think getting a basic understanding of these concepts is especially crucial for myself as a therapist so that not only I, but also the client can start to make progress. Then, by knowing what these cognitive concepts are, we can start to work on them and finds way to help clients better deal with the environments that cause them stress, anxiety and other detriments they may be experiencing.

    Reply

    • Emily Barefield
      Jan 29, 2022 @ 19:50:18

      Hi Will,

      I like how you used a simple, everyday example to explain the cognitive appraisal process. Each person has a different collection of experiences, beliefs, and values that affects how they react in even very simple situations. I also liked how you describe coping as managing yourself. Sometimes this involved actively doing something to change your environment and other times it involves turning inward and managing your responses to the environment.

      You also did a great job of highlighting the importance of psychoeducation. I agree that giving names to the clients’ experiences can help tremendously. Great post!

      Reply

    • Sandra Karic
      Jan 30, 2022 @ 11:04:43

      Hi Will,
      I liked the way you described appraisal and your example of seeing a person who might need help at the grocery store. I also liked the emphasis you put on how quickly cognitive appraisal can occur and how we can control it. I think you did a great job explaining coping as well. I agree that as future therapists it is crucial to have a strong foundation of some of the concepts behind CBT so that we can better support clients.

      Reply

  7. Emily Barefield
    Jan 27, 2022 @ 12:28:03

    Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal is useful in understanding individual differences in behaviors and emotions across individuals. Cognitive appraisal of a situation involves mental activity involving judgement, discrimination, and choice activity based primarily on past experiences. Because judgement, discrimination, activity choice, and certainly past experience vary widely among individuals, individuals interpret and react to the same or very similar situations quite differently. Understanding how a person cognitively appraises an event or a series of events is essential to the process of CBT. In J. Beck’s writings, she notes that a person’s reactions always make sense, once we know what they are thinking. An individual’s primary appraisal of a situation involves the evaluation of the situation as irrelevant, beneficial, or stressful and dangerous, and their secondary appraisal allows them to determine what can be done about the situation they are in. An individual who appraises a situation as irrelevant will have a much different emotional and behavioral response than an individual who appraises an event as stressful. Understanding patterns of appraisal in individuals can help therapists understand behavioral and emotional reactions and allow the opportunity for these appraisals to be altered as appropriate. According to Lazarus and Folkman, coping is constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to handle specific external and internal demands that are determined to require more resources than the individual presently has at their disposal. Coping is a process and entails what a actually thinks or does in a given situation. Emotion-focused coping, which occurs when an individual believes they do not have control of their environment, involves reducing emotional distress by reframing an individual’s interpretation of a situation or choosing to focus on something else. Problem focused coping involves defining the problem, generating a solution, and carrying out the chosen solution. Understanding how individuals choose to cope and which type of coping used in given situations is an important part of CBT. A therapist can work with the individual to help determine if the currently utilized coping strategies are adaptive and beneficial to the client or if they are maladaptive and harmful. CBT also works to alter maladaptive thinking patterns used to cope and replace them with adaptive thinking patterns that produce long-lasting beneficial coping styles for the individual.

    My initial impression of CBT is that it makes a lot of sense. I have really enjoyed reading about the basics of CBT and the example of its use with “Abe” in J. Beck’s book. The model of CBT, the idea that emotions and behaviors are influenced by the how one appraises a given situation (their thoughts) seems simple enough to understand. J. Beck’s quote that “people’s reactions always make sense when we know what they are thinking” resonates well with me, and I think that idea can motivate therapists to be empathetic and to understand where the client is coming from. It also gives the therapist a starting point to compare future progress too. I also really enjoy the goal setting aspect of CBT and can certainly see myself utilizing that with clients. While I do feel somewhat comfortable with my understanding of the very basic principles of CBT, I do not feel confident in my ability to consistently apply these principles in practice, at least not yet. It seems as though there are so many ways in which these principles can, and should be, applied. This is certainly a great benefit of CBT, but it can make it seem overwhelming when learning it. I was encouraged by J. Beck’s note that she was not a good therapist when she began but improved over time with more experience and better understanding of the CBT framework. I do feel that I can learn to consistently apply the basic CBT principles, but I know that I will make mistakes and will probably lack confidence, especially initially.

    Reply

    • Pilar Betts
      Jan 29, 2022 @ 22:48:54

      Hello Emily!
      Great post I really like how you talked about how Judy Beck notes that people’s reactions can be understood once they are expressed, this is an important part of CBT because having an understanding of how the client is thinking is helpful when trying to make progress and even establish the relationship. By demonstrating to the client that you are attentive to their thought processes can show them that you aren’t judgmental of the choices they made to cope with a stressful situation. Your explanation of primary and secondary appraisal was also very helpful and I like how you further explained how those appraisal can influence emotions and behaviors.

      I like that you brought up the quote from Judy Beck and her initial experience as a counselor , because I agree it is helpful to know that you don’t have to be perfect especially when you are first starting out as a counselor.

      Reply

  8. Monika
    Jan 27, 2022 @ 14:56:29

    Cognitive approaches to coping focus on specific strategies in particular situations, they are thought to be guided by appraisal of the situations and are conscious, flexible and responsive to situational contingencies. They include both problem and emotion-focused strategies, that is they attempt to regulate the situations and one’s emotional state. Lazarus and Folkman defined coping as “constantly changing cognitive and behavioural efforts to manage specific internal or external demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person. Cognitive therapy has its roots in the early research on depression conducted by Aaron Beck. Beck had been trained in the Freudian psychoanalytic view of depression turned inward and in his research began to observe a common theme of negative cognitive processing in the thoughts and dreams of his depressed clients. Lazarus and Folkman similarly have contributed to the cognitive approach to the therapy, since the cognitive model is based on an individual’s cognition or individual’s cognitive appraisal of an event and the resulting emotions or behaviours. Personality, which influences our cognitive appraisal of an event is viewed as shaped by the interaction between innate predisposition and the environment. Cognitive therapy aims at modifying distorted cognitions about a situation since behaviour and emotions are intimately linked to thoughts, this approach assumes that behaviour and emotions will change as a result of changing one’s thinking.

    Before beginning the first semester I was a little anxious if I will be able to apply the knowledge from theories since there are a vast number of techniques and methods of cognitive behavioural therapy. Compared to when I started the semester I have a much deeper understanding of behaviour therapy and I feel much more confident. Also learning that cognitive and behavioural interventions have a strong evidence base for specific disorders, especially anxiety disorders and depression also makes me more confident. But having said that, I believe every individual is different and needs to be treated that way, clients might present themselves in ways that I might not have read in books. So, I think applying the interventions, techniques and doing therapy in real is something that will make me as confident as I need to be.

    Reply

    • Emily Barefield
      Jan 29, 2022 @ 20:12:51

      Hi Monika,

      I think you did a great job of discussing coping and relating it to CBT. CBT’s origin as a treatment for depression targeting negative cognitive processes is certainly related to coping. Effective coping often involves modifying one’s cognitive processes, which is challenging work. Being able to evaluate one’s appraisal and coping is an important part of this process.

      I agree that the evidence-based nature of CBT, especially with depression and anxiety, helps improve my confidence in issuing the technique. I also appreciate how you highlighted that every individual’s needs are different and so they will need varying approaches. CBT seems like a great approach to be able to modify for each client. Good post!

      Reply

    • Sandra Karic
      Jan 30, 2022 @ 11:50:49

      Hi Monika,
      I really enjoyed your post this week! I like how you described the emotional and environmental aspects of coping and included Beck’s professional background in your explanation. I also liked how you related cognitive appraisal to personality. I definitely relate with being anxious before the beginning of the first semester and having that anxiety lessen the more we’ve learned.

      Reply

  9. Pilar Betts
    Jan 27, 2022 @ 17:30:47

    My understanding of Lazurus and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal is the following: Cognitive appraisal is how a person interprets a situation and their perception of how stressful the situation is based on their initial interpretation of the event .Coping is process oriented, being that it is constantly changing and have specific demands depending on the occasion that caused the stress. Lazarus and Folkman describe coping as a way to manage stress; they emphasize the importance of using the word managing rather than mastery because some coping mechanisms can be harmful. Lazarus and Folkman also discuss the process approach to coping which is concerned with what the person is thinking or does in response to the stress and what they actually do or should do. In CBT a therapist wants to understand the client’s thought process and behaviors when it comes to coping, they also want to get an idea of what caused the person to utilize a particular coping mechanism in a situation. Coping behaviors and cognitions bring a sense of comfort or safety to a person when they are experiencing a stressful scenario, however the way the person chooses to cope may not actually be helpful or unhealthy for them. It is important in CBT to identify how a client copes because if the coping is unhealthy then they can work with them to find a more healthy coping skill. Lazarus and Folkman discuss anticipation and impact. During the anticipation stage the event hasn’t occurred yet but the person is appraising what will happen. Cognitive appraisal evaluates how well the person can manage a particular threat and how. Secondary appraisal brings a sense of control the person is thinking of how they can prevent or endure the threat. Impact refers to when the event is over or already has begun and then the person has to cope with what happened during the event. How the person decides to cope with the event is based on how they appraised the event for example maybe they blamed themselves or they dissociated or withdrew or chose to distract themselves with work or a hobby. Emotion focused coping versus problem focused coping is the next important aspect of coping, emotion focused coping is about regulating emotional reactions to stress which can be helpful when the stressor is something that can’t be changed however what the person chooses to do to manage those emotions can be harmful such as use of drugs or alcohol. Problem focused coping on the other hand are efforts the person makes to deal with situations that are stressful, which is much more healthy because it involves truly dealing with the situation that caused the stress by seeking help or doing things like meditation or journaling. Which is where CBT can be super helpful because the therapist can help a person transition from emotion focused to problem focused coping skills to help them be less maladaptive. It’s super important as the therapist, to get an understanding of how your client interprets things especially when you are trying to communicate something to them, as demonstrated in the rational thinking reading that people are going to interpret things in their own way so it’s important to know how to communicate certain things to certain people.

    My initial impressions of CBT and my ability to understand and apply them is a little up in the air currently, I think this is because at the moment we are just receiving a lot of information surrounding CBT and its theories but we haven’t gotten the chance to practice the teachings of CBT yet. I am a person who learns best when I can practice or try applying a concept. Once I am able to practice using CBT I will feel more comfortable applying it. With each course I feel more and more comfortable but I think there will always be anxiety about utilizing the skills until I am able to practice and apply them with actual clients so that I can establish a style. However, CBT excites me because I really like the fact it focuses on not only the behaviors and not only the thoughts or environment but accounts for the impact of all three on each other and it’s clear that how effective that would be when working with a variety of clients with a variety of different personalities and issues.

    Reply

  10. Sandra Karic
    Jan 27, 2022 @ 19:25:41

    Cognitive appraisal plays a role in CBT through its impact on emotions and behaviors. It acts as a mediator in the relationship between a given event or stressor and a behavior. There are multiple types of cognitive appraisals, such as primary, secondary, and reappraisals. The names of these types of cognitive appraisals suggests that they occur in a certain order or have differing levels of importance. However, it is important to note that this is not the case and oftentimes the different types of cognitive appraisals are occurring continuously and influencing each other. Primary appraisals involve the effects of the event; is the event going to lead to a benefit, a loss, or have no relevant effect at all? The concept of challenge and threat appraisals strongly reminded me of CBT and how reframing a situation can lead to more positive emotions and behaviors. For instance, it is likely more beneficial to try and view an upcoming exam as a challenge or an opportunity to gain/demonstrate mastery than to view it as a threat. Secondary appraisals involve actions, specifically what can be done in regards to a specific event. The term reappraisal refers to changing a previous cognitive appraisal.

    Although there is much more to CBT than coping skills, helping a client learn more adaptive coping skills can be a very important aspect of treatment. The two main forms of coping are emotion focused coping and problem focused coping. The former refers to coping in a manner that involves regulating one’s emotions and the latter on acting on the environment in a manner that improves the situation or eliminates the problem. Both types of coping are important skills to have, but it is also important to be able to discern which style of coping is appropriate for a given situation. Generally speaking, emotion focused coping is “better” for situations that cannot be changed, whereas problem focused coping is “better” for situations that can be changed. Once again, I’d like to emphasize that knowing whether a situation can be modified, and thus which coping style to focus on, is vital to coping effectively. However, there are also many situations where it would be beneficial to use both types of coping. I find that for the most part problem focused coping tends to remind me more of CBT than emotion focused coping, though I do think that the reappraisal aspect of emotion focused coping also reminds me a lot of CBT.

    I feel a little intimidated by the thought of applying CBT skills to actual scenarios but I am excited to learn more skills and begin practicing them. I felt nervous about my ability to use many of the skills covered last semester in the Counseling Principles class, but found that I improved and grew more confident much quicker than I thought I would with some in class practice and roleplay assignments. I think I will end up having a similar experience in this class in regards to building my confidence with practice. Overall, I feel confident about understanding the principles but still retain some anxiety about applying them. But I also really like our books and how Judith gives examples of using a standard approach with one client but a more complex approach with another. Additionally, I like the questions at the end of the chapters and the bits of encouragement sprinkled throughout the readings.

    Reply

    • Monika
      Jan 29, 2022 @ 18:18:36

      Hi Sandra,

      Great post this week!
      I like how you started the post with the importance of cognitive appraisal in CBT. I really like the simple language you use and the way you explain the points, especially that cognitive appraisals can occur continuously and they influence each other. Good job explaining the types of coping skills, you pretty much covered all the important points. I can relate to, feeling intimidated by the thought of applying CBT skills in a real-life setting as well. But I agree with you that with some practice we’ll feel much more confident.
      Thank you!
      Monika

      Reply

    • Pilar
      Jan 29, 2022 @ 23:45:31

      Hey Sandra!
      I really like how you emphasized the importance of helping the client learn more adaptive coping skills through the explanation of emotion versus problem focused coping. I understand your point about problem focused coping being more closely related to CBT since it is focused on helping the client to come to terms with the behaviors and thought processes that are doing more harm than good. It’s definitely important to address the clients emotion focused coping as well as understanding it to help them work through it and move towards problem focused coping.

      I resonate with your feelings about being able to use CBT skills, and taking Counseling Practices also made me feel more comfortable then I was coming into the program/field. Understanding the concepts and theories is one thing and utilizing them is a whole different story. But with practice and as we go through this program and begin practicum everything will start to come together!

      Great post!

      Reply

  11. Moises Chauca
    Jan 27, 2022 @ 21:10:58

    My understanding of cognitive appraisal in relation to CBT are that there are appraisals that act as a middle point between a situation and how the person perceives or responds to. There are primary, secondary, and reappraisals. Primary appraisal is the first judgement of the outcome situation. The person appraises that the situation is dangerous, beneficial or irrelevant. The second appraisal is where the person evaluates if they can do something to stop the danger or increase the benefits. The third appraisal is the where the person takes in new information from the earlier appraisal and can decide to change their appraisal. These appraisals are crucial in CBT, as we work with the client thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We want to help the client understand these appraisals and how they affect their responses to an event. For example, a client diagnosed with social anxiety can appraise a previous stressful event as dangerous even though there is no present danger in the situation. In CBT, we will guide the client to reappraise these events and take all new information into consideration.
    The coping process is crucial in CBT because we want to guide the client to find adaptive coping strategies that they can use outside of session to be able to endure stressful situations. In CBT, there are two types of coping, one is emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping. These types are important to CBT as they are beneficial to the client in specific situations, and not one of them are better than the other. Finally, coping strategies is a major factor that influence the experience of stressful situations and adaptive/ maladaptive outcomes like depression. A client that uses maladaptive coping strategies can cause more harm to themselves.
    Lastly, after reading the main principles of CBT, I understand these principles and how they apply as a therapist. One of the principles that has been integrated into me was the importance of the therapeutic relationship because the outcome of therapy is influenced by this relationship. Another principle I found interesting is that CBT uses the past if relevant to the present situation and how the person can change. Finally, I found that psycho education is important, as we want the client to understand themselves and evaluate their actions.

    Reply

    • Monika
      Jan 29, 2022 @ 18:03:33

      Hi Moises,

      I really enjoyed reading your post this week. I like how you explained different types of appraisals and also that you covered the point on reappraisals. Your points were brief and easy to understand. It helped me solidify my understanding of the theory more. Also, I liked the social anxiety example you gave and how in CBT the therapist can guide such a client. I agree with you that both emotion and problem-focused coping are important and it depends on the situation, which one of them is better. I believe the therapeutic relationship is crucial as well and one of the main influencers of the therapy outcomes.
      You did a really good job. Thank you!

      Monika

      Reply

  12. Lexi
    Jan 28, 2022 @ 12:27:19

    Lazarus and Folkman propose that the way we form our cognitive appraisals or personal interpretations of a situation which effect how we feel or react. If we interpret a situation as dangerous, uncertain etc that cognitive evaluation will affect our perceptions and behavior. Cognitive appraisals also effect our expectations about positive or negative outcomes in a situation. In relation to CBT this becomes important because we can work with clients to identify how their cognitive appraisals are affecting their emotional states and behaviors, we can examine these appraisals and patterns of thinking as part of therapy to develop awareness into maladaptive thought patterns or perceptions. If in therapy we are able to identify how maladaptive or faulty cognitive appraisals are having a negative effect in the life of the client, we can collaborate and work with them to change their assumptions.
    I have no experience in mental health, and so while I feel like I am being successful in understanding these concepts – I have very little self-efficacy when it comes to imagined application of the specific techniques we are learning in session. I think discussion is key, and I look forward to gaining exposure to these in practicum soon.

    Reply

    • Moises Chauca
      Jan 28, 2022 @ 14:54:14

      Hello Alexis,

      I enjoyed reading your post. You made a quick good point about cognitive appraisal and provided a good example. Cognitive appraisal is an important part of CBT and your example of the connection between cognitive appraisal, pattern of thinking, emotions, and behaviors. Lastly, I also do not have any mental health experience, and I am looking forward to my internship soon as well.

      Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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