Topic 2: Cognitive Theories {by 9/13}

There are three readings due this week (Beck, A. T.; Beck, J. S.; Volungis).  For this discussion, share at least two thoughts: (1) What is your understanding of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping in relation to CBT?  (2) What are your initial impressions in your ability to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist?   (I realize many of you do not yet have any therapy experience.  However, now is a good time to start thinking about being a CBT therapist.  Many of you will be starting your practicum next summer!)  Your original post should be posted by the beginning of class 9/13.  Have your two replies posted no later than 9/15.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

33 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amanda Russo-Folco
    Sep 10, 2018 @ 15:13:20

    My understanding of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping in relation to CBT is that cognitive appraisal is evaluative, and it focuses on meaning or significance and it occurs continuously. Discussing cognitive appraisal, it is important to remember that understanding one’s thoughts is very important and crucial to understanding how an individual copes with a situation that they are going through. According to Lazarus, we must consider the cognitive process that intervenes between the encounter and the reaction. This stood out to me because actually thinking about this statement, it is important to understand how one’s thoughts work to see how their thinking process leads to the way they cope with a situation. Although, it is important to consider environmental factors as well because not only is it personal factors that play a role, environmental factors play a role in our thinking as well. There are two types of appraisal, primary and secondary appraisal. Primary appraisal has three kinds of appraisal such as irrelevant, benign-positive, and stressful appraisal. Irrelevant appraisal occurs when an individual distinguishes between relevant and irrelevant cues so that they will react to the situation only when they feel the situation is desirable or necessary to them. If the individual feels that the situation is irrelevant, then the individual will not react but if the situation is relevant, then the individual will react. Benign-positive appraisal occurs if the outcome of the situation has a construed positive, which means the situation enhances well-being. These situations are characterized by pleasurable emotions such as joy, love, and happiness. Although, some people believe that this desirable state will eventually turn in the opposite direction and they feel that they will eventually have to pay the price for feeling good. This could lead to anxiety or depression. This is an example of an appraisal that can be mixed because it depends on personal factors and environmental factors. Stress appraisal includes harm/loss, threat, and challenge. Harm/loss means that the damage to the individual has already been sustained either by the loss of a loved one, or illness. Threat concerns are either harms or losses that are taken place but are anticipated to occur. They are based on negative emotions such as anxiety and fear. A challenge, on the other hand, is based on pleasurable emotions because it focuses on the potential gain of a situation. Cognitive appraisal relates to CBT because it is important to understand how one thinks in order to see how the individual will cope with a situation. Using CBT will help the individual change their thinking process, so they can learn to better cope with a situation in a more positive way.

    My understanding of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of coping in relation to CBT is that coping is about constantly changing one’s behaviors and thoughts to manage specific internal and external stimuli. A coping process has three main features such as observing what the individual thinks or does in contrast to what the individual usually does, what the person actually thinks or does is examined within a specific context and lastly speaking of the change in coping thoughts. The coping process is always changing because in some situations a person might use a defensive strategy to cope and in other situations the individual might use a problem-solving strategy to cope with the situation. There are two major types of coping such as emotion-focused forms of coping and problem-focused coping. Emotion-focused forms of coping are likely to occur when there is an appraisal, and nothing can be done to modify or challenge environmental conditions. This occurs when an individual cannot change the objective situation but changes the meaning behind the situation occurred. In my opinion, I feel that this occurs a lot, especially in relationships. Problem-solving strategy to cope occurs when the situation can be changed. The individual will define the problem, think about different solutions, choose the solution and then act upon the choice made. I also liked how Lazarus’ and Folkman discussed a few coping resources such as health and energy, positive beliefs, problem-solving, and social skills. Individuals use these coping resources daily and it is important to cope with situations in the correct way. This relates to CBT because the clinician guides the individuals into deciding which coping mechanism is the right fit for them and to see how the individual reacts to the certain situations that are presented within their life.

    My initial impressions in my ability to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist is that I have a better feeling of understanding CBT and what it contains than I did before. I understand that CBT is all about the client and trying to help modify their automatic thought process and to help the individual better cope with their situations. I also understand that CBT is about helping to modify the client’s behaviors and actions which could lead the individual to behave differently in their environment. CBT is mainly about guiding the individual to solve their own problems, rather than just telling the individual what to do because this will not solve the problem. The individual needs to learn how to solve their own problems, so their treatment will be most effective for them. As a beginner therapist, I am going to apply the principles and skills I have learned to try and help my clients in the best way I possibly can, so I can treat them and they can live a better life.

    Reply

    • Shannon O'Brien
      Sep 15, 2018 @ 01:18:39

      Amanda, I completely agree with your thoughts on the use of CBT. I like that you used the words “lead” and “guide” because that appears to be a main goal. We need to build trusting relationships without solving all our client’s problems for them. The importance of guiding them and helping them take the initiative to challenge, accept, and change thoughts, emotions and, behaviors will yield the greatest long term outcomes. I think I may struggle with this aspect at first, but as most of us have stated, with time, training, and practice we will become proficient. The end goal is to provide our clients with the skills to assess their thoughts without our help, and then make the correct adjustments and decisions based on the skills learned and practiced in session.

      Reply

  2. Mikala Korbey
    Sep 10, 2018 @ 18:52:07

    Simply put, cognitive appraisal is an individual’s evaluation of an event. My understanding of this concept is that everyone perceives events and stimuli in the environment differently and individual differences exist because of previous experiences and simply differences among people. Lazarus and Folkman mentioned the idea that in order for individuals to survive, they need to categorize situations as benign or dangerous. This determination is influenced by what the individual has learned and how they perceive things. The focus is on the significance or meaning of the event to the individual. These appraisal processes are a result of the unique and ever changing relationship between a person and their environment. Their appraisal of the event affects how they will react and what kinds of emotions they may feel. I am wondering if cognitive appraisal can be related to automatic thoughts, because the reading mentioned how this appraisal process may be influenced by immediate appraisals. I am thinking, is the relationship that automatic thoughts influence how the individual might initially appraise the situation, and then with time and thought, they may have a different appraisal? In relating this idea of cognitive appraisal to CBT, a therapist can become aware of the client’s appraisal process, and can work to improve ineffective evaluation processes of situations that may not be as dangerous as the client thinks. If the client thinks harmless situations are dangerous, the therapist can use CBT to improve these automatic thoughts and cognitive appraisals that may be causing them to think certain situations are more dangerous than they are. I keep thinking back to using CBT with certain phobias, because the individual has evaluated a certain situation or stimuli as dangerous, when it in fact is just an intense fear. Using CBT and exposure the therapist can mend their appraisal of the situation or stimuli to change their appraisal process.
    Coping is defined as cognitive and behavioral efforts to deal with demands that are beyond the individual’s internal resources. Coping is a shifting process and may rely on certain strategies during different times as needed. The process of coping is a function of continuous appraisal of the environment and is a result of various shifts in said environment. Coping is more related to the secondary appraisal because the individual is thinking more along the lines of “What can I do?” and deciding how they can react in certain situations. As an individual copes, they draw on their resources to feel better and adapt to any given situation. Some resources an individual may have, or can be taught as mentioned in the article are, positive beliefs i.e. hope and positive thinking, problem solving skills, and social skills. In relation to CBT, a therapist can teach and facilitate the client in developing new and better coping skills to help them better cope in the future. Better coping will lead to better relationships with their environment. Having a good relationship with the client in crucial in aiding them in developing better coping. Developing better coping skills, will influence their behaviors in times of stress and in times when coping skills are necessary.

    My initial thoughts about me using CBT in therapy contain a lot of self-doubt. I realize a lot of the doubt comes from inexperience and I will feel more confident in myself once I begin to put what I have learned into practice. The biggest thing I am concerned about is finding the line between guiding the client to assess/learn on their own and me “doing” it for them. How does one find this line? I really support the ideas and concepts in CBT for many reasons, but especially because I truly believe therapy does not need to be a lifelong process and that individuals need to learn to cope and change their thoughts on their own (using what they have discovered in therapy of course). I also always think, will I be able to just apply the knowledge I have gained and will it flow naturally, or am I going to have to take longer pauses and think about what to do next? Another more basic thing about therapy in general I am concerned with, is creating a good therapeutic relationship right off the bat. Will they like me and can I create a good rapport with them beginning immediately? For me, because I want to work with children in schools, it is especially important for me to create good relationships with them so they will trust me.

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    • Alyce Almeida
      Sep 11, 2018 @ 18:16:58

      Automatic thoughts!! I’m so happy I’m not the only one who thought this. My idea was that automatic thoughts have to be somewhat related to cognitive appraisals since its a response to something. Could it be that automatic thoughts aid in the individuals evaluating process? Would it make sense to say that with cognitive appraisals, individuals could use their automatic thoughts to help shape their response to future situations, not necessarily present situations? I’d love to hear your thoughts to this and if i’m totally missing your point you’re trying to make.

      -I am with you in the fear of me “doing” things for my client. When is it appropriate to take over to help guide, but also not step on their toes and not let them steer too far off the path of goals.

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    • Amanda Russo-Folco
      Sep 11, 2018 @ 19:19:49

      I honestly did not think of appraisals being related to automatic thoughts, but now thinking of it, it would make sense. Since our automatic thoughts are what contributes to the way we think or act in a certain way, it could lead to different appraisals. Thank you for stating that and making that connection because I did not put that together. I also liked how you went in depth about how appraisals relate to CBT because it is very important for clients to see that situations that seem dangerous to them, are just an intense fear. It is important to make connections between these concepts we are learning and relating it to CBT. All in all, I agree with your discussion!

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    • Melissa Pope
      Sep 14, 2018 @ 14:17:10

      Mikala,

      I loved your explanation of Cognitive appraisals, it was clear cut and to the point. Sometimes, I feel with all the jargon thrown around by different theory’s or individual’s its hard to grasp whats being said. As for your connection with Automatic thoughts, I did not think of it, but it is a great connection and makes perfect sense. I was thinking of a person who has depression, while at work has a co-worker suggests a different strategy for a task that they are trying to complete. An automatic thought would be “i always do it wrong”, becasue of this they appraise the situation as they “failed” and may retreat or shut down, or if stressed may become angry and defensive as a coping skill to their failure.

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    • Nicole Plona
      Sep 15, 2018 @ 15:17:51

      I never really thought of the connection between cognitive appraisal and automatic thoughts. But after reading your explanation it does make me thin about how they could have some form of a connection to each other! I also want to mention that you are not alone when it comes to the idea of using CBT in real life. I agree that therapy should not need to be a life long processes. This idea then adds the pressure on to a newly developing therapist because it is now our job to make sure we are doing everything right in order to help the client continue on living their life in a less distressing way. I feel as though you are right to say that with more experience in the clinical setting, the less aggressive the worries will get. Practice does make perfect I suppose!

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    • Becca Green
      Sep 16, 2018 @ 14:51:00

      Hi Mikala! I was also linking automatic thoughts and cognitive appraisals throughout the readings. I liked your point of using CBT and exposure therapy for phobias, as it reminds me of how versatile CBT can be and how as a therapist you can mold therapy to fit your client by using other credible types of therapy along with CBT. I also understand where you are coming from with building a therapeutic relationship, I think this is something that everyone must worry about from time to time. Your knowledge and understanding of the theories will help build that foundation. You also have to remember that just as every person copes and reacts differently to stimuli, every person will react differently in therapy and take their own steps in trusting you as a therapist. As we have learned in class there are steps you can take and skills you can use in building a therapeutic relationship but each client will take different amounts of time to trust you as a therapist and go along with the therapeutic process.

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  3. Melissa Pope
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 16:27:08

    The pressures of the environment produce different interpretations amongst peoples, and groups due to their personalized sensitivity of an event. These diversified experiences and reactions occur, because each individual has a history that’s comprised of unique interpretations of events to make them who they are.

    According to Lazarus and Folkman a cognitive appraisal is the rumination of individual events, that must be predicted and interpreted by the idiosyncratic person in their ever changing environment. In turn, a person’s environment continues to evolve because of how they interpret, categorize and react to previous experiences. There are three kinds of cognitive appraisals; primary, secondary, and re-appraisal. During the primary cognitive appraisal, if the situation is interpreted as stressful, instead of irrelevant or benign-positive, a person goes through a cognitive process to assess the situation and apply coping skills to deal with the situation.

    Efforts to manage psychological stress is considered coping. Coping attempts to minimize the current stress we feel, it does not imply mastery or optimal functioning, it just takes into consideration the point that an individual feels something negative (stress) and in order to distinguish such feeling, applies particular strategies (i.e. avoiding, distancing, or selective attention) to bring their psychological state of mind back to normalcy.

    Coping involves a cognitive process. From point of infliction to the relief of stress, an individual must interpret, weight options of what can be done, and then act. Coping, according to Lazurus and Folkman breaks down to two different main functions of coping. They are, emotional or problem focus coping. Emotional coping, interprets and applies particular skills when a person appraises the situation as nothing can be done. Whereas problem focused coping, applies a different type of cognitive outlook and skill set, when a individual knows that the situation can be dealt with and change can occur. Sometimes coping then includes re-appraisals and secondary actions. Because of this, coping is constantly evolving and shifting with the individual as they continue to evolve and shift.

    After the many different readings and theories in the development of the human mind, I believe that I will eventually with practice, will to be able to apply these theories and general structures of CBT as a therapist. I feel that CBT is a great approach to many different issues across all age groups and takes into consideration the whole picture instead of one individual piece, which makes the application much more complicated but more effective in the long run. I look forward to learning how to apply my knowledge to real life situations as it will not always be as straightforward as it is taught. I am nervous about my ability to assess the situation in a timely enough manner and then how I will strategically be able to break the issue down to address it accordingly. I feel that with my prior experience and continued education though, that this general anxiety in my ability will quickly dissipate.

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    • Alyce Almeida
      Sep 11, 2018 @ 18:08:58

      You mentioned the environmental influence heavily. In regards to Lazarus’ writing, would you say environment has a far more influential role in cognitive appraisals? I liked your ideas on how the environment is what produces differential interpretation’s for individuals. It made me really sit back and look at cognitive appraisal coping process and how environmental factors could have such a crucial influence on evaluating situations.

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      • Melissa Pope
        Sep 14, 2018 @ 14:48:16

        Alyce,

        I personally do feel that the environment and previous experiences has a crucial impact on a person and how they appraise and react to situations. Obviously maladaptive behavior can be altered and a person can have an impact on their enviornment for the better or worse, but ulitmately how we impact the environement will in turn impact us, and round and round we go.

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  4. Alyce Almeida
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 18:01:17

    1. From what I understood, cognitive appraisal in my understanding is an individuals perception on a situation, and the potential reactions to the situation. Lazarus’ states the importance on understanding cognitive appraisals, as it helps us understand individuals variations of differences to stress response. Obviously having this understanding, we can then better understand how individuals cope. If i’m getting this all right, Lazarus’s argues that through the steps of cognitive appraisals and coping, it’s an individuals way of evaluating options available to them, thus if coping strategy for example is an option, the individual is likely to choose and utilize this strategy effectively. This all relies on the individuals responsibility to categorize situations as benign or dangerous. The individuals capability to categorize these options relies on their perception, but also how significant the situation is to them. With CBT, a therapist tries to understand their clients perception and cognitive appraisals to help identify how their client evaluates. Having this understanding can easily help therapists shift client’s understanding, and appropriate methods of evaluating situations, ultimately opening up the coping process for the individual. Coping strategies are difficult to identify, let alone put into practice, but having a deep understanding of cognitive appraisals (for both the therapist and client) can have a crucial impact on understanding, self-awareness, emotional regulation, stress response, and coping as a whole.

    2. After these readings, and lecture in class, I think I’m finally grasping CBT and it’s various benefits it provides for individuals and how we as professionals promote the various ideas CBT puts into practice. However, I still feel very doubtful in my capabilities in applying these structures, and theories into real life. I love the individualism and how CBT can look so different across clients which I think i’ll definitely use to my advantage. But I’m fearful on me doing “too much” and my client not gaining anything from our session, or just simply being stagnant with myself as a therapist, and their ideas of therapy as a whole. I always here “therapy never worked for me so I won’t do it again” and I think a lot of that comes from therapists not necessarily letting the client have more control with their own therapy. I like CBT since its modifying the behaviors for clients to better understand so then they themselves can learn new tools to strive towards improved behavior. But what if the strategies i’m promoting won’t work for them? Or i’m completing missing their needs? I’m a hands on type of person, so hopefully after having more “real life” experiences (observing a session for example) could really get me to see it in my own eyes to then practice it. I have confidence that i’ll be a good therapist, but I want to be better experience for my client so they at least leave with something more than what they started.

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    • Amanda Russo-Folco
      Sep 11, 2018 @ 19:27:17

      Alyce, I agree 100% with everything you said because understanding cognitive appraisal and coping strategies are very crucial for CBT. Everyone has their own ways of coping with situations, its just a matter of finding what coping skills is best for our clients, and this is a difficult thing to do. It is also important to remember how our clients think about something so we can always be on the same page as them. Reading your understanding of these concepts has helped me grasp a better way of understanding this information and it makes a lot of sense now. Thank you!

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    • Marissa Martufi
      Sep 12, 2018 @ 22:21:12

      I completely agree with everything you wrote! I especially relate to your initial impressions as a therapist! I am also afraid of doing too much, like you said, and sort of doing the work for my client. I feel like this is out of fear that my client might not be successful or achieve that desired outcome. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels this way! I like that you also said how CBT can look different based on different clients, and that this is something you can use to your advantage. I never really thought of it that way, but it makes sense! No client will be the same, so I think it gives you as a therapist, a chance to not have to worry about following the same exact structure or routine for each client in sessions. I think that it is so important to remember that CBT can look different for each client! I’m so glad you added that!

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    • Nicole Plona
      Sep 15, 2018 @ 15:05:49

      I believe your summary of cognitive appraisal and coping was well thought out and put together in a way that explained Lazarus’s and Folkman’s ideas in a simplified manner. It is always interesting that as individual’s we all have our own means of coping and that’s all because we assess situations in our own way. I agree with you statement saying that because of that factor it weighs heavily on how a CBT session would proceed. Once a person’s coping strategy is discovered it is important to help them really understand and deal with the situation at hand, instead of blocking it out or using negative thoughts or behaviors to get around it. I also feel as though we are both in a similar place where we are beginning to understand CBT principles and what goes into the development of the therapy. However, when it comes to the real life practical applications there is still a lot to be unsure about. Fortunately, this is what makes these readings and class discussions more interesting.

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  5. Jayson Hidalgo
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 21:07:20

    Consequently, my understanding of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal is that it is an individual’s understanding of an event. As mention repeatedly in the text, individuals differ in how they process something. For instance, an event occurs and two individuals witnessed this event. They both witnessed the same event, however their cognitive appraisals or how they interpreted the event differ due to previous experience. Thus, people will always have different cognitive appraisals towards something due to their different experiences. This makes me wonder if there is ever a chance that two people can share the same cognitive appraisals and if so, would that mean these two people shared the exact interpretations and thoughts? Would that even be possible since everyone differs in what they evaluate something and people have different experiences? These cognitive appraisals can be broken up into two categories known as primary and secondary. They differ by primary appraisals focusing more on the evaluation of an event and how it can affect the individual. Secondary appraisals differ since it focuses more on how an individual can find ways to cope with such an event and tries to determine whether or not these coping strategies can work, thus, figuring out the pros and cons for each coping strategy. The conceptualization of cognitive appraisal is related to CBT because modifying an individual’s cognition which is what the individual interprets or evaluate something (cognitive appraisal) is essentially what CBT is. The CBT therapist examines an individual’s cognitive appraisal, understands the reason why the individual has this sort of appraisal, and if the cognitive appraisal is negative then the CBT therapist tries to modify it into a positive cognitive appraisal which will then influence the behavior.

    My understanding of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of coping is that coping is essentially determined by cognitive appraisal. Consequently, whatever the individual interprets the event to be such as being threaten, the individual will undergo a coping process afterwards. They defined coping as changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to deal with external/internal demands or events that are appraisal to be too much for the person to handle. It seems from the text that there are many models, stages, and processes of coping that depends on what the individual is trying to cope with. For instance, people dealing with physical illness will undergo a different coping process and through different stages than a person dealing with another troublesome event. Furthermore, coping differs for everyone. For instance, not everyone will experience the same troublesome event according to their cognitive appraisals and also not everyone will have the same resources to use to cope. People differ according to what they use to cope such as using internal coping strategies such as simply viewing oneself positively (positive beliefs) and physically using material coping resources.

    My initial impression about my ability to understand and consistently apply CBT as a therapist is that it will be difficult at first. Just like with everything else, practice makes progress and eventually with enough experience, either good or bad, I will be more comfortable with doing CBT. One of the few things that worries me about CBT is my ability of not being able to modify the client’s cognitive distortions. In other words, I am afraid my abilities will not be able to convince the individual that his or her thoughts are irrational and causing problems. If I cannot do that, then wouldn’t CBT come to a stop? The whole point of CBT is to help the individual by changing how he or she thinks which will then change their behavior and lead them to having a more adjustable life. However if I cannot change their irrational thoughts or beliefs then I cannot help them or simply make them realize their problems.

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    • Deanna
      Sep 12, 2018 @ 18:30:00

      “This makes me wonder if there is ever a chance that two people can share the same cognitive appraisals and if so, would that mean these two people shared the exact interpretations and thoughts? Would that even be possible since everyone differs in what they evaluate something and people have different experiences?”

      Jayson,
      You ask a good question here. From my understanding (and opinion) the answer is yes and no. Clearly most of us share some of the same appraisals because we are all attending a graduate program! We must share some of the same values in the experience and outcome. But I think you were leading on to say how these appraisals are not entirely the same. I think you’re on to something. While we exhibit some parts of the same appraisals, they are not completely identical. For example, I appraise grad school as a challenge but also a financial threat. In the end I believe the outcome to be extremely beneficial. Someone else may appraise grad school as only a challenge without the threat aspect, because of our differences in interpretation of financial situation. I think your point further emphasizes the importance of how individuals interpret things for themselves and what it means to them. As therapists, how our clients perceive something (that others may perceive as something else) gives insight into their cognitive processes and consequential behaviors. In a world with nearly infinite possibilities, it is possible for people to appraise something in the same exact way, but not very probable as we all intake information in different ways (even if just slightly). Knowing the importance of appraisal and perceptions can be a useful (required) tool for CBT therapists.

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    • Mikala Korbey
      Sep 12, 2018 @ 18:55:48

      Jayson, to comment on your question about two people having the same cognitive appraisals- I feel like because each person perceives situations differently that they would not have the exact same appraisals of the same situation (as you mentioned). Even two people who grew up in the same home and experienced the same things perceive things differently and therefore would appraise the situation differently. The differences may be slight, but I feel like two people would not have the same appraisals. That was a really thought provoking question that you brought up and it makes me curious and interested into looking into it further.

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    • Melissa Pope
      Sep 14, 2018 @ 14:39:36

      Jayson,

      In response to your “fears” in practicing CBT, I think that we all have the fear that putting theory into practice will not work for us, and we could potentially fail as therapists. But as you also pointed out, practice makes perfect. We will all be constantly learning, even when we are 20+ years in, which is what I feel makes an effective therapist. To be self-aware enough of your insecurities and shortcomings and then working on perfecting them. Also, I feel as if our job is not to change the clients maladaptive behavior or cognitive distortions as much as help them realize they are thinking maladaptively, and then come up with a plan of action that will aid them in change. Like Dr. V said in class, we are in some way teaching them how to be their own scientists or therapists if you will. We will all get there, and always keep in mind that you are not alone, even once you’re out there. You will always have collegues to use as sounding boards when in doubt.

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  6. Becca Green
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 22:07:36

    Throughout Lazarus’ and Folkman’s sections on cognitive appraisal and coping I saw hints of what I thought were key elements in CBT. When discussing stress theory the authors noted from previous work that cognitive appraisal and stress are linked due to the appraisal of the situation that may have caused an individual to feel stressed. This link and explanation of cognitive appraisals helped me understand what the authors meant which helped me connect cognitive appraisals and CBT together. It almost reminded me of automatic thoughts, as it is your immediate impression of a situation and your response to it, whether that is in your thoughts or behaviors. This is one of the key elements worked on within CBT and focuses on negative automatic thoughts, which relates to the section on stress and cognitive appraisal. It also touches upon a key element that is important in understanding events, which is that each person evaluates a situation differently. Knowing this cognitive appraisal becomes an important part of understanding a situation and may require that clients look at the situation from different perspectives in order to help with their negative automatic thoughts towards the situation or the self. This is where coping can come into play. From the start of Lazarus’ and Folkman’s section on coping I could see where it fit into CBT. The way that the authors explain that coping is a “purpose a strategy serves” reminds me of the goal of therapists within a counselling session- to teach clients how use the skills learned inside counseling for the situations they encounter in the future and outside of the session. Coping is the tool that clients learn to use in order to solve problems and have positive outcomes. These coping strategies are deliberate and can change along with the client throughout the sessions, just as they would in real life. It allows for flexibility with still being structured.

    My initial impressions in my ability to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist are similar to what Judith Beck (2011) talks about in those first couple of chapters: it sounds kind of simple. By simple I do not mean easy but more that it is clear what the goals and principles of CBT are and therefore it can be a smoother transition into using CBT. As I was reading through the chapter from Volungis (2018) about guiding your clients through recognition of negative automatic thoughts to move forward in understanding and changing those negative automatic thoughts I thought about how I currently work with the people I support in the group living environment (GLE) that I work in. I also thought about my interactions with the people I currently support while reading through Judith Beck’s 10 principles of CBT. While reading I was thinking about the moments in which I do things on track with those principles and with the CBT model, of course I am not a therapist and have more informal conversations with the people I support, but I feel as though I keep a pretty strong CBT-like base while supporting them. However, as I read further into these principles of CBT I found myself thinking, “well of course that is what the goal is… but how do you do that?” The principles when read separately from one another sound simple but once I started to recognize that you have to do all of those principles at the same time I began to more fully understand what Judith Beck meant by it seeming simple. While I still believe that I will be able to work towards meeting these principles with some ease, I know it will take time and a lot of effort to start off with a therapeutic relationship and end with the client having the knowledge and tools to “be their own therapists” (Volungis, 2018).

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    • Deanna
      Sep 12, 2018 @ 18:41:35

      Becca,
      I like how you connected your real world work to what we will eventually be doing as CBT therapists. I have my own doubts, but I think you have helped me shed light on how I use many of the CBT principles and practices in my own field of ABA therapy. I had wrote of how I haven’t really applied many CBT practices, but you reminded me that this is far from true. Reading the assignments I noticed that many of the theories and skills can be easily used in everyday life, and that some of us already use them. For example, many of us work with students in the schools, and we certainly use CBT techniques for re-framing cognitions and behaviors. I guess what I’m saying is thank you. I was not giving myself enough credit or confidence in my eventual CBT abilities. I think many of us are not having enough confidence in ourselves and our abilities. We use a lot of CBT in everyday life, even if it’s just simple adaptive coping skills. We will all get the practice we will need, but I think many of us are over-complicating things and worrying disproportionately!

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    • Shannon O'Brien
      Sep 15, 2018 @ 00:43:33

      Becca, your last few sentences about coping reminded me of a point that was made in one of the articles. Coping strategies are not only used during negative experiences, but can also be used when we experience something positive. I believe the example the article gave was winning a game or an award. In this case, it is obviously acceptable to be happy in regards to winning, however, we use coping strategies in order to keep us humble and understand that eventually we have to come back to a baseline. Your comment about being flexible during times where coping is necessary is what sparked this thought from the article, so thank you! It is always important to be flexible and adaptable during times of distress and even happiness.

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  7. Sam
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 23:08:30

    1.
    The way I see it, Lazarus and Folkman essentially explain that cognitive appraisal is a theory of emotion in which people’s emotions are brought upon from their assessments, interpretations and explanations of certain events or more so, stressful events. In my understanding, although environmental demands place stress on individuals, it is not only the environment that should be accounted for. Yes, production of stressors by the environment should be examined, but also the response of the individuals that are undergoing this stress. In this case, cognitive appraisal works in two ways: first, “primary appraisal”, where an individual examines how threatening the stressor is and then “secondary appraisal”, where they evaluate certain ways they can eliminate or reduce the stress. I understand that here, stress is most likely to occur if the situation is actually perceived as threatening. It is important to note, however, that different people have different sensitivities and emotions to the same situation. (I’m not sure that I am correct, but initially when learning this, I began to think about a quote in our notes about REBT that states: humans are not disturbed simply by their experiences, but rather we bring our ability to disturbs ourselves to our experiences. So, in both REBT and cognitive appraisals, the way a person perceives a situation can determine how they react to it). Just a thought, anyway.
    Additionally, Lazarus and Folkman examined coping mechanisms in regards to dealing with stressful events. When discussing cognitive appraisal, I mentioned that stress is most likely to occur if an event is perceived as threating. However, it is not only that. Stress may additionally occur when a more specific process of cognitive appraisal helps a person decide whether or not they have the ability to respond effectively to stress, or simply, whether or not they have adequate coping skills. Here, coping skills can be defined as a process both behavioral or cognitive, for dealing with environmental demands that are perceived as threats, and doing what is necessary the deal with a situation in the most beneficial way. Lazarus and Folkman noted two major functions of coping: emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping. In my own words, problem focused coping essentially works to change negative emotions and stress. I understand that this form of coping would primarily be used when a person already feels they have control of a stressful situation and can manage their problem. In this case, they learn to, for example, generate and evaluate alternative solutions to a stressor. Whereas, emotional-focused coping attempts to reduce negative emotional states or negative appraisal of demands. Here, a person may gain strategies for regulating emotional distress, such as: avoiding or distancing because they feel that they have little control over a situation and are unable to manage the stressor.
    It is clear that Lazarus and Folkman’s theories regarding cognitive appraisals and coping mechanisms are heavily related to CBT. Like CBT, both of these theories tie in cognitive approaches where they believe that a person’s perceptions can influence how they respond to specific situations and that changing their cognitive appraisals (perceptions/cognitions) can in turn change their behavior. They both also consider individual differences—in that, the way people appraise and cope with situations can vary tremendously from person to person. CBT essentially helps people to “problem solve” and to evaluate their emotional patterns through “coping skills”. Therefore, CBT also relates to Lazarus and Folkman’s theory in that, their theory described a need for effective coping skills when dealing with stressful situations and CBT can provide individuals with said coping skills.

    2.
    As I am only technically in my second semester of Graduate school, I can say that without a doubt I still experience crippling anxieties about becoming a CBT therapist. However, I do feel that I have had my fair share of learning experiences as a residential counselor, where I was able to apply certain principles of CBT to my work with individuals. Sure, it was not yet an actual “therapy session” where I was solely responsible for treating an individual, but I was assigned specific individuals that I was able to advocate for, which allowed me to utilized some basic CBT principles in the residential milieu. For example, two core principle of CBT are that a healthy therapeutic relationship is required and that collaborative participation should be emphasized. As I was an advocate for three individuals at a time, I understood it was crucial that I did my best to create a sound and trust worthy relationship with them. Though I was not their “therapist”, my role as a residential counselor was still to help them and work collaboratively with them in solving their day-to-day problems. Establishing a trust worthy relationship allowed them to feel comfortable expressing their emotions with me, which in turn made working together much easier. In this sense I understand that these basic principles are necessary and I would most certainly encourage them as a professional therapist.
    However, my anxieties about becoming a therapist stem more from some equally as important core principles of CBT such as: that CBT should be educative and should teach the client how to be their own therapist. I suppose that in this sense, I would more so fear that I would not be competent enough to apply this concept, or that I will be unsuccessful. Additionally, I feel that I may, from nervousness, result to simply trying to resolve the client’s problem for them, versus teaching them to do so themselves—which is exactly the opposite of one major principle of CBT. Nevertheless, as I continue my graduate level education that specifically focuses on CBT, I hope that these fears will gradually subside and that I will feel that I understand the concepts of CBT perfectly, allowing me to apply them adequately in my therapy.

    Reply

    • Jayson Hidalgo
      Sep 14, 2018 @ 15:57:24

      I really liked how you compared the similarities of a CBT therapist and being a residential counselor. I will soon hopefully obtain the position of a residential counselor as well and it is nice to hear how the principles of CBT can be applied to a residential counselor position. It can almost be seen like being a residential counselor is some sort of practice to later become a CBT therapist. I especially liked it how you gave an example of how you are responsible for three individuals and even though you are not really performing actually therapy, you still use the CBT principle of maintaining a rapport or therapeutic relationship with them. It just shows how fundamental CBT principles can be generalize to other aspects of positions.

      Reply

  8. Shannon O'Brien
    Sep 12, 2018 @ 16:57:43

    (1) Stress is conceptualized as a relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and as endangering wellbeing. The theory identifies two processes, cognitive appraisal and coping, as Cognitive appraisal is described as a process where individuals assess their experiences with the environment are significant to their welfare. Additionally, people could further evaluate these experiences by determining how they are significant. Coping involves people’s ability to manage (both cognitively and behaviorally) internal and external strains during transactions between themselves and their environment. These transactions are typically taxing, exceeding, and endangering to one’s wellbeing. Planful problem-solving, positive reappraisal, confrontive coping, and distancing are four types of coping that were clearly linked with changes in emotion. According to Lazarus and Folkman, both cognitive appraisal and coping should be characterized by stability across stressful encounters in order for them to have an effect on somatic and psychological health. Together, these concepts are vital mediators of the stressful interactions between individuals and their environment, as well as their instantaneous and continuing outcomes. By working with clients in order to help them understand and conceptualize their reciprocal interactions with their surrounding environments through CBT, therapists help can promote and maintain healthy views of these experiences. In the same sense, they can also work with clients to develop strong coping mechanisms when stressful events occur during the person-environment interaction.
    (2) My initial understanding of CBT was very little when I first entered this program. However, through portions of last semester and especially these last few weeks, I have noticed the growth in my understanding of the important to conceptualize patients presenting problems. I never realized how crucial automatic thoughts were in regards to CBT despite learning about them in my undergrad studies. I really appreciate the dialogue examples provided in the Beck and Volungis readings. These really help me tie together the specific approaches outlined in each chapter. Additionally, the first Beck chapter helped ease some of my concerns to consistently apply the basic principles of CBT. Her suggestions to identify our own automatic thoughts and use “coping cards” for ourselves seems like a great idea. Before we enter our clinical settings we can put in some practice time with ourselves. With most aspects of life, practice will make for better application of this approach.

    Reply

    • Sam
      Sep 13, 2018 @ 14:50:30

      Shannon, I’m glad that you mentioned somatic health in your response, as I forgot to do so. When I was writing of cognitive appraisal and coping I was so focused on just a persons cognitions that I forgot to mention that these concepts can positively or negatively increase or decrease physiological symptoms. Because of course, when we encounter stressful situations our hearts may begin to race, palms begin to sweat etc., and having positive cognitive appraisal and effective copying skills can surely ease somatic or physiological symptoms. Glad you included that!

      Reply

    • Jayson Hidalgo
      Sep 14, 2018 @ 15:48:43

      When I first entered this program, I only knew a limited amount of information on CBT just like you. You make a good point that within these past few weeks, I am sure everyone’s understanding on CBT has grown much and we have all started to realize the fundamental aspects of how CBT works and what is associated with CBT such as the importance of focusing on an individual’s automatic thoughts. Furthermore, it is true that the Beck book has made understanding CBT a lot easier and with a doubt, it will continue to help all of us to understand it better as we continue to read more.

      Reply

  9. Deanna
    Sep 12, 2018 @ 18:02:39

    (1) Lazarus and Folkman explain that the variation in responses (from individuals) of same or similar events, lies in the cognitive appraisals by the individuals. That is, how one responds to an event, is due to how they appraise and perceive it. Cognitive appraisal involves many factors including: judgments about the event or situaitoion, perceptions of the event and outcomes, and responses to the event based on the appraisal. Overall the appraisal involves how the individual thinks of the event and what they do with related information. Cognitive appraisal consequentially affects coping to the situation as well. How the individual appraises the event impacts their response to the event. Lazarus and Folkman explain that emotion is a part of the appraisal process, but the “meaning-related” cognitive activity is key. They also explain that appraisal takes the form of primary and secondary appraisal. Primary appraisal involves whether the individual is in harms way or being benefitted, and how, along with whether this is occurring in the present or the future. Lazarus and Folkman explain that primary appraisal comes in three forms; (irrelevant (nothing to be gained or lost for the individual), benign-positive (perceived by individual as positive and/or preserves or enhances individual’s well-being), and stressful (i.e. harm/loss, threat, challenge) where the individual has sustained damage, will possibly sustain damage, or a potential for growth is possible. These appraisals are summed by loss or benefit, how, and when. One thing to note is that threat and challenge can coexist, as well as the situation/encounter can change along with the appraisal. For example, graduate school can be appraised as a challenge but also a threat, with both beneficial (degree and furthering education) and negative outcomes (debt). In the case that the event changes (e.g. new information), a reappraisal (changed appraisal) may occur. For example, a student that learns how helpful a master’s degree is can reappraise the furthering ed as less threatening and more beneficial (even with growing debt from tuition loans). (OR ONE HOPES RIGHT?!) The other form of appraisal, secondary appraisal, considers what can be done before, after, or during the event to prevent harm or improve benefit. This form of appraisal incorporates coping options (which will benefit the individual) whether by minimizing/preventing threat or helping the individual to benefit. The two forms of appraisal interact to identify cost or benefit and what the individual can do.

    It was previously mentioned that coping is connected to cognitive appraisal. That is, individuals appraise an event and depending on the appraisal, an individual responds and copes in a certain way. An individual that appraises a serious illness as a threat, but appraises that they can seek treatment, copes in a different way than an individual that determines nothing can be done about their illness. Lazarus and Folkman explain that coping refers to an individual’s changing cognitive and behavioral efforts in order to manage internal and/or external demands that are appraised as difficult or beyond the individual’s resources. Coping is a mechanism used when an individual’s appraisal and actual abilities do not align, and the individual must do something to manage for the demands. Lazarus and Folkman continue with how coping has 3 key features: process oriented (what is thought and done in the event), contextual (appraisal of demands and resources), adaptive (changing coping forms to accommodate for person-environment changes). How one copes is important in outcomes (adaptive/maladaptive). Lazarus and Folkman also break down coping into two forms: emotion-focused (changing/regulating emotion) and problem-focused coping (altering person-environment factors and/or relationship to offset distress). Each form of coping can be used to address distress. Emotion-focused coping is typically used in situations where the individual deems the event or situation unchangeable and they cope by changing their emotions and attitudes. This gives the individuals the option to have some power in the situation by changing their emotions, meaning behind the situation, and behaviors. Problem-focused coping allows individuals to change themselves or their environment to reduce or eradicate the distress. Typically, one form of coping is not better than the other, it is dependent on the client and situation. But research has argued that problem-focused coping can be more beneficial in the long run, when the situation can be changed (as is the case with many of our would-be clients).

    But what does this all mean in terms of CBT?
    This information means that how an individual appraises their situation or future situation and its outcomes matters. How a client behaves due to their appraisals, impacts their thinking and overall behavior. Their coping mechanisms also come into play. In CBT the focus is on changing cognitions and behaviors to benefit the client’s life or mental health in an adaptive way. All this research shows that how a client perceives something and how they cope with it, impacts their behavior and lives overall. As potential CBT therapists, understanding these mechanisms helps us to understand how important a client’s thinking and coping are. How a client thinks of something and behaves, can be adaptive or maladaptive depending on the situation (appraisals and coping mechanisms included). Essentially cognitive appraisal takes the theme of many other theorists we have studied. How an individual cognitively perceives something affects their thinking, behaviors and coping. But this research also shows that individuals can change or even reappraise situations, as well as use various coping mechanism to assist them. Therapists should work to identify appraisals, reframe or reappraise with clients, and teach/model/practice coping skills to assist clients. If anything, this research can give hope for our clients that if they can change how they think and their behaviors, then they have power in helping themselves get well, even if their situations can’t always be changed.

    (2) My initial impressions in my ability to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist are mixed. On one hand, I feel I have a good grasp of the concepts, theories, and principles of CBT. However, I feel that theory and practice are two separate monsters. I am confident I understand the theories, but I have no confidence in my application. Specifically, because I have not truly had the chance to practice application, nor witnessed actual CBT techniques. Reading about the techniques and studying/practicing how to apply them are very different. One can have all the knowledge in the world on how to do something but be completely ignorant of actual application. I think if I felt confident in applying the principles, then I would be delusional! (Plus, wouldn’t it be a bit of a red flag if one were super confident about applying the principles, considering most of us have not actually become licensed therapists nor practiced actual therapeutic skills?) I have never had the chance to apply the principles or even practice the techniques. As an ABA therapist working clinically and, in the schools, I had the same feelings. That is, I did very well learning the techniques and skills, but was very nervous about the applications. But the more and more I practiced and got exposed to various scenarios and clientele, I became more confident. (I’m going on over 4 years in the field now and I am very comfortable with my ability, even in unknown scenarios!) I feel that once I get to practice actual CBT techniques that therapists use, then I will be more confident. Yet, learning about application can only take one so far. Thus, I hope that the practice scenarios will be helpful as well. But I have confidence in my professors that they will do all they can to assist me with how to apply my knowledge in actual cases. (No pressure Dr. V!) Basically, I understand the material and what I should do in certain scenarios, but I do not know enough about how I should do what I intend to apply. I guess this is a long-winded way of saying I understand what we are reading and how we should apply it, but I am nervous about the actual application because I lack the experience in this respect.

    Reply

    • Sam
      Sep 13, 2018 @ 11:37:06

      Deanna,

      I loved that you compared your worries on applying CBT techniques to the same worries you had when beginning your work as an ABA therapist. I believe that, it is important for all of us to remember that learning vs. application is not always easy, and that it takes time to adjust and to learn the ropes. But as you mentioned, once we are able to actually practice the techniques themselves, the worry may fade. Not to say that even after graduate school and internship there should be no worry, because I feel that it will surely return when we are beginning counselors working with our own clients. Your comments make me think back to when I was just beginning as a residential counselor. I remember not knowing a single thing and being uncomfortable even approaching the teens I worked with. But after a couple of months, everything seemed 100x easier, and thats because I was there often and practicing every day. Also, I think back to last fall semester when I took counseling 101, where in almost every class, we actually practiced taking on roles as counselors and clients. I remember always being terrified that I wouldn’t know what to say, even after doing the homework assignment the night before. And truthfully, most of the time I didn’t know what to say because it was my first experience at just attempting to apply CBT principles. But even that, even just attempting, already provided me with new information and potential scenarios that could be useful. I suppose what I am getting at is that, I agree that through practice our confidence will grow!

      Reply

  10. Marissa Martufi
    Sep 12, 2018 @ 22:12:51

    Based on the readings, Lazarus; and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping integrates many of the important elements or components of CBT. When considering CBT, I often find myself thinking about individual’s personal experiences, beliefs, and thoughts. Similarly, the cognitive appraisal process involves emotion including emotional reactions or responses. The example used in chapter 2 (Lazarus) of a loud fire alarm sounding in a building, helped me to clearly understand the way one might perceive or evaluate their risk or threat of danger, and how cognitive appraisal is experienced and linked to the way one may think or assess an experience or event in regards to their emotion and emotional response. My initial thought after reading this example, was the component of automatic thoughts in CBT. Judith Beck (2011) discusses the cognitive model in chapter 3 of her book, and presents a simple model of CBT which is that a situation or event leads to a person’s automatic thoughts, that then leads to a reaction in the form of an emotional, behavioral, or physiological reaction. The example of the fire alarm and cognitive appraisal, fits with the model of CBT, as a situation such as an alarm triggering, can different appraisals or thoughts for individuals, therefore leading to an evaluation or reaction in the form of emotion, or behavior. Without identifying these cognitive appraisals, it is difficult to move forward in the therapeutic process. Therefore, it is important to identify these as a means for understand the client’s experiences and thoughts, before selecting the appropriate therapeutic strategy or skills to use to manage these experiences in the future. It is apparent that cognitive appraisal can be connected to CBT due to its similarity to automatic thoughts, and its’ association to stimulus such as a situation or event. Like automatic thoughts, cognitive appraisal is different per individual as it is subjective to the way an individual perceives or interprets an experience or event (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Also related to CBT, Lazarus and Folkman conceptualize coping as a process that involves the individual’s thoughts or appraisal. Lazarus and Folkman describe this as a continuous process as a result of a person’s appraisals, or in terms of CBT, negative automatic thoughts. Lazarus and Folkman define coping in terms of two functions, emotion- focused coping and problem- focused coping. Emotion- focused coping is explained by Lazarus and Folkman (1986) as a process that involves the regulation of emotions or responses as a result of a problem, situation, or event. I related this to CBT, and how in therapy sessions, it is a goal to help the client manage their emotions in a healthy or positive way. A client may present with cognitive appraisals, or negative automatic thoughts which produce an emotional response such as anxiety or extreme sadness. Problem-focused coping also relates to CBT as it focuses on developing or creating a plan that may involve various strategies, in order to resolve the problem at hand. These coping strategies are also relevant to CBT, because therapists work with the client to develop, teach, and help clients implement various coping strategies and skills to resolve problems. Lazarus and Folkman (1986) conceptualize the coping process to be one that works to manage and fix or make changes to the problem causing the client significant distress or problems, as experienced in the client’s environment. Overall, cognitive appraisals and coping are related to CBT as they can both be seen and implemented in therapy sessions. Coping can be effectively done once cognitive appraisals, emotions, thoughts, or problems are identified and the client has reached the point where they are ready to learn and implement the necessary coping skills and strategies to help resolve or alleviate these problems they are experiencing.

    As a future therapist, my initial impressions on my ability to understand and apply the principles of CBT, leave me feeling a bit nervous but also a little more confident than when I first began this program. I think it is normal to be a bit nervous, especially since I have not had any actual therapy experience yet. However, after reading and learning more in depth about CBT and what it entails, I feel that I have gained a little more confidence. I feel that I am very confident in my ability to be empathetic with clients, and form that strong therapeutic relationship we talk about in so many of our classes. However, I worry that I may struggle with accepting that clients may not always be successful in implementing skills or strategies, or may not be successful in learning and practicing these skills. I think this comes from my background as a preschool teacher, where I sometimes find myself being afraid to see any of my students fail or not be successful at something they attempt, because I so badly want to see them be successful. I want my future clients to all be successful, but I realize that this is not always possible; or that it may take time and adjustment, or introducing different strategies that may work better. I know I chose this field because I want to help people, so I think it will be critical for me as a therapist, to realize that although I am helping to guide the client, it is also a process that requires the client to take and implement these skills into their own lives, and that I cannot make them do this. (I hope that makes sense… Does anyone else feel that way?)

    Reply

    • Mikala Korbey
      Sep 14, 2018 @ 19:11:40

      I worry about the same things as you! What if I have trouble accepting clients may not “get it” right away? I work in a school as well and agree that I do not want to see any of my kids fail, and typically have a higher expectation that they will succeed because I know that they can. They may not want to, and it may take them longer than “normal”, but I know they can succeed. I often have to remind myself that they are just kids and are still learning and I need to take that into account. I feel like it is a similar concept to having a client. I’m betting I will need to remind myself that they are still learning the process and learning about themselves and I need to follow their pace. And that it is okay if it takes them longer than I expected, as long as I am moving them in the right direction towards a healthier life. Everything you said totally made sense and was totally relatable!

      Reply

  11. Nicole Plona
    Sep 13, 2018 @ 01:08:01

    My understanding of Lazarus’s and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal is that it is a person’s understanding or perception of a certain situation. Not everyone is going to have the same perception or understanding of a specific event. With that in mind it also helps us realize that a person’s responses to these events may differ. For example, a person viewing a dog barking may have a non-stressful response which doesn’t lead to the development of a coping strategy. On the other hand, the same dog barking could trigger an extreme stress response which would lead to some form of coping strategy in the person. Lazarus discussed how the variation in responses to situations can also lead to a large difference in coping responses. To put it simply, a person’s coping strategy is their own way of dealing with whatever unpleasant stimuli is being presented to them in the occurring situation, if needed. The individual will only use their coping strategy if they have decided that the situation is “dangerous”. When looking to CBT, this is an important idea to consider because it focuses in on how a client may or may not view a situation at hand. If the client has negative views on a certain situation that doesn’t appropriately line up with the risks being presented, it allows for the therapist to help try and change the client’s views on what’s going on around them. Having appropriate coping skills can help change a client’s negative behaviors during these times in order to create a proper response for the situation at hand.

    It seems to me that the basic principles of CBT are quite simple to understand at first glance. Its main focus is based around the idea that thoughts and behaviors can change with the guidance of a therapist. During these sessions, it is not my job as the therapist to tell a client what is wrong with them and how they are supposed to fix it. Instead, a therapist is there to create a conversation and develop goals with a client to better themselves and their lives. This type of therapy is not a one size fits all type of treatment. Which, as a therapist, can seem quite intimidating at first. I feel as though CBT can be a very short process which seems very scary as an incoming therapist, because you never know if it will be enough time to fully help out whatever problem your client may be dealing with. That being said, I love that CBT tends to use a lot of “homework” where clients have to work on better themselves and trying things outside of their comfort zone while not in a scheduled session. This is something I definitely see myself using a lot while working with clients. There is still a lot more that I need to learn and develop as a counselor to be able to develop the proper skills for proper CBT. However, I do believe a grasp a general knowledge of what this type of therapy entails and what I would often use during sessions to benefit my clients.

    Reply

    • Becca Green
      Sep 16, 2018 @ 14:04:56

      Hi Nicole! I like your emphasis on the perceptions of the individual when looking into coping skills that they may already have. After reading your post I was thinking about how the setting may also impact the response of the individual even if the stimulus is the same. To go with your example- If the individual is alone in an unfamiliar location and hears a dog barking versus if the individual is alone but is in a familiar location. I wonder if subtle differences like that may impact the type of response the person has (i.e. whether the person reads the situation as dangerous or not).

      Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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