Topic 2: Cognitive Theories {by 1/28}

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 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 1/28.  Have your two replies posted no later than 1/30.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

75 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bibi
    Jan 24, 2021 @ 18:25:08

    1. Cognitive appraisal defines how a person evaluates a specific situation. Specifically, cognitive appraisal is a process of categorizing an encounter and the various effects that the encounter might have on personal well-being. There are numerous types of appraisal for specific situations that change how a person might respond to the situation. In addition, secondary appraisals occur and reappraisal can occur which might change how the person views the situation and its possible effects on their well-being. Coping skills and functions are based on how the person appraises the situation. Coping is defined as the cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific environment demands that have been appraised as taxing. Coping is then broken down into emotion focused or cognitive focused coping. These two classes of coping depend on whether the person appraises the situation as a time when little can be done to modify harmful or threatening conditions (emotion-focused coping) or whether the situation is appraised as being amendable to change (problem-focused coping). Each involves different coping skills that are used in relation to the situation. Maladaptive cognitive appraisal could overestimate the harmful effects of a situation or underestimate the person’s ability to deal with a stressful event. Additionally, maladaptive coping could cause a person to view a problem as not amenable to change when it really is and vice versa. All of these are things that a therapist should learn about the patient in response to problem behaviors. Changing these maladaptive thought patterns would be paramount in determining how people might deal with a situation.
    2. I think that I feel pretty confident in my ability to apply these basic principles in practice. The theoretical understandings I think really help to put things into perspective as to how someone might be thinking about situations, how that might effect their behavior and the consequences of that behavior. Overall though, I think I won’t really know exactly what my ability is until I get the change to practice putting these skills into action. That is why practicum and practicing the skills prior to practicum are so important.

    Reply

    • Beth Martin
      Jan 27, 2021 @ 04:19:51

      Hi Bibi!

      I liked your focus on how an individual may not see a situation as changeable when it actually is! I feel like this is something that gets overlooked by the general public (myself included, for most of my life), and that this almost helpless mentality is what can really drag people down. It’s a huge cognitive shift, but being able to see events as something that you can benefit from by changing what you’re expecting from it or how you respond seems to be a huge boon to mental health.

      I had a nice wee laugh at the “it’s loading”, because, honestly, same. I feel like I’m getting there, but I’ve no idea the whole scope of things yet (mildly terrifying)! You seem incredibly determined to go out there and make a difference, and I’m sure you’ll be fantastic at applying things once you get to it!
      Thanks for posting,
      Beth

      Reply

      • Beth Martin
        Jan 27, 2021 @ 04:21:14

        I accidentally got yours and Althea’s message overlapped…that’s embarrassing. Sorry! Ignore the second half of that~

        Reply

    • Tayler Weathers
      Jan 27, 2021 @ 12:21:56

      Hi Bibi! I think you’re right about maladaptive appraisal and coping. I also think that you’re right in that the therapist needs to learn the methods of the patient – and how they have been useful and not useful. One thing I see with coping is that sometimes it will really work and sometimes it will not. The key for patients might be to better differentiate those two instances, so that they can have more coping options and cope effectively for the long run.

      Reply

  2. Althea Hermitt- Mcpherson
    Jan 26, 2021 @ 03:15:24

    (1) Lazarus and Folkman indicated that cognitive evaluation is essential in generating a response. Individuals, therefore, undergo a series of mental activities and based on their prior experiences they make judgments, arrive at a choice of action or inaction, and distinguish the significance of a situation or event. Several people could go through the same situation or same stressor however they can have different responses based on their appraisal of their ability to cope with the situation. Lazarus and Folkman indicate that if a person does not think that they have the ability to cope with the stressor or situation they will experience a stress response. Two types of cognitive appraisal are utilized; these are primary and secondary appraisal. Primary appraisal refers to the individual’s initial perception of the situation, they, therefore, ask questions such as am I in trouble, is this situation beneficial or not, will this affect me now or in the future. These appraisals are interpreted as relevant, irrelevant, or benign positive. On the other hand, secondary appraisal occurs when an individual perceives the situation as stressful, and therefore they think about what can be done so they consider what is already lost, what harm or loss can occur in the future, and their potential for growth after the situation. This, therefore, takes into account coping mechanisms in order to prevent further harm or figure out what they can do to alleviate the stressful situation. As new information presents itself, individuals will reappraise the situation and potentially modify their approach.
    Coping is important in whether or not an individual going through a stressor will resort to adaptive or maladaptive thinking or behaviors. Individuals are sometimes unable to escape a stress response and therefore the individuals have to find ways to cope with the situation. In order to cope the individual will need to engage in cognitive and behavioral modification to change their perception or manage their internal and external appraisals of the stressor or their ability to cope with the stressor. There are two forms of coping emotion-focused and problem focused coping. Emotion-focused coping is used when the behavior is seen as unchangeable therefore the focus is on regulating the person’s emotional response while problem focus coping is geared towards managing or altering the troubled person’s environment that is causing the distress. Lazarus and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping in relation to CBT is very crucial as CBT focuses on understanding and changing faulty thinking. Cognitive appraisal of a situation or event dictates how they perceive or interpret the event. Cognitive distortion can cause individuals to interpret events as stressful or threatening when they are not, however, CBT is helpful in correcting these misrepresented thoughts. Also, one’s secondary appraisal and reappraisal are vital to CBT as these processes focus on coping. The individual can be able to understand their faulty thinking and figure out strategies to help them cope and manage internal and external demands.

    (2) My initial impression of my ability to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist is that it’s loading. However, I feel like I can learn anything I put my mind to and CBT is something that I’m excited to learn. I have learned some basics from the counseling principles and practice course. I am a hands-on learner and therefore I’m looking forward to practicing the tenets of CBT.

    Reply

    • Beth Martin
      Jan 27, 2021 @ 04:24:06

      Hi Althea!

      I thought your summary of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s ideas was thorough but to the point, and helped solidfy my understanding of it – thank you! I accidentally attributed your second response to Bibi (because I’m apparently 80 years old all of a sudden…), but your comment about “loading” really resonated with me! I’m exactly the same at the moment; I think I’m going to be able to get there, but I’m honestly unsure about how to apply anything when we’ve not got an awful lot of knowledge on how to do so. I’m sure we’ll get there though! You seem to be able to ask the right questions to get to the heart of things, and I’m sure you’ll be as fantastic with CBT when it comes to it.

      Thanks for posting!
      Beth

      Reply

    • Anna Lindgren
      Jan 27, 2021 @ 11:50:00

      Hi Althea!
      I really enjoyed reading your post. I agree with Beth, your description of Lazarus and Folkman’s ideas was thorough and helped me to process the nuances of it. I also feel like we are taking in a ton of information at the moment, and I am eager to shift from learning theory to practice. Having this thorough theoretical base, however, is sure to help us in the long run when we are practicing CBT with clients.
      Thanks and I’ll see you in class!
      Anna

      Reply

    • bibi
      Jan 27, 2021 @ 18:02:29

      Hi Althea, I felt like you did a really good job breaking down exactly what was going on in the Lazarus article. I felt like honestly, your post was a great example to look back on to review how people utilize appraisals of situations, how these appraisals are different for each person, and how people then use their coping skills in a given situation. Overall, I just feel like your post was a really solid explanation and I will honestly probably use it when the exam comes around for remembering more about coping skills.

      Reply

    • Anne Marie Lemieux
      Jan 27, 2021 @ 19:17:05

      Thank you for your comments. The point that people can appraise the same situation very differently is an important point and one I neglected to mention. Your thoughts on CBT and the impact shifting thinking and exploring coping can have was insightful. The only confusion I had was that I think the primary appraisal includes stress appraisal and the secondary appraisal is the coping assessment but I would double check.

      Reply

  3. Beth Martin
    Jan 27, 2021 @ 04:15:03

    Cognitive appraisal, per Lazarus and Folkman, refers to how a person evaluates a situation they find themselves in. Said evaluation is focused around whether or not this particular situation is related to ones’ well-being, and if it is, how. When it comes to these appraisals, there are several sub-types: primary, irrelevant, and benign-positive. Primary appraisals look at the “overall picture” of an event; whether an individual is going to see benefit or trouble from something, and how. It is often engaged in during times of stress, where an individual has been harmed, there is a threat, and therefore the anticipation of harm, and/or challenged, which focuses on how an individual may grow from an event, with pleasant emotions associated with it, such as excitement. Primary appraisals, therefore, categorize events into two categories: something that can hurt me, or something that can help me grow. These categories are not exclusive, however, and individuals can appraise an event to be both harmful but forwarding, experiencing positive and negative emotions simultaneously. Furthermore, an individual’s primary appraisal can shift and change as events unfold and change themselves. Individuals who perceive situations as a potential for development have advantages over their more threatened counterparts, and this can have a large impact on health and how they function.

    Secondary appraisals occur after primary, and focus on what an individual can do about the situation they find themselves in. If an individual has appraised a situation as harmful, what can they do to protect themselves? Or, if it is potentially beneficial, what can they do to reap said benefits effectively? These secondary approvals are impacted by outcome and efficacy expectancy; how a person believes that their behaviors will lead to specific outcomes, and how successful they will be in engaging in those behaviors. These appraisals, when combined, can impact coping skills, as they determine how an individual views a situation. Someone feeling threatened by a situation will behave differently to cope with the negative emotions to someone who is having a pleasant time, and vice versa. These coping skills are process orientated, focusing on what is thought and done during an event, adaptive, and contextual, considering what is needed per situation. They can focus on emotions, by lessening (e.g., avoiding) stressors, distracting oneself, or by changing the meaning of how an event is currently understood. Problem-based coping skills, on the other hand, are engaged in when a situation is seen as flexible or changeable, and an individual comes up with strategies to change said the situation. Coping skills are heavily impacted by primary appraisals: if an individual sees a situation as a threat, rather than a challenge, they may be less problem-based in their coping skills, choosing to distract themselves or avoid things entirely. This means Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of the two is important when it comes to CBT; they focus on how faulty thoughts/cognitions can result in maladaptive behavior. An individual who is more negative may not believe they are capable of changing a situation, and someone with previous bad experiences during a particular event may see a threat when it could be an opportunity to grow. Focusing in on how an individual appraises a situation, and how they then go on to behave afterwards re: their coping skills, seems like it could closely tie in to CBT when evaluating why a person acts the way they do.

    I feel fairly confident about my ability to understand the basic principles of CBT. I’m not crying into my textbooks yet, anyway, and I’m taking that as a good sign that I’m absorbing the information I’ve picked up previously and am connecting it to the material in this class thus far. I’m considerably less confident about actually applying it (and I can’t even think about consistency at this stage). Everything I read about seems sensible in theory, and it’s something I can map out in my head with “textbook” cases (e.g. if this individual is doing this, may xyz is a good approach), but real-life humans are terrifyingly unpredictable. I have no idea how to go about applying things when I don’t know how it will be received/impact someone. I’m hoping that goes away as I get actual practice/observation in, but right now my coping skills are engaged in “nope, avoid” thinking.

    Reply

    • Anna Lindgren
      Jan 27, 2021 @ 12:00:16

      Hi Beth!
      I really enjoyed how you tied in your own coping skills to your current confidence level with the CBT skills. I feel similarly, in that the theories make sense, and thinking about them through the lens of case examples is helpful. However, the reality of working with clients in just a few short months is really nerve-wracking because of all of the current unknowns, like the specific CBT skills we will learn in this class, if we’ll be in person (likely not), what my coworkers and clients will be like, etc. There is certainly a lot of information to synthesize and apply between now and then but I feel confident that we will get there!
      See you in class,
      Anna

      Reply

    • Tayler Weathers
      Jan 27, 2021 @ 12:25:41

      Hi Beth! I agree with your statement, “Coping skills are heavily impacted by primary appraisals.” In addition, I feel like reappraisals (which almost become another primary appraisal) have a huge impact on coping skills as well. Sometimes it is not the incident as it exactly happened that influences our behavior, but how we interpret it once we walk away. I know I have done that – for example, having a pleasant time at a job interview, then walking out of the room, getting in my car and thinking “wait, that was really off-putting, I did not like that.” In the moment it seemed fine, but afterwards it didn’t! I feel like emphasizing the difference to clients may help, as they may feel that their two appraisals don’t match, which can be disconcerting, or that they do not know how to evaluate a situation properly. So, I think it is a combination of the two that determines coping skills!

      Reply

  4. Tayler Weathers
    Jan 27, 2021 @ 12:19:28

    1) Lazarus and Folkman’s theory of cognitive appraisal and coping are important for clients and therapists because they give a framework for understanding human behavior.
    Cognitive appraisal is the way that humans evaluate stimuli (often stressors in this case) and respond to it. Rather than “knowing” a stimulus is threatening or not, then making a “choice” between fight/flight/flee, as it is often simplified, Lazarus and Folkman add more layers to the issue: the primary appraisal, where the initial threat and strength are determined; the secondary appraisal, where the individual begins to account for their coping skills, deciding on steps to see if they can change the situation; and reappraisal, where the individual takes in new information and decides how they’re going to keep reacting to the situation. I think, without this breakdown, it would be difficult to understand where some individuals have problems – for example, anxiety. Yes, it’s easy to say that individuals with anxiety evaluate certain threats to be more threatening than they may actually be, but it is also a matter of secondary appraisal. Without the appraisal that the threat cannot be addressed, the anxiety might not be as severe. In addition, it is very hard to just “turn off” someone’s anxiety; but it might not be as difficult to encourage them to have a more intentional secondary appraisal. The same applies to coping skills. Coping skills are efforts to maintain taxing internal or external demands – which I think is an important distinction. Often, I feel like “coping” is discussed without the emphasis on the demands being placed, especially with the pandemic. Recognizing the demands on the individual is just as important as recognizing how to deal with them, because otherwise it would be very difficult to respond appropriately. In addition, coping can have different ends, which Lazarus and Folkman highlight: increasing or decreasing emotional distress or changing the meaning of an event. It is important to realize that not all coping methods are equal, and that some might be okay in some situations, but not in others.
    2) I think that I could apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist, if I review them regularly. The information seems intuitive and sensical, but it does not feel automatic yet. For me, that automatic part of interactions is what I want to hone, so that I do not have to be sending my brain in too many directions at once. I want to be able to keep it focused and on message, which I feel like is possible, but will take a lot of effort to ensure. I know that isn’t the most specific answer, but that’s where I’m at!

    Reply

    • bibi
      Jan 27, 2021 @ 18:04:25

      Hey Tay,
      I like how you got straight to the point here and described how cognitive appraisals provide an important framework for understanding human behavior. I hadn’t really thought about appraisals like that but it really makes sense and I feel like neatly summarizes the importance of appraisals. How people appraise situations explains how we give meaning to the environment around us.

      Reply

    • Michelle McClure
      Jan 27, 2021 @ 21:45:16

      Hi Tayler. I just wanted to tell you I appreciate the honesty in your post. Try not to worry too much if all the information does not come automatically, that is why you are here, to learn. If this information came naturally then everyone could do their own CBT therapy to themselves and we would not have a career, lol. I know that as you continue to learn and grow and eventually practice your CBT skills you will find that they become much more automatic and in 10 years you will barely remember a time in grad school when they did not. Keep up the good work! I hope you have a great week.

      Reply

    • Laura
      Jan 28, 2021 @ 12:03:47

      Tayler, I relate to your thoughts about the future entirely. Though I feel like I am learning what I need to be learning step by step right now, it is definitely going to take practice and time for these things to feel automatic to me. With that said, your other responses always demonstrate that you have a very clear understanding of our course content so I think you’ll be great!

      Reply

    • Christina DeMalia
      Jan 30, 2021 @ 15:22:29

      Hi Tayler,

      I really like how you used anxiety as an example of how both appraisal and secondary appraisal can be useful. I completely agree that a person can not just be expected to “turn off” their anxiety at the start of any therapeutic process. If they are conditioned to perceive things as threats more than necessary, it is hard to change that automatic thought on its own. However, their secondary appraisal about what to do about their perceived threat can assist in turning that maladaptive appraisal into an adaptive reaction. An example of this would be using coping mechanisms to calm the anxiety or to problem solve the situation to reduce the supposed threat. If a person can practice this, they can then reappraise the situation and recognize that it it didn’t turn out as badly as they had feared. Hopefully over time this act of choosing adaptive responses to stressors and reappraising situations to more accurately perceive them, a person will realize some of that anxiety is unfounded, and this realization may help them to change their core beliefs and reduce anxiety overtime.

      Reply

  5. Anna Lindgren
    Jan 27, 2021 @ 13:05:35

    1. Lazarus and Folkman’s theory of cognitive appraisal addresses how individuals respond to stimuli in their environment. Upon primary appraisal, the individual will decide if they perceive the stimuli as benign-positive, stressful, or irrelevant. Stressful stimuli could be harm/loss, threat, or challenge, but are not mutually exclusive. A stressor could be both challenging and a threat. While the primary appraisal is of the stressor itself, the secondary appraisal is of the coping strategies available to the individual and the consequences of utilizing them. Individuals can overcome the stress response with either problem-focused or emotion-focused coping. In problem-focused coping, they attempt to change the situation itself, whereas with emotion-focused coping, they change their relation to the situation. These theories of appraisal of stressful stimuli and selection of coping responses are directly linked to CBT because it examines the almost instantaneous thought process behind appraisal and how it informs the behaviors of coping strategies. This fits in with one of the core propositions of CBT, that cognitive activity affects behavior.
    2. I feel confident in my theoretical understanding of CBT so far, and I think once we have the chance to put theory into practice, I will feel more confident in my ability to successfully apply CBT principles in a clinical setting. As far as perceived challenges go, I have been thinking about how complex most people’s problems are, so finding a place to start or an issue to focus on first could be difficult. I’m also aware that many people’s problems come from sources that they have little control over, so I’m curious to see how we can use CBT to help these individuals (e.g., those living in poverty or housing insecure individuals).

    Reply

    • Pawel Zawistowski
      Jan 27, 2021 @ 21:39:16

      Anna,
      I feel very similar in regards to my understanding of CBT. I believe so far it has been easy practicing with classmates, or watching someone else use these techniques in videos. It will be interesting to see how it all comes together in a less scripted situation. I imagine understanding theory of CBT will be of great importance once we are working with individuals who are facing more complex problems such as living in poverty or are suffering from serious substance abuse issues.

      Reply

    • Michelle McClure
      Jan 27, 2021 @ 21:54:30

      Hi Anna,
      I found your comment really interesting and thought I would respond. I think the answer to your question about clients in complicated personal circumstances, in part anyway, is part of your first answer to question 1. There are two types of coping skills, one problem-focused coping skills are all about changing what can be changed in the environment, so what happens when the environment is not easily changed? I would think that would be where the 2nd type of coping skill comes in, emotion-focused coping. If you can’t change your situation, you can change how you think about the situation, and that will in turn change your emotional reaction to the situation. If you can make someone in a difficult environment look at their circumstances differently, future thinking, maybe even hopeful that can have an effect on their thoughts and behaviors which may perhaps open them up to more resources and possibly better future circumstances. Just a thought, I hope it was helpful or thought provoking. Thank you for sharing and have a wonderful week.

      Reply

      • Anna Lindgren
        Jan 28, 2021 @ 10:41:40

        Hi Michelle,
        Thank you for this response, it helped me to put it into that perspective of applying the different types of coping strategies to clients needs. See you in class!
        Anna

        Reply

    • Cailee Norton
      Jan 28, 2021 @ 11:37:01

      Anna,

      You’ve done an excellent job at laying out the quick process of appraisal and coping. This quick protocol everyone goes through when facing an event is something that can be difficult to understand at first, but once we look at the individual moving parts it becomes much easier to understand. I agree with you on your relation of these concepts to CBT in that they form essentially the thoughts and behaviors of the CBT model, and the activity of this procedure directly affects behaviors. I definitely agree with you on feeling a bit less confident in applying these theories that we are understanding right now to individual cases. I had not thought about the problems that people have no control over, and how CBT could be effective in this. Perhaps the ways in which we teach our clients to conceptualize their problems, and the way they think about them can lead to acceptance of the lack of control, but sometimes just providing a guiding light can open up new doors and possibilities to clients that feel they have no control. Great job!

      Reply

  6. Connor Belland
    Jan 27, 2021 @ 13:57:41

    My understanding of cognitive appraisal is that it is sort of the brains way of judging stimuli. When a person experiences something like some sort of event and then cognitive appraisal would look at what just happened and decide how to feel about it and maybe what to do next based on how the brain judges it. A person would take in a stimulus then maybe judge it, see how they feel about it, possibly categorize it in their brain based on how it will impact their life, and respond accordingly. Like the Bandura theory we talked about a stimulus will cause a response the stimulus in this case would also cause a response but before the response happens the brain decides how this stimulus will affect them, sort of like the inner dialogue that Miechenbaum talked about, and then the response or action will be taken once the brain has judged what the best way to do so is. There are primary appraisals which happen first and look at the whole stimulus and whether they see it as a threat or beneficial to them and then decide how to respond. Then a secondary appraisal can occur after the primary that may look deeper into how the event or stimulus could impact them and think about what they can do to benefit from the stimulus or how they will avoid or deal with the threat.
    2.)My initial impressions on my ability to apply principles to CBT is that I am starting to understand how some of these principles could be applied in some situations but I am not confident in my ability to know the right times to use them. I think once I start therapy and the more practice I get and more opportunities to apply the principles of CBT in therapy I will become more confident. I really like the idea of psychoeducation in CBT and plan to use that in therapy, I just think I need to learn a little more about the things I would be educating clients on to make sure that I can use this skill effectively and come off as an expert to them.

    Reply

    • Anne Marie Lemieux
      Jan 27, 2021 @ 19:37:48

      I liked your post because it simplified a very complex theory. I almost cut off a car the other day and then realized it was a police officer so I didn’t. (Don’t judge I was running late). Anyway I realized that was appraisal! Your post reminded me of that moment because it takes the theory and generalizes it to real life. It clarifies how people are constantly appraising.

      Reply

    • Maya Lopez
      Jan 28, 2021 @ 18:26:08

      Hey Connor,

      I like that you made the connection between perceiving something (thoughts), “judging it” (appraisal), and then deciding what to do next (behavior). You even mentioned how it will affect their lives which speaks to a person’s core belief, that this happened so that means I’m unlovable. I also thought you gave a great overview of the difference between primary and secondary appraisals. I agree with what you said about getting into the therapy room and just beginning to see how well we can apply our skills will affect our confidence. I also agree I love the idea of psychoeducation, however, I always said I never wanted to be a teacher so I will have to get better at explaining my knowledge to clients. Lastly, I mentioned your last point a bit in my post that my fear is I won’t come off as an expert in which I really want to be!

      Reply

  7. Elizabeth Baker
    Jan 27, 2021 @ 18:38:27

    1) I understand that cognitive appraisal, as explained by Lazarus and Folkman, is how we perceive and understand various experiences; and that the appraisal of the experience is an explanation as to why and how we respond in those situations. These appraisals are developed through mentally processing emotions that were experienced during the encounter, and are used to categorize between dangerous and non-dangerous situations. Primary and Secondary are the two forms of appraisals and are both important when evaluating experiences; what is important to note, is that despite their rank-type names, are both equally important in this evaluation. Primary appraisals are used to define the experience, to see if and how they will be beneficial or taxing; and there are three types: Irrelevant, Benign-Positive, and Stressful. Our secondary appraisal is used to further evaluate if and how we can change the outcome of future events. The “how” part of changing the outcome derives from the individual’s perception of which behaviors will result in the desired outcome, otherwise called outcome expectancy. The “if” part of changing the outcome comes from the individual’s self-perception of having the abilities to achieve the desired outcome, otherwise called efficacy expectancy. In addition to primary and secondary appraisal, we also have a reappraisal process that switches into gear and changes our perception of certain experiences. As we continue to go about our lives and interact with our environment(s), we gain new experiences and information about the environment, which in turn changes our perception of our past, current, and future experiences.
    Alongside separating experiences into dangerous and/or benign categories, these appraisals are also used when developing coping responses. There are two main types of coping processes: emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping. Emotion-focused coping is when the individual tries to regulate their emotions towards stressors, and is used when the individual feels that changing the outcome seems hopeless. Problem-focused coping involves trying to change the stressful environment to lower their distress, and is used when the individual feels that their situation can be changed.
    Appraisal and coping styles can be adaptive or maladaptive, and depending on how the individual analyzes their experiences contributes greatly to how s/he develops their coping responses. For example, if continuously appraising and reappraising experiences as stressful and unchangeable, the individual may start to develop strong negative emotions and thoughts that may lead to developing various mental and medical symptoms (e.g., symptoms of depression, high blood pressure, etc.). This relates to CBT because depending on how we categorize, analyze, and react to our experiences, it can help clinicians understand why their client is experiencing distress during certain situations. Understanding how the client perceives their encounters greatly helps the clinician in assisting the alteration of the client’s thoughts and emotional processing of their experiences. As the clinician is working with the client on altering the way s/he processes experiences, the clinician can then understand how the client has been coping with their encounters and can either discover and increase their adaptive coping responses and discover and alter their maladaptive coping responses.

    2) Regarding my abilities with applying concepts of CBT into our future therapy sessions, I feel decent about my skills. I think what we have learned so far can be easily incorporated when trying to understand the behaviors and thought processes of our future clients, but my main problem would be with my confidence. By that I mean, my skills with educating my future clients; I need to work on my skills of confidently and professionally explaining information. Sometimes it is hard for me to speak as coherent as my thoughts are, which makes me feel that I am confusing whoever I am talking to and that I am coming across as uneducated and lacking confidence. Practice makes perfect, I am aware of that, but I definitely need to keep studying what I have learned so far, to feel confident with applying them in future sessions.

    Reply

    • Pawel Zawistowski
      Jan 27, 2021 @ 21:26:02

      Hello Elizabeth,
      I appreciate your explanation of Lazarus and Folkman’s cognitive appraisal and you provided a lot of important details of this mental process. I especially like that you highlighted that primary and secondary appraisal are equally important when evaluating a situation. Also, you stressed that coping styles can be adaptive or maladaptive. I think it is important to understand that just because something helps a person cope with a difficult situation, it may not necessarily be health for their well-being. It is the adaptive coping styles that we need to work on developing.

      Reply

  8. Anne Marie Lemieux
    Jan 27, 2021 @ 19:30:01

    Lazarus and Folkman’s concept of cognitive appraisal states that a person is constantly appraising their environment. The appraisal occurs in between the event and the person’s physiological, emotional, and behavioral response. It is a rapid choice or judgement that determines what a person will or won’t do. There primary categories of appraisal including irrelevant, benign-positive, and stressful with subcategories of harm/loss, threat, and challenge. Irrelevant appraisal has no loss or gain to a person. Benign- positive on the other hand has the potential to be beneficial. However, there still may be some hesitation due to the perception of risk. Stressful/harm loss occurs when an event has caused physical and psychological harm. However, once the harm has occurred it creates anticipation that harm could occur again. This is called stressful/threat. It is when there is an anticipated threat of physical or psychological harm. This can lead to an emotional response of anger, fear, or anxiety. Stressful/challenge is when a person perceives the stress as a growth opportunity and attempts to learn from the challenge. However, the stressful appraisal of threat and challenge are not solo but can vacillate between the two. CBT encourages clients to reappraise their perceptions to accurately assess the event and work to problem solve coping skills. The secondary appraisal concept is the coping strategies. Outcome expectancy is when the determination has been made if there is anything that can be done. Efficiency expectancy asks the question if someone has the ability to even make a difference. Problem solving the event can help a person overcome, prevent future threats, or even improve irrelevant or benign-positive appraisals. CBT allows for people to reflect back and determine their own self-efficacy to overcome the event. There are three primary features to coping including; process oriented (thoughts & actions), contextual (resources), adaptive(reappraising). Reappraisal is constant appraisal and coping loops that occurs as the environment shifts or new information is gained.
    I believe that I have the ability to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist. My self-efficacy is high because it is important to me not only to understand CBT but eventually become proficient with it in order to provide quality care to people. Otherwise, I’ve wasted a whole lot of money and time. I plan to work with children and I find it easy to build rapport with them. Showing empathy and validation to a child is simple. However, I want to make sure I am also working to make them as autonomous as they can be. I also need to be aware of making incorrect inferences about their situations.

    Reply

    • Cailee Norton
      Jan 28, 2021 @ 11:43:41

      Anne,

      I appreciate your ability to recognize what is easy for you with CBT and what will be more challenging. I think you conceptualize the relationship of the client (with your case, children) and the therapist really well and having such strong self-efficacy will only be beneficial to you and your clients ability to make progress. I think as far as your understanding of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s ideas on appraisal and coping you’ve really hit it on the mark. It’s important to have this understanding of the process of examining an event, determining its threat/benefit, and picking a coping style to fit the situation (or more or less what is most comfortable for the client themselves). I think CBT is able to incorporate this conceptualization into the framework of how our cognitions affect our behaviors. Great job!

      Reply

    • Laura
      Jan 28, 2021 @ 11:59:21

      Anne Marie, we share our thoughts in regard to having confidence about the future based largely on the investment we have made in this education. I also agree about working with children and making inferences. I hadn’t thought much about that, but I find myself looking at things so strictly through my current professional lenses because of my career as a child protection social worker. In my work now, there are so many things we pickup on or observe for in interviewing/working with children that are very specific to abuse and neglect and I will have to work on letting go of that role. I suppose having those skills will always be helpful in working with children but I will have to work on seeing things from new perspectives too!

      Reply

  9. Cassie Miller
    Jan 27, 2021 @ 19:55:51

    Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping is very important to consider when studying CBT. Events (or certain antecedents) trigger the cognitive appraisal process in so that we must appraise (or interpret) the situation, which then allows us to respond to it. A cognitive appraisal involves a significant amount of mental activity where we must decide whether a particular encounter with the environment is relative to our own well-being. This requires us to make a mental judgement in which we are influenced by the environment, personal factors, and past experiences.

    There are two appraisals that occur during our evaluation of an event and they are a primary appraisal and a secondary appraisal. A primary appraisal can be described as one’s initial alarms to an event; evaluating whether it is good or bad in regards to that individual’s present or future circumstance and in what way. This first appraisal will allow one to categorize the event in one of three ways: irrelevant, benign-positive, or stressful. It is important to note that a primary appraisal of “stressful” can be determined in relation to a potential or present harm/loss, threat, or challenge to that person. Secondary appraisal has to do with whether or not the individual thinks that something can be done about the event; in other words, their control over the situation. This is where coping strategies become very important because the individual must decide whether or not they believe that certain strategies will be effective in producing a specific outcome, as well as, whether they will be successful in implementing them. The first concept can be defined as outcome expectancy and the latter as efficacy expectancy. These appraisals can be either adaptive to that individuals functioning or maladaptive, depending on the event and the degree to which they are appraising it. For example, someone who has low self-confidence may exhibit the threat primary appraisal instead of the challenge one when being picked for a manager position, due to their own insecurity. This would be maladaptive to their own self-growth and puts a limit on their own potential, which thus leads into the importance of learning to cope and manage these negative appraisals.

    Coping can be described as ones cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and internal demands that are appraised as overwhelming and taxing to their resources. The two main coping processes are emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping. The first has to do with regurgitating one’s emotional response and is mostly utilized when a stressor/event is perceived as unchangeable. The individual cannot really find solutions to the problem itself, but can rather focus on changing their emotional response to it so that it does not overly drain them; honing in on hope and optimism. For example, this strategy may be beneficial to use with the husband of an individual with terminal cancer (the situation is unchanging but the husband can focus on his emotional response to it). Problem-focused coping is usually more effective in situations where managing or changing the person or environment can alter maladaptive appraisals to adaptive ones. For example, by providing an individual with depression additional resources, such as a social skill building group, the counselor is providing them with ways to change their current appraisals and situation. If that person was lacking social resources adding this social skill building group to their life could be especially beneficial and change the way they view themselves and their life.

    These strategies are very useful in CBT as they focus on helping someone change their maladaptive thought processes to certain events to more adaptive versions. By providing an individual with problem solving, as well as emotion focused coping resources, they are allowing them the support to make therapeutic progress. In addition, over time CBT will aid in the changing of these appraisals and provide them with strategies to build their own autonomy in certain areas. I currently feel more confident in understanding the principles of CBT and applying them to certain situations. However, I am still nervous about the in-person CBT element as this is where you have to be very quick on your feet. I still want to practice this verbal client interaction so that I feel more comfortable challenging certain thoughts and successfully using rapport to motivate them towards change. One of the most important elements of CBT is guiding the client towards certain conclusions and getting them to be able to independently use the strategies you are teaching to them. This is the area that I feel only will only get better with time and further study/exploration.

    Reply

  10. Pawel Zawistowski
    Jan 27, 2021 @ 20:48:46

    1. From my understanding, cognitive appraisal refers to the evaluation process we take to determine how different situations affect our well-being. According to our lecture slides, a cognitive appraisal is a mediator between the event and response. Meaning that the cognitive appraisal allows us to evaluate the interaction between all relevant factors involved in the event and facilitates the behavioral response. Primary appraisal refers to when we encounter a situation and determine if we are to benefit from it or will it put us in danger, now or in the future. There are different types of primary appraisals. An irrelevant appraisal occurs when the environment does not give us any implications on how it will affect us in term of gain or loss. Benign-positive appraisal occurs when you encounter an opportunity with a likely positive outcome that we find beneficial, for example enhance social relations at work. However, it can still consist of some level of apprehension. Harm/loss appraisal refers to when damage or loss has already occurred to the person and may result in further loss. A stressful-threat appraisal refers to an anticipated negative outcome and often can cause feelings of anxiety. Stressful-threat appraisal itself is not a bad thing as it can help us avoid potential dangers. However, it can become maladaptive if it becomes a frequent way of appraising an event. A stressful-challenge however, has the potential for growth or positive outcome and is associated with more pleasant emotions such as excitement. Adaptive individuals are more likely to perceive a stressful situation as a challenge, whereas a maladaptive individual is more likely to perceive stressful situation as a threat. However, that is of course not always the case. A second appraisal is needed to help us determine the outcome expectancy, and the efficacy expectancy. It helps us make a better judgment if there is anything, we can do about the situation at hand in terms of improving reward or preventing danger. The efficacy aspect refers to the person’s belief that they can successfully execute the required behavior to achieve a desired outcome. Coping is a process in which a person uses cognitive or behavioral techniques to manage stressful situations or undesirable outcomes. For example, the use of breathing techniques to clam oneself. Coping can be emotion-focused and problem-focused. Coping techniques are useful in treatment because they help client to target a problem and find healthy alternative ways to lessen the severity of it or eliminate it completely.

    2. My initial impressions in my ability to understand and consistently apply basic principles of CBT as a therapist is that there is a lot to master, but I feel confident that this program will get me prepared to provide quality care for people that can benefit from counseling. I believe that there is much to learn from other people’s experience and I look forward to using CBT with clients. Am also looking forward to gaining more experience with CBT techniques and developing a style that works for me.

    Reply

    • Zoe DiPinto
      Jan 28, 2021 @ 16:42:16

      Hi Pawel,
      Your post made me think about where coping falls on the linear timeline of event, appraisal, and response. I wonder if Beck would consider coping to be a part of the appraisal process; one may cope with a breathing exercise in order to lessen feelings of distress which will then effect if the stimulus will be seen as a threat or challenge. On the other hand, I can also see coping as part of the response process. After something has been seen as a threat, one can use healthy coping techniques to find an appropriate response. If I had to guess, I believe the CBT model would support coping to be a part of the response process, especially if developing a coping skill was a goal of the client.

      Reply

    • Yen Pham
      Jan 28, 2021 @ 23:34:00

      Hi Pawel,
      I like your discussion on the cognitive appraisal. You put many details and simple what we have learned from the readings and lectures. As like you, I understand that “cognitive appraisal is a mediator between the event and the response.” Put in the simple word, it refers to the personal interpretation of a situation that ultimately influences the extent to which the situation is perceived as stressful. I have realize the importance of individual perceptions in this theory and that is similar to CBT, where an individual’s perceptions of a particular issue influence their actions.

      Reply

  11. Alexa Berry
    Jan 27, 2021 @ 20:57:01

    Lazarus and Folkman discuss cognitive appraisal as a reflection of the unique and changing relationship taking place between a person with certain distinctive characteristics (values, commitment, styles of perceiving and thinking) and an environment whose characteristics must be predicted and interpreted. The way a person perceives something influences the way they subsequently feel and behave. Due to differences in cognitive construction, situations can differ from person to person. Additionally, appraisals can be mixed and complex depending on person factors and situational context. The cognitive appraisal process is relevant to CBT because with cognitive coping efforts, a person may be able to view a situation/episode in a more positive light than they typically would. Similarly, cognitive appraisal is relevant to CBT because in certain anxiety disorders cognitive appraisal processes may be at play, such as when a person with GAD cognitively appraises their situation as threatening, when the situation may not be threatening in reality. Due to this cognitive appraisal of threat/danger to their well-being, the individual with GAD suffers from associated symptoms of anxiety. In CBT this individual may be able to work towards a goal of seeing their situations more clearly, and changing their cognitive appraisal could lessen their symptoms of anxiety. Different emotions arise as we appraise situations, which can be useful in CBT to break down how certain thought patterns emerge as indicative of depression, anxiety, or other disorders.
    Lazarus and Folkman define coping as constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person. I interpreted this as the ways we manage and respond to events/situations when they are stressful or seem as though they may be out of our control. Coping is relevant to and important for CBT in a variety of ways. One important implication for coping and CBT is individuals with adaptive coping skills are more likely to handle future stressors better than those who do not have adaptive coping skills in place. Another way coping is related to CBT is if an individual does not already have adaptive coping strategies, they can work with their counselor to build some, which in turn will help them with their coping process.

    Thanks to Assumption’s psychology major (undergrad), I have a decent foundation in CBT related principles. Expanding on these principles now gives me confidence in my ability to use these skills and apply them appropriately in counseling. My skills will definitely be put to the test as my practicum placement doesn’t have shadowing built in to it! Overall, I feel optimistic about my understanding of theory, but know it will be a challenge to actually apply these skills once I get the chance.

    Reply

    • Tim Cody
      Jan 30, 2021 @ 22:34:56

      Hi Alexa,
      I appreciated your comments on coping. Developing strong coping skills in the present moment will increase the likelihood of being able to cope in stressful situations in the future. The key reminder here in developing these skills is being able to address when it is appropriate to change their problem or your emotions. Once we are able to recognize the best coping skill for each situation, we are able to apply our skills more coherently and effectively.

      Reply

  12. Michelle McClure
    Jan 27, 2021 @ 21:37:41

    1. Cognitive appraisal, according to Lazarus and Folkman, is the process that a person goes through when evaluating cognitively if a stimulus in their environment is positive or negative and how so on a personal level. The primary appraisal is when a person decides if they have anything to benefit from or to fear from the stimulus. In the secondary appraisal is when a person decides if they need to take action to benefit themselves or to protect themselves. It is my understanding according to Lazarus and Folkman that it is during the second appraisal that a person considers using their coping skills and strategies. Coping is defined according to Lazarus and Folkman as cognitions and behaviors that a person uses to internally manage external and internal demands or stimuli that are judged by the person to be overwhelming. Coping is process oriented in the moment on what a person is thinking and doing, it is contextual depending on the encounter, and it is neither judged as good or bad it just is the way a person is attempting to manage the overwhelming demands. Coping skills can be emotion-focused or problem-focused but are usually both. When coping skills are emotion-focused they attempt to regulate the person’s emotions by changing the way we are inwardly experiencing the situation, when coping skills are problem-focused they attempt to change whatever is happening in the environment that is causing the distress. This relates to CBT because in CBT our cognitions or thoughts about internal and external environmental and emotional stimuli for good or for bad are directly related to our external behaviors. This relationship between our thoughts and actions in CBT as I believe Lazarus and Folkman would agree, are why learning more adaptive coping skills can lead to more positive outcomes. People use coping skills all the time to deal with their emotions and environments, some people use positive coping skills which result in better overall outcomes but just as often people use more unhealthy or negative coping skills and much of the time these more negative coping skills will result in either short term or long term problematic outcomes. Teaching people how to learn and develop healthy adaptive coping skills is a big part of most CBT focused therapeutic treatment plans.
    2. I really like CBT and the theories and principles that are part of CBT. It makes lots of sense to me that thoughts, emotions and behaviors are connected and constantly are playing off each other. Since that makes sense to me it also makes sense to me that changing any one of those things will then lead to changes to the others. If a thought I am attracted or attached to is causing me to have problems in my current environment then changing that thought process, although probably initially difficult, is important for me to function optimally in my current environment. I think being adaptive to our environments is important t to our overall wellbeing. I am in a clinical therapy program because I am very empathetic and have always had an interest in helping people and helping children and I like the way CBT works to help people. I think CBT is an effective therapeutic technique because the therapist works with the client to change thinking patterns and sometimes core beliefs that are not working for them and replace them with more adaptive thinking. Also helping clients by helping them to replace some not so great coping skills that may be causing the client more harm than good into healthy positive coping skills that will result in overall better outcomes for the client. I think it is also important to teach clients the difference between emotion-focused coping skills and problem-focused coping skills and if they are using the right types of coping skills at the right times. I am really looking forward to learning as much as I can about how to apply the principles of CBT with clients so that I can apply what I am learning about CBT with my future clients.

    Reply

    • Brianna Walls
      Jan 28, 2021 @ 15:15:50

      Hi Michelle! You seem very confident using the basic skills of CBT, I admire that! I agree with you, it is important that you yourself understand how CBT works, or else you are teaching others skills that you don’t even understand, and that can be very problematic in therapy. I enjoy learning more about CBT, as life starts to make a little more sense to me. By changing the way one thinks will lead the individual to change their behaviors. I have learned so much from this program already and I am eager to learn more!

      Reply

    • Abby Robinson
      Jan 29, 2021 @ 17:39:12

      Hi Michelle,
      I really like the way you described emotions and behaviors of coping skills relating to CBT because thoughts and emotions about certain stimuli or events have such a strong influence over the behaviors that are produced following those cognitions.This directly relates coping skills because adaptive coping skills for said stimuli will (hopefully) produce a beneficial behavior or thought that will help the individual during their appraisal and re-appraisal. That is an important part of CBT! See you in class 🙂

      Reply

  13. Abby Robinson
    Jan 27, 2021 @ 23:59:28

    According to Lazarus and Folkman, cognitive appraisal is a judgment and comprehension of a specific occurring event. The appraisal is the mediator between the event/stimulus and the response (either emotionally or behaviorally.) During this evaluation, the individual makes choices on what to do or not do based on experiences. During this appraisal time, the first step in the process is the primary appraisal, which basically means to evaluate the event and decide if the situation is threatening and if alarms should be triggered, if the event it benign, or if the event is beneficial and what can be done about it. The second step in the appraisal process is the secondary appraisal, which is when the individual decides if they have the appropriate skills to handle the situation or if they have the necessary coping skills. And lastly, reappraisal happens in situations where new information about the even is gathered (if possible) and then continues to follow the original appraisal or change the level of threat originally interpreted. Cognitive appraisal applies to CBT because, according to Lazarus and Folkman, appraisal is necessary for individuals to survive and to be able to differential dangerous or benign situations. Although, individual interpretations will vary it is important to be able to understand the severity of the event. If an individual has maladaptive appraisal skills, their judgments may not be able to perceive the event as a threat, which could be dangerous, or they could perceive the event to be very harmful when in fact it is not. Lazarus and Folkman also discuss the coping process. The coping process is the efforts the individual puts forth to cope with the demands of the appraisal with behavioral and/or emotional changes. The two types of coping are emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping. Emotion-focused coping is regulating the emotional response to the situation. This type of coping is common when events are seen as unchangeable and emotions are changed to survive what is currently going on. Problem-focused coping is when there is a change in the individual that is in distress from the situation. This is typical in events that are seen as changeable, by problem-solving, changing the environment or self to make a difference. This is important to CBT because effective coping skills are necessary in stressful situations. Necessary adaptive behaviors and cognitions are important for coping in order to make successful changes for themselves.

    My initial impressions on the basic principles of CBT are that they are effective and adaptive to each client. I like that CBT is ‘formulated’ differently for each person because some individuals may need more interventions than others. I also like the understanding that the goal is get the client to become their own therapist and not rely on the actual therapists forever. This seems like a great way to get the client to become independent and aware of their thoughts and emotions. With practice I can definitely see myself using all these basic principles with my future clients.

    Reply

    • Tim Cody
      Jan 30, 2021 @ 22:52:06

      Hi Abby,

      I really like how you address to the different types of coping skills. We need to assess the situation and our emotions to determine how we are to cope to each stressor or event. Some things can and cannot be changed, so it is important to learn both skills. Not only that, just like what you said about CBT, each individual person is different, so the coping skills that one chooses for a specific situation may be dependent on the individual. They may choose problem-focused coping because they believe they can change the situation, or they may choose emotion-focused coping because they know their emotions are getting the better of them. Either way, it is up to the client to be their own therapist and to decide what is right for them in a given moment.

      Reply

  14. Cailee Norton
    Jan 28, 2021 @ 11:32:05

    1. The way I’ve understood Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping is that it almost a distinct series of events. First an individual is presented with a situation, once that client has been presented with an event they begin to process the event and evaluate it based on their past experiences, their judgements or biases, etc. This first appraisal essentially focuses on whether the event is stressful, positive, or doesn’t carry any implications on the persons future. The next appraisal is intended to evaluate if anything can be done to prevent the stress (be it a challenge, threat, or harm/loss). It’s a chance for the individual to make a plan as to how to tackle the event, and to do this they must use coping. Depending on the event, the determined positivity, negativity, or just nothingness will dictate the coping mechanisms used to move forward. Coping is used to manage the demands of the external stimulus (in this case the external event) and determine how to best move forward without being too draining on the individuals abilities or resources. Obviously this is a much more drawn out process written out, but in reality this happens within every individual in an instantaneous (or relatively quick) appraisal, coping, and response protocol. This can be related to CBT through the fact that CBT aims to change the ways in which we think about the event (the appraisal part) in order to more adaptively move forward emotionally and behaviorally (the coping and response parts). While Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of this is a bit more theoretical and drawn out, the basic parts relate directly to CBT, and CBT essentially focuses on these parts to make changes and make individuals think more adaptively.

    2. My initial impressions in my ability to understand the theories of CBT have been consistently surprised me. I feel like I can lay out the frameworks, understand the theories, and see how they can effectively enact change within a client. The ability to implement these theories however still seems fairly daunting. While seeing this on paper and seeing the logic for a basic problem, it’s difficult to conceptualize this to an actual client due to their complexity and intricacies. Every case is different, and while the theories can be used to understand our clients and techniques can be used to gain more insight and help focus our clients, it is nonetheless difficult to tackle the complexity of each individual when you are first starting out as a CBT therapist. This will take time, and obviously we aren’t going to be doing everything all at once. It is important to continue our work by learning these techniques, practicing them in a safety of our breakout rooms, and moving forward with supervision and practice. Eventually we will get there, but understanding the theories has instilled the foundations we all need as future therapists.

    Reply

    • Zoe DiPinto
      Jan 28, 2021 @ 16:54:30

      Hi Cailee,
      Thank you for your post! It made me take a step back and realize how fast all of these things are happening in our clients. We study each of these steps of event, appraisal, coping, and response very slowly and thoroughly in class. However, when a troubled client walks into our office, these thoughts and emotional responses will be re-hashed to us in a haphazard manner, often driven by distress. As you pointed out, the decision to appraise an event as threatening vs irrelevant will happen quickly. It will take clear de-construction and practice to unlearn these quick appraisals to eventually effect the response. I’m getting excited that I am understanding how CBT can have a large impact, but I must remember to stay patient as well!

      Reply

    • Elizabeth Baker
      Jan 29, 2021 @ 14:31:57

      Hello Cailee,

      You did a great job with summarizing the core aspects of cognitive appraisals and coping! I also believe cognitive appraisals and coping integrate rather smoothly into the focus of CBT; even when analyzing our own actions, appraisals and coping seem to be very seamlessly incorporated into our daily functioning. I guess that is obvious, but it is still eye-opening to understand other explanations as to why we react and behave the way that we do.
      I also agree with you on the difficulty of applying these techniques to each client, as each client comes with their own set of stressful life events and will respond to therapy differently. I think everyone is feeling a bit nervous since we are starting our practicum next semester, but I do not doubt that you will eventually be confident in altering therapies to accommodate each of your clients in the future. As you say, with further practice and experience, we will become more confident in our abilities!

      Reply

  15. Laura Wheeler
    Jan 28, 2021 @ 11:52:02

    (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?
    My understanding of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping in relation to CBT is that it is a middle step that takes place between an event and a response. The cognitive appraisal is when an individual appraises a situation with the environment to decide if the situation is relevant to well-being, and if so, how. Cognitive appraisal involves judgement, discrimination, and choice; all based largely on past experiences. The process of primary appraisal will result in a number of outcomes: the event could be irrelevant, positive, or stressful. In terms of being irrelevant, there is nothing to be gained or lost. If an event is positive, there could still be some apprehension, but the potential outcome is positive, or there is potential for something to be gained. If the appraisal results in a stressful response, it could be related to potential harm/loss, a threat, or a challenge. In a secondary appraisal, the situation is evaluated to determine what, if anything, can be done to overcome a potentially stressful situation. I found this note to be particularly helpful in understanding this process: “secondary appraisals of coping options and primary appraisals of what is at stake interact with each other in shaping the degree of stress and the strength and quality of the emotional reaction.” Further, there are circumstances where there is a “reappraisal” during which time there may be more information offered that changes the result of the initial appraisal. For example, a situation could first be appraised as being positive but with more information it is seen as stressful, in which case the appraisal and therefore response, would be altered. The coping process is described as a persons constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external/internal demands. The coping process has three main components: it is process oriented, contextual, and adaptive. There are two types of coping: problem focused coping and emotion focused coping. Problem focused coping is centered around changing the relationship that is causing distress, while the emotion focused coping practice involves regulating the emotional response to the stressor. Problem focused coping is seen as being more productive for reducing stress long term, though emotional coping is also beneficial.
    I personally have a strong sense of self-efficacy in regard to mastering CBT and being a productive and successful therapist, though I still have a tremendous amount to learn. I find that I am drawn to the practices of CBT based on simply agreeing with the theories and fundamental ideas, so I am eager to continue learning more.

    Reply

    • Abby Robinson
      Jan 29, 2021 @ 18:16:03

      Hi Laura
      I feel the same way about feeling confident about be able to use CBT in practice because of the theories and fundamental ideas about it. When I first started this program I had little knowledge about CBT and didn’t realize there were several other therapeutic methods. This made me a bit nervous and unsure because it crossed my mind that maybe I had wanted to learn to use other methods of therapeutic treatment. But, since learning more about the theoretical background and more about the basic principles of CBT I’m more confident that this route seems to be fitting. I’m very excited to learn the skills and techniques of CBT as well.
      See you in class 🙂

      Reply

    • Christina DeMalia
      Jan 30, 2021 @ 14:49:09

      Hi Laura,

      I think it is really reassuring to see someone who is confident in their ability to apply CBT practices and have high self-efficacy. I relate to your sentiment of agreeing with the theories and fundamental ideas of CBT, and that is why I am also so excited to be learning about it. To me, it seems like the most logical approach to mental health. Maladaptive thoughts leading to maladaptive behaviors means that by adjusting those thoughts and behaviors to more adaptive ones will have positive outcomes for mental health and desired behaviors. Although I have been familiar with CBT through my work as a residential counselor, I have never been the one coming up with treatment plans, so I definitely think I have a lot more to learn. However, hearing that you have been able to work with CBT comfortably and feel confident in it makes me feel reassured that it is possible to become comfortable with applying CBT over time.

      Reply

  16. Lilly Brochu
    Jan 28, 2021 @ 11:52:48

    (1) Based on Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisals, they are defined as the mediators (thoughts, emotions, feelings) between an event and a behavioral response to that event. Through these cognitive appraisals, individuals evaluate or judge whether this event or encounter is particularly relevant to their overall well-being, and what is done in response to this event is important in relation to their own adaptive or maladaptive functioning. There are three overarching categories of cognitive appraisals: primary appraisals, secondary appraisals, and reappraisals. Primary appraisals are how we initially evaluate or judge situations or events. Primary appraisals can be further divided into several subtypes (e.g., irrelevant, benign-positive, stressful). First, irrelevant appraisals are when there is an encounter that neither benefits or does not benefit the individual. This is more of a neutral situation that does not imply any gains or losses from the encounter. Benign-positive appraisals are perceived to be beneficial and overall positive on the individual’s well-being. Stressful appraisals are judgements about painful/difficult experiences or losses an individual has previously sustained, is currently anticipating to occur, or can be viewed as a challenge an individual can take on for personal gain or proficiency. For example, individuals who are maladaptively functioning may perceive situations in ways that create feelings of anxiety when there was no reason to (e.g., inaccurate alarms), or they may not perceive an event as relevant when the situation or event was of importance. Next, secondary appraisals are judgements about what might happen and what could be done about a particular situation or event to benefit from it. Secondary appraisals include evaluating what coping skills and tools may help the individual to accomplish what is needed to be done. Lastly, reappraisals are appraisals that have changed based on new presenting information from the environment or from the individual. The difference between the previous types of appraisals and reappraisals is that reappraisals are connected to an earlier appraisal, and modifies it. Reappraisals are what allow us to learn or not learn from our previous mistakes or can affect our environment to improve or not based on our responses and behaviors. For individuals to face potential stressors or difficult events or situations in their lives, it is important to develop *healthy* coping skills and processes to work through their difficulties. There is not one “clear-cut” way of solving a problem, and many do not take the same approach. Individuals may use emotion-focused coping or problem-focused coping. Emotion-focused coping is how individuals regulate emotional responses to problems that may seem unchangeable. It is used in ways that comfort the individual, but can also be detrimental if they refuse to acknowledge or deny situations, feelings, or events. On the contrary, problem-focused coping is how an individual manages their difficult inner or external distress in relation to problems that are perceived to be changeable. In relation to CBT, understanding how our cognitions and emotions can “make or break” situations for us is important in understanding how our client’s may perceive their world differently, or in their decision-making processes. Moreover, this applies to how people approach their own distress, and it is essential to understand and validate that in therapy sessions, every person is different in how they cope or handle their distress.

    (2) In my own experiences so far in this program, I am both nervous and excited to utilize the skills of CBT that I have briefly learned. During PSY-600, I learned a lot more about how and what skills worked efficiently in our practice therapy sessions. However, one of my biggest concerns is that my own personality and warmth may need to be “toned down” a bit. I am not sure if I am in my head about it, but I feel as though I am too excited or anxious to understand and get to know the individual, and what I can do to assist them. With practice, I am hoping I can slow down and match the pace of the individual and understand how much time they need for them to be successful in therapy. It is hard to tell how well I will do when practicum comes around, but I know that with practice, my skills will improve. It is difficult not to be hard on myself when this is something that has not been really practiced in my life up until this point. Overall, I think the basic principles of CBT have been straightforward and not too difficult to understand in how they play a role in the therapeutic relationship and the client.

    Reply

    • Carly Moris
      Jan 28, 2021 @ 14:27:08

      Hi Lilly!

      I think you did a really good job explains appraisal and coping and how the two concepts relate to each other! I also agree with you that in CBT it is important to understand how emotions and cognitions can effect how an individual views a situation and how it may effect their decision making processes. I also think you bring up a really important point that it is important for us to remember to validate a client during this process. Even though we are looking for adaptive and maladaptive functioning we are not looking to judge a client or make them feel as if they did something wrong.

      I’m also nervous and excited to use the CBT skills we have learned! And i agree its hard to know how we will actually do until we need to apply them. Though, i will say working with you in PSY 600 for our skills practice you do seem to do a great job empathizing with your client and matching their pace! And while it was a practice session i felt like you did a good job at getting to the heart of the issue, and it didnt come across as being rushed or trying to get to the issue too quick! And i agree i think we just need to be able to use and practice these skills more to be able to feel more confident in them!

      Reply

      • Lilly Brochu
        Jan 29, 2021 @ 08:49:52

        Hi Carly!

        It is so important to validate and respect our client’s emotions and how they perceive certain situations and events to truly understand their perspective whether that be that the glass is half full or half empty. Through that, we can begin to understand why they think or respond to situations, events, or other individuals the way that they do.

        I enjoyed having our practice sessions together in PSY-600! I thought we both did a good job at utilizing our skills while balancing empathy and compassion for our client. I appreciate your reassuring words about my own anxiety about my own skills. 🥺 I definitely agree that the more you practice something, the easier it gets and the more “normal” it feels. I felt like by the end of our course last semester, I felt more comfortable and confident in being able to assist my clients and use CBT skills.

        Reply

  17. Nicole Giannetto
    Jan 28, 2021 @ 13:42:07

    (1)
    Cognitive appraisal is the understanding of the process of how an individual responds to their environment, specifically, to the environment in which their main problems stem from. People may respond to the same stimulus in various ways. For example, let’s say that 3 people wake up late for the same job. The first person’s reaction is, “I woke up late. I will get ready as quick as I can. I don’t want to leave my coworkers low-staffed.” They drive the appropriate speed to work, because they want to make sure they get to work safely. The second person may react by saying, “I’m late. They are going to fire me. I am horrible at my job.” They may drive faster to work, or may end up not going in at all because of their feelings of worthlessness. The third person may say, “S***! I’m late! I am so mad!” They may rush around and express anger. They may throw things that they cannot collect fast enough. They may speed and drive recklessly, and as a result, will put themselves and other drivers in danger. This is one example of how different people can react differently to the same stimuli. The way that a person responds is based on how they perceive situations, which is rooted in their thinking process that has been established and maintained throughout their cognitive development.

    Lazarus defined coping as constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external or internal demands that are causing distress in the individual. The stages of coping consist of the anticipation stage, impact stage, and post-impact stage. The way an individual responds in each of these stages relate to cognitive appraisal. An important distinction made is that coping skills are person-oriented rather than trait-oriented which emphasizes the reasoning that the individual is ever-changing and should be defined as who they are presently versus their traits which can cement them in the idea that they will always be, for instance, a ruminator, a “debbie-downer”, or an angry person. Coping is a process, and people first learn coping skills as an infant, through interactions with their primary care-giver. Establishing secure-attachment is a positive developmental skill that sets a strong foundation to develop further positive coping skills. On the other hand, establishing an insecure attachment as an infant can make it difficult for that child to develop positive coping skills as they develop. The process of coping is ever-changing, though, and so it is possible for individuals who struggle with coping skills to improve upon them (therapy!), although it may be a bit challenging.

    (2)
    I have become more informed and increasingly confident in my ability to eventually utilize CBT within therapy through reading about CBT from various researchers. Understanding the history of how CBT came to be, and especially how other perspectives have begun to integrate this theory within their own practices have educated me on the importance of this type of therapy. Reading different case examples where CBT is applied is also quite helpful, because it shows how versatile this perspective is and how it can be effective in treatment of a spectrum of disorders.

    Reply

    • Yen Pham
      Jan 28, 2021 @ 23:59:11

      Hi Nicole,
      I have enjoyed reading your posting and regard on your discussion about the theory of copping. You understand this theory very well and bring some example to support your thoughts. Basis on the definition of copping as you said “coping as constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external or internal demands” that makes me think about that coping involves spending mental energy in a way that can reduce stress. Whether conscious or subconscious, the ultimate goal of all coping mechanisms is to solve a problem and return homeostasis. Coping is dependent on personality patterns and perceptual experiences. Finally, I believe that the strategies one choose for adapting to a situation is highly individualized. Coping is never the same for two people.

      Reply

    • Connor Belland
      Jan 30, 2021 @ 15:41:30

      Hi Nicole, I really liked the way you describe coping methods and the differences between trait oriented and person oriented and how the coping in this case is person oriented. I think its also important you mentioned the changes that happen and how coping mechanisms change and develop as a person gets older, starting when they are an infant and adapting throughout the entire developmental process.

      Reply

  18. Carly Moris
    Jan 28, 2021 @ 14:04:11

    1.
    My understanding of cognitive appraisal is that it mediates between an individual’s environment and their response to the environment. Cognitive appraisals are a processes for understanding all the aspects of an event/stimulus in regards to its significance to wellbeing. This is important for CBT because cognitive appraisals can shape an individuals evaluation of an event and the decisions they make about the event, and how they feel about it. There are two types of cognitive appraisal primary and secondary appraisal. Even though they are called primary and secondary appraisal one processes is not more important then the other, and one does not necessarily come before the other. There are three kinds of primary appraisal irrelevant, benign-positive, and stress. Irrelevant is when an interaction with a stimulus has no implication for an individual’s wellbeing, or the individual has no investment in possible outcomes. Benign-positive appraisals occur if an encounter is seen as positive, or if it improves their wellbeing. Stress appraisals can be further broken down into three categories harm/loss, threat, and challenge. Harm/loss appraisals occur when some type of harm has already occurred to the individual. Threat appraisals occur when harm has not yet occurred, but it is anticipated. Finally challenge appraisals focus on the potential for gain and growth when dealing with adverse encounters. Secondary appraisals are important for stressful encounters because they take into account what coping options are available, the likelihood that they will accomplish what is needed, and the likelihood of the individual being able to carry them out effectively. Primary and secondary appraisals interact with each other to shape the amount of stress and the emotional reaction we experience in a given situation. This is important for CBT because we can work backwards from an emotion to the particular cognitive appraisal that produced it. This can help us identify any maladaptive appraisal processes that a client may have.

    Coping depends on an individuals appraisal. When an individual appraises a situation to be taxing on themselves or their resources they will engage in coping. Coping is the use of constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific internal and external demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding resources. Coping is concerned with what an individual actually thinks or does, how this applies to a specific context or situation, and how coping thoughts change as the stressful encounter occurs. Coping is not a static or single occurrence but a process that changes with continuous appraisals and reappraisals. The length of this processes depends on the type of stressful encounter an individual is dealing with and the resources available to them. There are two types of coping problem focused coping and emotion focused coping. Problem focused coping is involved with managing or altering the problem causing distress, and is more likely to occur when the individual appraises the situation as something they can change. Emotion focused coping is involved in regulating emotional responses to the problem, and is more likely to occur when the individual appraises that nothing can be done to modify the environment. One form of coping is not necessarily better than the other and often times an individual will engage in both problem and emotion focused coping. This is important for CBT because at certain times some forms of coping may be more adaptive than others, and at times emotion and problem focused coping can help or hinder each other. It is important to determine what kinds of coping a client is using and if it is helping or exacerbating their problem. The way individuals cope also depend on the resources available to them and the constraints that are put on these resources. In CBT it can be helpful to help a client identify possible resources at their disposable and constants that may be keeping them from fully utilizing their resources.

    2.
    So far I feel fairly confident in my understanding of the basic principles of CBT. So far the theoretical underpinnings that we have read about and how they apply to adaptive and maladaptive functioning makes sense. I feel like I have a general understanding of what we want to look for when we are evaluating clients and how it goes beyond the DSM criteria. That we don’t want to just look for if they fit a specific DSM diagnosis, but at how their problem behavior or thought processes fits into these different concepts of adaptive or maladaptive functioning because that is what we are going to be targeting/focusing on in therapy. However, I am a bit nervous on how to actually apply this knowledge in an actual session while using the appropriate helping skills. Like what questions should we ask to get at this information. Also the idea of trying to keep all of this in mind, while also trying to use all of our helping skills and establishing a therapeutic relationship seems a bit overwhelming at the moment! Though I know with more practice and learning more these processes should hopefully become more automatic and feel natural to use.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Baker
      Jan 29, 2021 @ 15:13:30

      Hello Carly,

      Thank you for your well-described post! You captured each area of cognitive appraisals and coping in a well thought out manner. I like how you stated that coping is not a static nor single occurrence. I feel that this is a very important reminder for ourselves, friends and family, and future clients when we go through hardships. It is easy to say, “I use to handle this so well, why is it hurting me again?” When we are going through a hard time, which may make us seriously doubt ourselves. Having this as a reminder is honestly so important, although our coping mechanisms have continuously worked for us, there are times when we may be knocked down again and our coping mechanisms won’t be as effective. That is why not only is it important to remind ourselves that our coping mechanisms are constantly evolving, but that we also have to continuously work on ourselves to make sure we have alternative coping mechanisms while we strengthen our current ones. If that makes sense.

      I also agree with you that understanding our current knowledge of CBT seems fairly simple, but the difficulty comes when we are actually face-to-face with clients. I am sure all of these “what if” moments are popping into everyone’s heads as we search for our practicum placement and prepare to engage in our dreamed experience. I hope we can all stay in touch with one another and provide advice if we start having doubts about our skills, and continue to communicate our experiences! I am sure you will eventually feel competent in your skills as you learn from each therapy experience, I wish that for all of us!

      Reply

      • Lina Boothby-Zapata
        Jan 30, 2021 @ 15:07:11

        Hi Elizabeth,
        I share with you the feelings of overwhelm, I have thought many times about the internship and seeing my clients. The elements that we have learned in the classes that come to my mind are; Frist we need to have a structured interview meaning that we know how to navigate the session and we have planned ahead of time what we are going to do based on the initial intake by phone with your client. Second, utilized our measurement class and chose an assessment that responds to the client’s clients needs for example if it is Depression, take Beck Inventory-II, and Hopelessness Scale. Then, know the theory to educate the client about his/her problem, especially automatic thoughts, and core beliefs, and the Triad Person, Behavior, environment seem to be a key to explain the client’s symptoms. But I believe that we learned all of these on the path of our Master’s degree and our personal clinical practice. For me, most of all are our Ethics as a counselor, I think we can’t recognize by now the capacity of influence and change people’s lives and promote healthy or unhealthy behaviors. Thus, to ethics code in our practice go by the hand with the theory and practice

        Reply

      • Carly moris
        Jan 30, 2021 @ 21:39:20

        Hi Elizabeth!

        That does make sense! Especially because coping skills that work in one situation may not work in others. I think this is one of the important things to keep in mind when we are looking into adaptive and maladaptive forms of coping. That we need to look at the context of the situation to determine if it is adaptive. This is also why it is important to develop a broad number of coping “resources”, so we are better equipped to handle a wide array of adversities.

        Also I’m glad im not the only one who is nervous about our future practice. I hope we get to meet in person soon, especially to be able to discuss our experiences with our practicum and internships!

        Reply

  19. Brianna Walls
    Jan 28, 2021 @ 15:02:07

    1. According to Lazarus and Folkman, cognitive appraisal is a mediator between the event and the response the individual will have towards the specific event. The appraisal of the situation requires the individual to judge, discriminate, and choose one’s activity or reaction. In addition, a person’s cognitive appraisal is based largely on their past experiences. In other words, cognitive appraisal refers to how the individual interprets a specific situation and if this particular encounter with the environment is relevant to their well-being, and if so, how?
    The cognitive appraisal process starts off with primary appraisal. Primary appraisal is where the individual asks themselves “am I in trouble or am I being benefited?” “Is it now or in the future and in what way?” Primary appraisal has three categories, irrelevant, benign-positive, and stressful. When something is irrelevant we appraise it as nothing is being lost or gained in the situation. On the other hand, if an individual appraises something to be benign-positive they see it as something that will preserve or enhance one’s well-being. It is also important to note that even though the individual see’s the situation as benign-positive there could still be a little bit of apprehension, but overall it is an opportunity for the individual to gain from the current situation. There are three sub-components of stressful, harm/loss, threat, and challenge. Harm/ loss is when the individual has already experienced some damage to oneself. It is important to note that when one has experienced ham/loss there is always some threat involved as well, meaning there could be more threat to come in the individual’s future. Threat on the other hand are harms/losses that have not yet taken place, but the individual sees them in their future. This is characterized by unpleasant emotions such as anxiety. Challenge however is the potential for the individual to gain something or grow and is characterized by pleasant emotions.
    Secondary appraisal is basically the individual asking themselves, if anything, “What can be done about it, in other words, do they have the ability to respond to the situation. It is an evaluation of whether or not the individual can prevent harm from the threat or in an opposite situation is there anything they can do to enhance the situation. This, therefore, takes into account how they will cope, and what are their coping options. Reappraisal however is basically the individual is reassessing their first appraisal. The individual is provided new information and the individual is learning or not learning from their mistakes. Reappraisal and appraisal are basically the same concepts.
    There are two main types of coping, emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping. Emotion-focused coping is typically used when the individual sees the stressor as unchangeable. The individual is regulating the emotional response to the individual’s problem. It is used to maintain hope and optimism within the individual etc. Problem-focused coping however is when the individual is trying to manage or alter the environment that is causing them stress. This coping mechanism is typically used when the stressor/event is seen as changeable. This type of coping is typically seen as reducing stress within the individual in the long-term.
    Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping is related to CBT. It provides the clinician a framework of how the client thinks and reacts to certain situations. This information will be useful for the clinician when they are trying to figure out their client’s problem(s) and it will also be useful when providing a treatment plan for the client. The clinician will have a better understanding of how they think and respond and therefore might be able to help them based on this information, and helping change the client’s thoughts and behaviors is a key concept in CBT.
    2. I am extremely nervous about the upcoming summer semester for when I start my practicum. I have had no experience working with clients in a therapy session so this makes me extremely anxious. In Psy 600 I was able to practice some CBT skills in a therapy like setting. This helped me out and made me a little less anxious but I feel like when I am put into a room with an actual client I will be extremely nervous. I am confident that I understand the basic principles of CBT but, I am unsure if I will know when and how to apply them at the right time during a therapy session. Overall I need a lot of practice but I am confident by the end of this program I will be able to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist.

    Reply

    • Lina Boothby-Zapata
      Jan 30, 2021 @ 15:12:31

      Hi Brianna,

      I share with you the feelings of overwhelm, I have thought many times about the internship and seeing my clients. The elements that we have learned in the classes that come to my mind are; Frist we need to have a structured interview meaning that we know how to navigate the session and we have planned ahead of time what we are going to do based on the initial intake by phone with your client. Second, utilized our measurement class and chose an assessment that responds to the client’s clients needs for example if it is Depression, take Beck Inventory-II, and Hopelessness Scale. Then, know the theory to educate the client about his/her problem, especially automatic thoughts, and core beliefs, and the Triad Person, Behavior, environment seem to be a key to explain the client’s symptoms. But I believe that we learned all of these on the path of our Master’s degree and our personal clinical practice. For me, most of all are our Ethics as a counselor, I think we can’t recognize by now the capacity of influence and change people’s lives and promote healthy or unhealthy behaviors. Thus, to ethics code in our practice go by the hand with the theory and practice

      (I replied twice to the same message. This for Brianna and no Elizabeth)

      Reply

  20. Yen Pham
    Jan 28, 2021 @ 15:13:24

    1.a.Understanding of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal

    According to Lazarus and Folkman (1984), cognitive appraisal is a mediator between the event and the response. It is the subjective interpretation made by an individual to stimuli in the environment. To put in simple word, cognitive appraisal is defined as the way in which an individual responds to and interprets stressors in life. Lazarus and Folkman (1984) point out that one’s appraisal of the situation requires mental activity involving judgment, discrimination, and choice of activity, based largely on past experience. There are three kinds of cognitive appraisal: primary, secondary, and reappraisal.

    Primary appraisal, an event is interpreted as dangerous to the individual or threatening to their personal goals. There are three kinds of the primary appraisal can be distinguished: irrelevant, begin – positive, and stressful. Irrelevant appraisal occurs when an encounter with the environment carries no implication for a person’s well-being. The person has no investment in the possible outcomes, nothing is to be lost or gained in the transaction. Benign-positive appraisals occur if the outcome of an encounter is construed as positive; it preserves or enhances well-being or promises to do so. These appraisals are characterized by pleasurable emotions such as joy, love, happiness and peacefulness. Stress appraisals include harm/loss, threat, and challenge. In stressful—harm/loss, some damage to the person has already been sustained. The most damaging life events are those in which central and extensive commitments are lost. Lazarus and Folkman (1984) emphasizes, even when a harm/loss has occurred, it is always fused with threat. Stressful threat concerns harms or losses that have not yet taken place but are anticipated; characterized by unpleasant emotions (e.g., fear, anxiety, and anger). The primary adaptation component of threat is that it permits anticipatory coping. The third kind of stress appraisal is challenge that focuses on the potential for gain or growth inherent in an encounter and is characterized by pleasant emotions (e.g., eagerness, excitement, exhilaration.

    The secondary appraisal, the individual evaluates their ability or resources to be able to cope with a specific situation; “What, if anything, can be done about it?” In other words, second appraisal is an evaluation if anything can be done to overcome or prevent harm from the threat; and/or improve the prospects for benefit. It takes into account which coping option will accomplish what it is supposed to, and the likelihood that one can apply a particular strategy or set of strategies effectively. Lazarus and Folkman (1984) reference two terms “outcome expectancy and efficacy expectancy” from Bandura (1977), the outcome expectancy refer to the person’s evaluation that a given behavior will lead to certain outcomes, while the efficacy expectation to refer to the person’s conviction that he or she can successfully execute the behavior required to produce the outcomes. In addition, the secondary appraisals of coping options and primary appraisals of what is at stake interact with each other in shaping the degree of stress and the strength and quality (or content) of the emotional reaction. Finally, Lazarus and Folkman (1984) argues that reappraisal refers to changed appraisal on the basis of new information from the environment, which may resist or nourish pressures from the person, and/or information from the person’s own reactions. A reappraisal is simply an appraisal that follows an earlier appraisal in the same encounter and modifies it i.e., appraisal and reappraisal do not differ.

    1.b. Understanding of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of coping

    Lazarus and Folkman (1984) argue that coping is the person’s constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the person’s resources. There are three key features of copping. Process oriented copping focuses on what is actually thought and done in the stressful encounter. Contextual copping considers the appraisal of the demands during the stressor and available resources. Adaptive (changes) coping is a shifting process from one form of coping to another as the status of the person-environment relationship changes. There are two forms of coping, emotion-focused and problem focused coping. Emotion-focused coping is used to maintain hope and optimism, to deny both fact and implication, to refuse to acknowledge the worst, to act as if what happened did not matter, and so on. These processes lend themselves to an interpretation of self-deception or reality distortion. The problem-focused coping is managing or altering the troubled person-environment relation causing the distress.

    1. c. The relation between cognitive appraisal, coping and CBT

    There is a relationship between cognitive appraisal, copping and CBT because these theories emphasize an individual’s cognitive factor i.e., their perception, explanation on a situation. A situation in and of itself cannot cause distress. In contrast, it is the interpretation of that situation that drives the distress. For example, let’s say that a dog is running toward you on the street (situation/event). If you think to yourself, “That dog is going to bite me!” then you would probably feel scared (emotion), your heart would start racing (physiological response), and you would probably run away (behavior). However, in the same exact situation, if you were to think, “What a cute dog!” then you might feel happy (emotion), you might smile (physiological sensation), and you might approach the dog to pet it (behavior). Therefore, the same exact situation can result in different emotional, physiological, and behavioral reactions- depending on the automatic thoughts that you have about the situation. In other words, your perception of a situation influences your reaction to this situation. I believe that in every situation that we experience in life, we have automatic thoughts, which influence how we feel, how our body responds, and how we behave. Automatic thoughts are powerful because the manner in which we interpret a situation derives how we react that situation.

    2. What are your initial impressions in your ability to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist?

    I understand that CBT is a very popular technique for most counselors and therapists. There are 10 basic principles of CBT that direct towards an end to help the clients to become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking. Then, clients can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way. To apply these principles, I a therapist should know how to gather the information of my clients by identifying their problem, encouraging clients to share about their thoughts on their problem, helping clients to realize their negative or behavior thinking that is distortion the truth of their problem, and reshaping clients’ thoughts, and thinking. I also understand that when applying the principles of CBT, a therapist should realize the factors of culture, race, sex, and age. They are some ways will affect the therapist to guide his clients. Finally, I understand that CBT is a guide that helps clients to change their reception on their behavior rather than a rule or norm that they must do. On this CBT process, clients always have free will.

    Reply

    • Lina Boothby-Zapata
      Jan 30, 2021 @ 14:47:33

      Hi Yen,
      What a nice post, it is very thorough and I was impressed with your understanding of CBT. I definitely think appraisal is equivalent to automatic thoughts and that it is activated when the individual needs to assess an external situation. I am thinking if automatic is always activated because of an encounter or if there are internal situations that activate the automatic thoughts, like emotions. Another note is that I don’t think automatic thoughts are always “on” I think there are other types of cognitions, like life dreaming, remembrances, and reflections, etc. In relation with your understanding of CBT, I am thinking that CBT is like an ocean so much to navigate and learn. I will follow up J. Beck recommendations; Learned the fundamentals of CBT and have the experience of applying them the clinical practice. Hence, I will bring A. Beck method that said “ Whenever you experience an unpleasant feeling or sensation try to recall what thoughts you had been having prior to this feeling” and think this a simple and beautiful method to approach with your client to identify automatic thoughts.

      Reply

    • Nicole Giannetto
      Jan 31, 2021 @ 19:21:15

      Hi Yen. Thank you for your post. I appreciated how much detail you used to explain your understanding of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping and how they both relate to CBT. One of the key points you made that stood out to me was how you explained that it is our interpretations of stimuli in our environment that cause us to have a different experience (pleasant/unpleasant) from others. I also liked how you broke this down and gave examples about the different phases people may go through when encountering a dog. For some, seeing a dog may elicit a pleasant reaction, while for others, the dog may be an unpleasant trigger. I also appreciated how you explained the way in which you would implement CBT into your own practice, especially with acknowledging the diversity of clients and cultures with whom you may engage with.

      Reply

  21. Zoe DiPinto
    Jan 28, 2021 @ 15:34:05

    To appraise a piece of art is to pause, examine, and determine the value of the item in modern context before taking action to assign a price. Cognitive appraisal follows similar structure. Appraisal happens after an event or stimulus is present. Before a reaction can occur, one must pause to make a judgement or choice about how to proceed. A primary appraisal has the opportunity to be either irrelevant, benign positive, or stressful. If the appraisal is irrelevant, the individual believes the stimulus has little to no implication for their well-being. A benign-positive appraisal suggests that the stimulus may suggest future benefit of well-being. If the individual has a stressful appraisal, the stimulus is perceived to harm/ be the cause of harm, show a threat to one’s well-being, or pose as a challenge (with potentially good or bad outcomes). Secondary appraisals and reappraisals may be taken at future points to continue the evaluation of the situation and form necessary expectations that are reliant on one’s perception of self-efficacy. Coping tactics are also used in this stage to generate ideas of what can be done to achieve satisfaction or goals. Both emotion and problem focused coping strategies are aimed at causing a beneficial internal reaction to the stimulus that will result in an adaptive behavior.

    These readings were extremely helpful in my conceptualization of CBT. I feel more confident in my understanding of what a therapist’s focus should be on. Targeting the process of how thoughts arise and effect emotions makes sense. We should be going through the experience of our clients step by step. We should aid them in tracking their thoughts, recognizing which are adaptive and which are irrational, and be working to help them make these identifications on their own so they feel they do not need therapy anymore. Ideally, we will help provide a client with tools that they can take with them through life. Finally, we should do it in a way that provides empathy, understanding, and even identification with the client.

    Reply

    • Lina Boothby-Zapata
      Jan 28, 2021 @ 15:52:58

      POST

      Cognitive Appraisal
      Lazarus defines Appraisal as the intermediate process between an event and a response. Based on his investigations, he proposed the concept of “Cognitive Appraisal and defined it as a mental activity that involves first discrimination, the second choice of activity, and third past experience. Hence the individual has the mental capacity to assess or evaluate circumstances or events that happen in the environment. This is assessed based on his well-being, questions such as this: an adult who was in party someone offered him cocaine. The sober individual needs to assess what is being offered to him, such as; Does it appropriate for me? Will this benefit? Should I try? What is going to happen next? What are my friends at the party going to think if I said no? In Lazarus’ words, the questions should come out like; am I in trouble or being benefited, now or in the future, and in what this particular way? In general, the Appraisal could be irrelevant, benign positive, and stressful. Consequently, what is essential for Lazarus is the “psychological situation”, stating that if we can understand the individual’s cognitive Appraisal, we can understand the human variation under different conditions. In summary, there are three basic forms of Appraisal—Primary, Secondary, and Reappraisal.
      Three types of processes categorize Primary Appraisal; first, stressful-harm/loss is when the individual has experienced a harmful situation, injury, illness, or a loss of a beloved one. Second, Stressful-threat is when the individual is anticipating that an event will harm him, however, the situation has not happened yet. Third, Stressful-challenge is categorized by pleasant emotions such as eagerness, excitement, exhilaration, and an opportunity to grow and develop. Secondary Appraisal is when the individual is in jeopardy and faces a situation where it can be threatened or challenged. Hence, the individual appraises the situation, thinking if it can prevent harm or overcome the challenge. Secondary Appraisal can be understood as further assessment of the situation. For example, when a person said; I will give it a second thought and give back to you. Scenarios such as; e a new job offer seem to be a challenge, or an invitation to a high sport such as paragliding or visiting a friend who is living in a neighbor where gang violence is. As Lazarus said, Secondary Appraisal is a “complex evaluative process” where can apply a particular set of strategies. These are outcome expectancy and efficacy expectancy. The third form of cognitive Appraisal is Reappraisal. Lazarus explains reappraisal with an example of anger and outburst, stating that the individual affects the person who is receiving this behavior, but at the same time affects the individual who expressed these emotions. As a consequence, it might result in guilt or shame. Hence, reappraisal can be understood as the evaluation after the behavior is executive and cause effects on the individual. Later, Appraisal becomes what A. Beck named as an Automatic Thoughts

      Coping
      Lazarus describes coping as “the person’s constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the person’s resources”. I can understand coping as the capacity of the individual to be flexible to adapt or equip himself with new strategies to confront or resolve a situation that is being a challenge at the moment. I am thinking about parenting. For example, at the DCF-Adoslecent Unit, most of the parents present the challenge of parenting a teenager. In my experience, some flexible parents are willing to learn new strategies with providers such as parent coaches and apply these new parenting skills or parenting coping skills with their kids (big step). There are three vital oriented features of coping. The first Process-Oriented who focuses on what is actually thought and done in the stressful situation. Second, Contextual where the individual assesses the needs or demands of the stressful situation and the available resources. Third, Adaptive is the capacity to shift from one form of coping to another as the person-environment relationship changes.
      There are two categories of Coping Process, Emotion-focused coping and problem focus coping. Emotion- focused coping is the capacity of the individual child or adult to regulate his emotions and to reduce emotional distress. Lazarus provides strategies such as avoidance, minimization, distancing, selective attention, and positive comparisons, and looking for the positive. Another form of regulate the emotional response to a problem is through Cognitive Appraisal where the individual change the meaning of the situation. And finally, it can also apply Distracting such as exercising, meditating, drinking, seeking emotional support or venting anger. The second category is Problem-focused coping. These strategies can be oriented to the environment or the self. It is essential to know that both, emotion focus coping or Problem focus problem can facilitate and implied in the coping process it depends how the individual utilize them. Coping becomes the core of one of the most useful techniques for CBT

      Principles of CBT in the principal practice
      I was amazed by the reading from A. Beck Cognitive Emotional Disorders. He argues with proof and theory about his divorce with the psychoanalysis and shows the behavioral theory’s inconsistences. This was important for me because my clinical practice in Medellin-Colombia was with Freudian Theory. For some reason, psychoanalysis flooded my city and occupied an essential place in the academic life. Hence, attending my clients based on the simple Freudian Method was “Tell everything that comes to your mind”. At the beginning, this was interesting, I had some curiosity to know about the dark side of the mind. I did my internship at the DYS and l and heard horrible crimes. But then, I found myself lost in the clinical practice because the therapeutic was going anywhere. I felt the urgent need to interact with my clients, being natural no posturing, and expressing more than “let’s see us next week and think about what you have said”. Three were no goals, treatment plan, and clinical formulation presented to the client. Reading Beck is like feeling that empty glass that I had in relation with my clinical practice in the past. I knew something was wrong for me, but I couldn’t figure out what was it.

      Reply

    • Maya Lopez
      Jan 28, 2021 @ 18:06:28

      Hey Zoe,

      I LOVE that you started off referencing art, a lot of times I tunnel vision thinking about all these psych terms but your example gave me a great way to remember this one in a different context! I also thought you gave a great explanation of benign positive and secondary appraisals as well. After the lecture, I too feel more confident even though my original post doesn’t say so haha. It’s nice to hear that we don’t have to get so caught up trying to find ALL the different causes of a person’s mental illness and can in fact stay present with the client and begin to help them work on their presenting problems. I agree that through this knowledge we can certainly begin to find steps to focus on such as the clients, thoughts, and how they relate to their perception or appraisals. I also liked how you emphasized a collaborative approach when you said “ we should aid them tracking their thoughts”

      Reply

    • Althea Hermitt- Mcpherson
      Jan 28, 2021 @ 21:39:56

      Hi Zoe, I like your comparison of Lazarus and Folkman’s cognitive appraisal to Art and how they follow a similar structure. I totally agree that it is important to target the process of how thoughts arise and exploring adaptive and irrational. I am also excited that in teaching the clients the necessary skills they will be able to take on their issues and not feel like they will need a therapist forever.

      Reply

    • Lilly Brochu
      Jan 29, 2021 @ 09:18:35

      Hi Zoe!

      I loved how you began your post with a fun analogy! It is helpful in understanding appraisals if you struggle to understand it completely. As for the readings, I agree! I felt that conceptually CBT is starting to really come together and I am starting to see the “big picture” of how the principles and skills work within therapy. It has been made clearer that it is the core beliefs and automatic thoughts that should be targeted and modified to assist individuals who are struggling. Also, I like that the structure of CBT is created in mind that the client will become less dependent on a professional and more able to cope on their own with the skills they develop and learn through the therapeutic process.

      Reply

  22. Tim Cody
    Jan 28, 2021 @ 15:59:59

    (1) What is your understanding of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping in relation to CBT?

    a. Cognitive is our judgment or discrimination of a choice between the even and response. It is our process of evaluating whether we will benefit from the environment, or if we will be harmed in some way. It is our anticipation of our reaction before the event even occurs. Primary appraisals can be carried out in a few different ways. They can be irrelevant and unnecessary. They can be benign-positive, or whether the outcome of an event is foreseen to be positive, but still carries apprehension. They can be stressful, either because harm or loss has already occurred, or because the challenge ahead could be perceived as either unpleasant or pleasant. However, even if one is able to move forward with the primary appraisals, they may need to still evaluate if there is anything that can be done. This action takes place during secondary appraisals, which are evaluations if the harm or threat can be prevented. This is related to CBT through our viewpoint. In order to improve our well-being, we are constantly making judgments of any potential harms/threats or successes/benefits. If we can enhance our benefits and reduce the unpleasant emotions and experiences, we are able to regulate our emotions. CBT is all about taking control over our emotions and understanding that we have the capability to do so. We have to capacity to change our outlook on certain events and reappraise the situation based on new information from the environment.
    b. Coping is a person’s constantly changing efforts in order to manage their composure during externally and internally appraised situations.it may affect their process of the event that occurred, and the actual changes they must now undergo. There are a few different ways in which a person could cope. The first is emotion-focused coping, which deals with the persons emotions and us usually done if the stressor or event cannot be changed. The second is problem-focused coping, which is when one attempts to change the stressor or life event. Both are necessary, but the one that is related to the CBT the most is emotion-focused coping, for if we are to better our views on certain life events, it is best to change our own perspective rather than the situation. However, choosing the best coping style really depends on the situation itself.

    (2) What are your initial impressions in your ability to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist? (I realize 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!)

    a. My first impressions of CBT is that it focuses on the individual person and how they view the problem-based situations that they are in. If I am to be a good therapist, I should hone in on the unique individual and how their emotions play a role in their mental well-being. In order to consistently apply the basic principles of CBT, I must not be narrow minded, but rather constantly reviewing the CBT model and apply it uniquely to each individual rather than to a whole group.

    Reply

    • Alexa Berry
      Jan 30, 2021 @ 22:25:42

      Hi Tim,

      Your interpretations of cognitive appraisal and coping were well-said and easy to follow. In addition to your comment about how CBT is about “taking over our emotions”, I think it is important to note the importance of modifying maladaptive thought patterns in CBT as well. Similarly, in your response to coping’s importance in CBT, I do think problem-focused coping is important in CBT as well. In some situations, there are solutions, but a person with a maladaptive coping mechanism or thought patterns may not see a clear solution that seems obvious to others. I think Dr V said it best when he said it depends on the situation for whether emotion or problem focused coping is more appropriate.

      Reply

    • Nicole Giannetto
      Jan 31, 2021 @ 19:31:58

      Hi Tim! I thought it was interesting the way you phrased your definition of cognitive appraisal as being our judgement or discrimination of a choice between an event and a response. The word ‘choice’ stood out to me. On the one hand, I considered how people can react to certain stimuli in their environments almost instantaneously, so I was trying to think if it actually can be a choice when we elicit a response. But, of course I then also considered the purpose of CBT, and how, with maybe very little practice or maybe with a lot of practice, someone can change how they typically react to certain stimuli in their environment. Great post!

      Reply

  23. Maya Lopez
    Jan 28, 2021 @ 16:05:13

    (1) What is your understanding of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping in relation to CBT?

    Basically, my understanding of cognitive appraisals is that they can have a major effect on how an individual perceives and interacts with things, situations, experiences, etc. Through Lazarus and Folkman I have learned that the way an individual appraises an outcome can impact the way their view themselves or can spur negative core beliefs. People can have the very same situation happen to them yet experience it very differently, some may appraise it more adaptively than others, which is based on the individual’s history, core beliefs/ working models. Coping references how an individual will “deal” with an event or situation and sometimes even the anticipation of said event. Those who have anxiety tend to cope with the stress of say an upcoming exam by ruminating about what questions will be on it, how they will do, how their classmates will do etc. Coping relates to how a person appraises a situation, the way mentioned could be seen as maladaptive whereas a more adaptive way to cope with the stress of an upcoming exam could be to make a study sheet, make sure they feel confident about the content, and talk to the teacher about things they don’t, seek outside help from friends, etc. In these ways, the person has an appraisal that the exam will go well if I prepare for it.

    (2) What are your initial impressions in your ability to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist? (I realize 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!)

    My initial impression of my abilities to apply the principles I have learned so far varies greatly. There are so many details and moving parts that make every client different and each interaction with them different. I believe I still struggle the most in having confidence that I know what I am doing and am not seen as just some kid who wants to “play therapist” Another fear I have is not knowing what to say or saying the “wrong” thing to a client who is in need of a strong competent therapist. I know it is going to take time for my skills to strengthen and my confidence in them to increase so it seems like a waiting game. And I believe many others have those same fears. Overall, I am excited to get over the first hump/ day in practicum and internship and begin to understand more about what abilities I am good at and what ones need more growth.

    Reply

    • Connor Belland
      Jan 30, 2021 @ 15:13:54

      Hi Maya, I like how when you talked about cognitve appraisal you mentions it could be situations, experiences, things and even more diffferent occurences that can happen, really any stimulus that causes an apprasial to happen and then how we perceive what happened. I like your examples of adaptive/maladaptive methods for coping with an upcoming test.

      Reply

  24. Christina DeMalia
    Jan 28, 2021 @ 18:55:28

    (1)
    Cognitive appraisal is best summed up as the mediator between an event and the response. It is the mental processes that happen as some thing or event is observed. It is the process that determines if something is relevant to the individual, and if so, how they might react. A primary appraisal helps a person to determine if the event is irrelevant, benign positive, or stressful. Something that is irrelevant is perceived as not resulting in anything being lost or gained, whereas benign positive suggests there is something positive that might enhance one’s wellbeing. Stressful appraisals, on the other hand, could indicate harm or loss with damage already being done, threat with anticipated harm or threat, and challenge with a stressful situation that has the potential for gain or growth. All of these types of appraisal are ways in which a person perceives a situation initially. This is followed up by secondary appraisal to determine what can be done about it, if anything. Once a situation has been appraised, a person can engage in coping. Coping can be either emotion-focused or problem-focused. Both can be useful depending on the situation. For situations that can’t be changed emotions focused coping may be more helpful, where as in situations that can be changed, focusing on problem solving the situation itself could be more helpful than just changing your emotional reaction. These concepts are particularly important for CBT because they have to do with the way cognitions form, and how those thoughts a person has effects their behaviors. By understanding the cognitive appraisals a person makes and the actions they take to cope, you can identify which appraisals and reactions are adaptive or maladaptive. CBT then involved focusing on the maladaptive appraisals and coping mechanisms in order to shift them to more healthy and helpful thoughts and behaviors.
    (2)
    One part of CBT that I find particularly reassuring is the structure to all of it. This week I attended a training on Cognitive Restructuring and they talked about just how helpful the structuring of CBT sessions are. For a person with anxiety, a person discussing trauma, or any number of diagnoses, the set structure of a session can offer reassurance and a pattern for the client. It also seems like it would be helpful in staying organized as a therapist. Another part of CBT that I found important and easy to understand is that it aims to teach the patient to be their own therapist and to be done for a limited amount of time. I have felt that in some approached to mental health, especially those that define disorders as diseases and claim psychiatric medications must be taken for the rest of someone’s life are not the most helpful. This makes the patient dependent on the therapist, to the point where if a therapist leaves, the client feels they are helpless and have to start back at the beginning. As a therapist, I would like to follow the goals of CBT by making sure my client sees their own hard work in the process. In the end, it would be my goal to have them believe that they can handle situations, cope, and restructure thoughts on their own. The psychoeducation aspect of CBT allows individuals to do that by learning how their negative automatic thoughts could be effecting their behaviors. With this knowledge, they become independent and can start to work on these negative thoughts on their own. Collaboration and a strong therapeutic alliance stands out as another important part of this. For the client to realize that the benefits of therapy are the result of their own hard work, they have to be actively engaged in a healthy relationship with their therapist, rather than just seeing it as the therapist fixing/saving them.

    Reply

    • Althea Hermitt- Mcpherson
      Jan 28, 2021 @ 22:10:32

      Hi Christina, I like that you emphasized that for an unchangeable situation emotion-focus coping can be helpful. I also believe that often time when we are confronted with unchangeable situations eg. death we go into denial which is a form of emotion-focused coping as the situation might be too much to handle at the moment. Even though problem-focused coping is generally more adaptive I do appreciate the fact that emotion-focused coping comes in handy for those unbearable moments that do happen in life. However, it is important to not get stuck in emotion-focused coping but to transition to problem focus coping.

      Reply

    • Alexa Berry
      Jan 30, 2021 @ 18:17:41

      Hi Christina,

      I liked the connection you made between appraisal and coping by saying that once a person has appraised a situation they can begin coping. Secondary or reappraisal seemed to be very related to the following chapter on coping. I agree with your insight about why these concepts are important for CBT, I had similar thoughts on the importance of identifying maladaptive thought patterns and coping styles to target for change in CBT. Its so nice that you were able to attend a training on cognitive restructuring! It’s definitely an important part of CBT and you seem confident in using the skills you discussed within the structure of session.

      Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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