Topic 2: Cognitive Theories {by 9/15}

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 9/15.  Have your two replies posted no later than 9/17.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

44 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bekah Riley
    Sep 13, 2022 @ 07:57:03

    Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping has a strong relation to CBT. However, in order to understand the connection between the two, it is first necessary to be knowledgeable on certain aspects of cognitive appraisal and coping as it pertains to Lazarus and Folkman. A cognitive appraisal occurs between the time in which an event happens and the individual responds. In other words, a cognitive appraisal may act as a mediator between an event and a response. A cognitive appraisal consists of a primary and a secondary appraisal. Primary appraisals help an individual decide if they are either in trouble or being benefited. From there, the individual can either decide whether the event is irrelevant, benign positive, or stressful. If the event is perceived as stressful, it can then be interpreted in one of three ways: already harmful, threatening or anticipated harm, or as a challenge and opportunity for growth. In terms of how stressful events are perceived, some ways of interpreting stress are more adaptive than others; specifically, when considering stress as threatening vs stress as challenging. Viewing a stressful situation as being threatening or harmful may be a more maladaptive way of thinking, while viewing stress as a challenge where there is room for growth is seen to be a more adaptive way of thinking. This is where the ideas of CBT begin to come into play. In CBT, it is emphasized that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors continuously affect one another. Therefore, how we perceive a stressful event determines how we feel about it, and in turn, how we react to that event. Our reaction to the event leads to the idea of a secondary appraisal, where an individual contemplates what can be done, if anything. The individual may then think in terms of outcome expectancy and efficacy expectancy. In other words, the individual’s evaluation of behavior will lead to a certain outcome and the individual’s belief that they have the coping mechanisms to execute a behavior in order to produce an outcome will also lead to an outcome. The individual’s self-efficacy or belief that they will be successful in responding adaptively to an event leads into the ideas of adaptive thinking vs maladaptive thinking or cognitive distortions emphasized in CBT.

    In terms of how an individual may cope with a certain event may depend on if that event is changeable or not. Emotion focused coping, or working to regulate an emotional response may be more beneficial to an individual if the event is not changeable. On the other hand, problem focused coping, or striving to manage or change the environment or thought process around a certain event may be more beneficial when the event or problem is changeable. Both working on various coping strategies as well as learning different problem-solving techniques are important aspects of CBT.

    Through learning more about different ways in which the ideas of CBT have been historically integrated into different theories and practices, I have become more confident in my ability to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist. It appears that the idea of a continuous effect between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is prevalent in a majority of successful implementations of therapy. Specifically, when an individual either has a number of negative automatic thoughts or cognitive distortions, that may lead to unwanted emotions and behaviors and vice versa. Different CBT techniques such as cognitive restructuring or reframing where the therapist works with the client to shift unwanted or maladaptive thoughts into more adaptive ways of thinking has been shown to be effective and I am confident in my understanding of how one may implement this technique. In addition, although I still feel as though there can always be more learning and practice in terms of applying the basic principles of CBT, I feel confident in my ability to begin applying some of these skills as a future therapist.


    • Ashley Torres
      Sep 14, 2022 @ 13:30:14

      Hi Bekah, I really appreciate how you explained techniques such as cognitive restructuring and reframing work to alter clients thoughts into positive experiences. I have also grown more confident with the basics of CBT because many theories use CBT as a foundation. I agree with you that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are being acknowledged in many theories and connecting them helps comprehension. It is very neat to learn all the theories associated with CBT because I did not realize it can translate to so many different ideas.


    • Rylee L Ferguson
      Sep 17, 2022 @ 11:16:52

      Hi Bekah, I enjoyed reading your post. The part on how the history and development of CBT relative to other prevalent theories has added to your understanding stood out to me. I agree that learning about CBT in relation to other ideas has helped me better see how it is unique and effective. For example it is helpful to see how much it is a deviation from psychoanalysis and behaviorism and how it has some similarities to things like REBT. Thanks for bringing this up!


  2. Kat Gatto
    Sep 13, 2022 @ 16:46:06

    Lazarus and Folkman discuss cognitive reappraisals in a way that directly relate to CBT. Lazarus and Folkman describe reappraisals as a cognitive mediational process that stands in between an individual’s environmental situation and following reaction. Irrelevant, benign-positive, threat, and challenge are four types of primary appraisals. Irrelevant appraisals occur when a situation has no potential to adversely impact the individual. Benign-positive appraisals occur when the encounter is solely construed as solely pleasant. Events, and appraisals, that could potentially impede upon an individual’s sense of well-being are of specific importance. Threat is an anticipatory appraisal, one that comes with negative feelings of anxiety or dread regarding how a situation may harm the individual. Conversely, challenge appraisals are focused on how an individual could grow and are accompanied by pleasurable emotions in the face of adversity. Interestingly, challenge and threat appraisals can often co-occur. For example, an individual may look forward to gaining the knowledge necessary to pass their final exams while also fearing the worst-case scenario of said exams.

    Threat and challenge appraisals are both said to call for the utilization of coping efforts. Moreover, cognitive coping can help shift an individual’s viewpoint from being more threat-focused to more challenge-focused. Challenge appraisals have positive implications for adaptive cognitive functioning; thus, the more challenged an individual is then the more they are likely to feel motivated in the face of adversity. Secondary appraisals occur when there is a threat and/or challenge where an individual must decide which coping mechanisms to utilize at that given moment. Therefore, primary appraisals determine what is at stake while secondary appraisals state what coping options may be available.

    Reappraisals follow primary or secondary appraisals and alter an individual’s perspective of, and reactivity to, a situation. Defensive reappraisals are a type of cognitive coping that attempts to reinterpret a threatening or challenging primary appraisal more positively. These reappraisals are said to be self-generated and based on the individual’s needs. Relatedly, CBT is focused on helping clients address their negative automatic thoughts that precede their behaviors. CBT is focused on aiding a client’s ability to think more rationally when faced with challenges. Thus, automatic thoughts could be synonymous to certain primary appraisals. In addition, CBT hopes to evaluate and challenge dysfunctional beliefs that an individual may possess. Dysfunctional beliefs can often influence automatic thoughts. In this way, CBT relies on their client’s abilities to learn to utilize a kind of cognitive reappraisal to counteract their initial automatic thoughts in favor of more adaptive thought patterns.

    I feel fairly confident in my ability to educate a client on the CBT model. However, I believe it could be difficult to instill hope within an individual depending on their emotional state at the time. I do not want to underestimate that challenge, especially since it is an integral part of insuring that an individual feels motivated enough to follow through with their homework assignments. However, providing them with knowledge of how CBT works may be hopeful in and of itself. That is, it may be uplifting for an individual to hear how altering their thoughts can positively impact their emotions and behaviors. I still have a lot to learn about implementing treatment goals for a client, but I have always viewed a client-therapist relationship as a sort of collaborative team and I look forward to helping an individual gain more autonomy over their thought patterns. I am interested to learn more about how to effectively treat a client with CBT!


    • Bekah Riley
      Sep 14, 2022 @ 11:08:35

      Hi Kat,
      You had a great response this week! I thought it was really beneficial to read over your explanations of the four different types of primary appraisals! I also really liked how you highlighted the fact that a stressful-threat and a stressful-challenge can cooccur. Your example of an individual looking forward to growing their knowledge by studying for final exams while also fearing the worst-case scenario in terms of their potential grades was a great way of explaining when someone experiences both a threat and challenge. In addition, I enjoyed reading your differentiation between primary and secondary appraisals, while also emphasizing how they go hand in hand! Overall, great response!


    • Ashley Torres
      Sep 14, 2022 @ 12:32:03

      Hi Kat, great job on your response this week! I really enjoyed how you said it is difficult to instill hope within an individual. That is something that stood out to me because it is part of the work even though it is not clearly said to a client. I do agree with you and educating them on CBT will be the best way to approach one of these sessions. It is important to let clients know what they are capable of because changing one’s feelings can sound difficult in any event.


  3. NikkiAnn Ryan
    Sep 13, 2022 @ 22:03:31

    Lazarus and Folkman (1984) argue that there are cognitive processes that occur between the occurrence of an event and an individual’s response. This is what they refer to as cognitive appraisal. Lazarus and Folkman (1984) suggest that understanding cognitive appraisal processes can help with understanding differences in individuals’ reactions and interpretations of events. Cognitive appraisal processes also act as a survival mechanism because people must determine whether situations are dangerous or benign. Lazarus and Folkman (1984) identify two forms of cognitive appraisal, the primary appraisal, and the secondary appraisal. The primary appraisal is a way to categorize an event or encounter and its significance for the individual’s well-being. An event that is perceived as irrelevant and not presenting any loss or gain can likely be ignored whereas a situation that is perceived as a threat may require a particular action. For instance, an individual may hear a loud noise and must determine if the noise indicates a present danger, such as a gunshot, or if it is just a harmless sound, like a coworker dropping their heavy, metal water bottle. The secondary appraisal is the individual’s estimate of whether they have the resources to cope with or counter the threat. This is related to the concept of self-efficacy which is an individual’s belief in how well they can carry out the behaviors required to deal with a situation. Cognitive appraisals are a key concept in cognitive behavioral therapy which supports that the way individuals perceive situations, or the environment, influences the way they feel and behave. The cognitive appraisal, or the perception, is the mediator between the event or situation and the response.

    Lazarus and Folkman (1984) also emphasized the importance of the coping process. When an individual perceives an internal or external demand as difficult or beyond their resources, they must adjust their thoughts and behaviors in order to manage the demands. This process is referred to as coping. Emotion-focused coping refers to the regulation of emotional responses to an issue causing distress and problem-focused coping refers to the altering of the person-environment relationship that is causing distress. Individuals can shift between each form of coping or use both forms at the same time. Sometimes individuals may need to employ emotion-focused coping techniques first to manage their emotions, such as minimizing the event and telling themselves, “it could be way worse” or distracting themselves by going for a run. Then they may use problem-focused coping to alter the environment or themselves, such as researching and attending couples counseling to improve one’s marriage. Using coping strategies is an essential part of CBT. Cognitive behavioral therapists should be helping clients develop and implement coping strategies and problem-solving skills on their own so that they can manage problems without the help of a counselor in the future.

    As I have learned more about CBT, I have become confident in my ability to understand the principles and techniques such as the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and the role of negative automatic thoughts in maladaptive functioning. I also feel comfortable with educating clients about the CBT model and negative automatic thoughts. I could benefit from learning more about how to identify automatic thoughts and how to change those thoughts. I have some experience working with a treatment plan with clients, so I am confident in working with clients to stay on track with treatment goals. I also believe that I will be able to consistently ask for feedback at the end of sessions and assign and review homework. I am looking forward to learning more strategies for catching negative automatic thoughts and fostering motivation for change among clients.


    • Tayler Shea
      Sep 14, 2022 @ 23:29:10

      Hi Nikkiann, I love how you described cognitive appraisal! You made it very easy to understand. I also noticed that this is a key concept in CBT. It is so interesting to learn all of the different theories that built the foundation for CBT. It sounds like you are going to be a great CBT therapist, based on your experience and some of the things you already feel confident using! I like how you gave examples such as psychoeducation of CBT and negative automatic thoughts! Based on how you described cognitive appraisal, I agree that you will do a great job explaining complex topics to your clients. I like how you took the time to describe all aspects of the theory in depth. Also, I would imagine that your work experience with clients and treatment plans will come in so helpful towards the end of our program!

      Great response 😊


    • Rylee L Ferguson
      Sep 17, 2022 @ 11:20:36

      Hi NikkiAnn, I liked your in depth explanation of theory on coping. I think the example on how emotional coping may be necessary prior to problem focused coping. I think it was especially helpful to point this out because people may assume emotional coping may be in denial and counterproductive to problem solving. However, sometimes getting emotions under control is the only way to logically approach the issues.


  4. Yoana Catano
    Sep 13, 2022 @ 23:40:24

    (1) Appraisal is developed extensively in the explanation of the process of stress, but also other mental problems. The concept of appraisal is based in Grinker and Spiegel: “appraisal of the situation requires mental activity involving judgment, discrimination and choice of activity, based largely on past experience” (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984). According to Lazarus and Folkman, the environment can present a potentially stressful situation for any individual (could be an earthquake), but the interpretation and reaction varies by individual in certain degree, based on their mental activity (or cognitive processing), bringing different behaviors (helping others to leave, running, freezing).
    This example could be extreme, if we think in the reaction to some stressful stimuli like an earthquake; however, appraisal also occurs in daily life situations: a phone ringing, a friend’s reaction, or any other situation that could be appraised as potentially stressful, but also as positive, or irrelevant.
    Every person could appraise the environment differently and this is a big step towards the development of CBT, the perception and the appraisal will guide the reaction, emotionally, behaviorally or no reaction. The primary appraisal is to determine the degree of stress, if it is positive, dangerous, or irrelevant. One of the similarities or contributions to CBT, is that this appraisal is automatic (immediate) with a high level of cognitive activity.
    The second appraisal is needed to identify coping options. Coping is the bridge between stressful events and adaptational outcomes. According to Lazarus and Folkman, coping has two main functions: regulating stressful emotions (emotion-focused coping) and altering the troubled person-environment relation causing the distress (problem- focused coping) (Folkman et al., 1986). If the situation can be changed, problem focused is used to alleviate the stress, but if the situation is not modifiable, the emotion focus will help to perceive the situation differently.
    Finally, as a learning process, situations or events can be reappraised; once the coping options have been put in place, the reappraisal will provide experience to maintain or modify the coping strategies. If the coping process is adequate, it will provide a sense of relief when facing challenging situations, but when it is not adequate, the person could be doing inaccurate appraisals and per se, choosing wrong coping strategies, for example, a phobia can be a wrong appraisal of a situation that is perceived as a potentially dangerous when is not, and the coping process is avoidance, which will maintain the stressful emotion, instead of regulating the stress, this can turn in anxiety and some other clinical problems.

    In depth, this relates to reciprocal determinism, the environment can be modified by personal factors and behaviors, which is also related to the understanding of cognitive processing in CBT, when core beliefs activate automatic thoughts, and lead to less appropriate emotions and behaviors.
    (2) Developing the skills to identify and conceptualize a case, requires a lot of understanding of the cognitive processing, which makes me feel in need of more reading and practicing. It sounds challenging to maintain consistency in the identification of core beliefs and match an appropriate treatment plan to achieve the goals; nevertheless, Judith Beck explains how CBT is a process to learn with every client, also a lifelong learning, including new research production. I am surprised how much it has changed. I remember attending behaviorism classes and training rats with operant conditioning, then reading cognitive theories, that despite being “old”, we can still learn from them, analyze and compare, obtaining useful information (in the case of Bandura and Lazarus). Finally, the CBT theory looks very straightforward, the use of evidence-based treatments implies that most of the psychological problems in a client have been analyzed and tested with evidence, which makes me feel confident about trying CBT’s techniques.
    Beck, J. S. (2021). Cognitive therapy: Basics and beyond (3rd ed.). Guilford.
    Folkman, S., Lazarus, R. S., Dunkel-Schetter, C., DeLongis, A., & Gruen, R. (1986). The dynamics of a stressful encounter: Cognitive appraisal, coping, and encounter outcomes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 992-1003.
    Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York, NY: Springer Press.


    • Bekah Riley
      Sep 14, 2022 @ 11:22:44

      Hi Yoana,
      I really enjoyed reading your response this week! I liked how you went in depth when talking about how an appraisal can occur after a really extreme stressful stimulus such as an earthquake or something that may occur more commonly in day-to-day life such as a getting a phone call. Whether these events are appraised as stressful, positive, or irrelevant depends on both the individual and the context of the event.

      When reading your response about your confidence in understanding and implementing CBT, many things you said really resonated with me. I really enjoyed how you described Judith Beck’s explanation on how CBT is a process to learn with each and every client and as a therapist, keeping up with evidence-based practice means that it is a continuous learning experience. While I am excited to implement CBT treatment with clients, I am also nervous because I feel like there is always more to learn and this is just the beginning!

      Overall, great response!


  5. Ashley Torres
    Sep 14, 2022 @ 12:17:34

    Cognitive appraisal is a connection between stressors from the environment and the individual’s response. It is the middle point between an event and an individual’s response. Cognitive appraisal is important because depending on the appraisal, people can have different reactions towards the same situations. Cognitive appraisal has two stages including primary and secondary appraisal. Primary appraisal is the judgment the individual makes about how threatening or nonthreatening the stressor is to the individual. Primary appraisals include irrelevant, benign-positive, and stressful. When some encounters a situation with the environment and is not affected by it, it is considered irrelevant. These events are believed to not benefit nor threaten the individual. Benign-positive is when an outcome of a situation is looked as positive. These interactions are pleasant and offer positive feelings and functioning. Stress appraisal includes harm/loss, threat, and challenge. Threat is an anticipated negative event that can cause anxiety and stress. On the other hand, a challenge appraisal is not associated with negative feelings but the ability someone must grow from their encounter. Secondary appraisal is the feelings involved with or coping with the stressor. Secondary appraisal can be the cause of the primary appraisal, for example, if an individual is telling themselves they will fail, they are more likely to associate the situation as high threat. Secondary appraisal assesses the stressor and determines what can be done to minimize or prevent the stress, like coping skills. Cognitive appraisal connects to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy because CBT teaches how our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors all influence each other. Cognitive appraisal theory has the same idea because it influences our response. Learning how to alter appraisals in therapy can benefit a client to respond to a situation with low stress.
    I think I will be able to use cognitive appraisal in therapy because it emphasizes CBT. The concept is a little difficult to understand in the beginning but with practice I believe I will be able to successfully use and explain the strategy to my clients. I can help the client assess past situations with stressors and their feelings/reactions. We can determine how and why they felt that way and their ability to cope. I cannot force them to think a certain way, but I believe CBT does a great job giving clients tools to respond appropriately. This can also help them deal with stressors in the future and choose coping skills that will minimize the negative effects.


    • Tom Mandozzi
      Sep 14, 2022 @ 21:21:11

      Hi Ashley,

      I liked what you said about equipping clients with tools and strategies to manage symptoms on their own as a key aspect of CBT. I like that CBT seems to emphasize teaching clients how to independently utilize skills and coping strategies, ultimately without the assistance of the therapist. I like that CBT seems to be a relatively short-term treatment modality that empowers individuals to take the skills they learn with them throughout life after discharge of services. This can support the issue that may arise in which clients become dependent on their clinician and lack the independent living skills to handle stressors on their own. Great perspective, thanks for this!


    • NikkiAnn Ryan
      Sep 15, 2022 @ 00:10:15

      Hi Ashley,

      I liked your thorough description of primary and secondary appraisals including the different types of primary appraisals and the distinction between viewing an event as a threat versus a challenge. I particularly liked that you highlighted that cognitive appraisals are important because people can respond differently to the same situation based on their perception. Although it may seem like a simple concept, it can sometimes be challenging to understand why someone reacts to an event differently than other people would. However, when you conceptualize their reactions in connection with the way they interpret the event, their reactions make more sense. I also liked the connection you made between the concepts of secondary appraisals and coping skills. Great post!


  6. Amanda Bara
    Sep 14, 2022 @ 17:37:04

    Lazarus and Folkman have established the concept of cognitive appraisal to be a view about a situation that involves judgment or discrimination. This appraisal is based on former experience and involves a process of evaluating an encounter with the environment in relation to one’s well-being. The cognitive appraisal process requires an event or situation to occur where a cognitive appraisal is established about the event and then the individual elicits a certain response. Just like cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive appraisal involves the environment, thoughts and responses. Based on the interpretation of the event and an individual’s past experiences there is an automated response which is shown through behavior and/or emotions. Lazarus and Folkman talk about primary appraisal, secondary appraisal and reappraisal where individuals can identify what about a particular situation is causing them to respond in a certain way. They also talk about the coping process where a person is constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage external or internal demands. Emotion focused coping relates to the emotion part of cognitive behavioral therapy where individuals tie emotions to certain events or situations which in turn may trigger certain behavioral patterns. Problem focused coping is managing the environment through active problem solving which can be seen in the behavioral aspect of CBT. CBT and cognitive appraisal/coping are very similar in which they both view cognitions as unique to individual’s and how they respond to the environment. Through changing one’s cognitions there will be a change in emotions and behaviors which is the main focus of cognitive behavioral therapy.

    My initial impressions of CBT is positive however, I think that there is a lot more that comes down to the application than what I originally thought. I can understand the fundamentals of CBT and the basis of the therapy. From a broader perspective there is a lot more that comes down to the application which involves the therapist/client relationship and intervention strategies. The concept of CBT is easy to understand and I believe it is comprehensible. I think that if I were to explain this therapy to someone who is not aware of it I would be able to conceptualize it well. I think that I have a lot more to learn about CBT in this class but I am aware of the basic principles and the underlying basis of this therapy.


    • Tom Mandozzi
      Sep 14, 2022 @ 21:13:18

      Hi Amanda,

      I really resonated with what you said about differentiating CBT in theory versus in practice. I completely agree. I feel pretty confident in understanding the overarching concepts of CBT, but I am continuing to realize how there are so many factors at play when it comes to competently implementing CBT in a clinical setting. I am still curious as to how studying CBT will differ from actually practicing the interventions in real-time with clients. It feels both intimidating and exciting to anticipate the similarities and differences. Aspects like the therapeutic relationship and taking an individualized approach are important aspects to consider. Great post!


  7. Sam Keller
    Sep 14, 2022 @ 17:57:09

    Lazarus and Folkman theory on cognitive appraisal revolved around the idea that different people react with varying degrees of sensitivity to their environment. How we perceive events shapes our emotional and behavioral responses, and we often use cognitive appraisal to evaluate events in a light of how it will affect us in a positive or negative way. There are different types of appraisal. In stress appraisal, individuals evaluate aspects of harm, loss, threat, or challenge. In benign-positive appraisals we evaluate the outcome to be beneficial or neutral to us, though this does not prevent an underlying anxiety that something might go wrong. A secondary appraisal is evaluating what a person can do about something, which can include action or coping. A reappraisal is a changed appraisal based on new information. This is an important cognitive mechanism to understand how a person’s ability to make accurate situational appraisals is something to strive for in CBT. Coping is our cognitive and behavioral efforts to deal with internal or external demands that we may not have the resources to handle. This is process oriented and is specific to the individual. It is important to note that coping is not just problem solving. It can sometimes look like ‘going with the flow’ in environments where the individual cannot make meaningful change to external events. Problem focused coping is revolving around an issue and emotional coping is about dealing with the emotions the situation brings up. Coping resources can be health/energy, positive beliefs, problem solving skills, social skills, social support, and material resources. Coping constraints can include personnel factors, environmental factors, and level of threat. Coping is very important in CBT because it ties back to that cognitive appraisal and the individual’s view of the situation. Then an individual can decide what route to take that can prevent harm to themselves or deal with an unpleasant environment. However not all coping methods are adaptive so part of our jobs as CBT therapists is to help clients identify maladaptive coping strategies and help replace them with more adaptive ones. It is also important to realize when problem solving coping strategies are not going to be possible and be able to pivot to emotional coping strategies.

    I wish we could devote a whole class to the material covered in these first three classes. I feel that most individuals, including us, have certain ideas about processes that go on in the brain. We are quick to offer problem solving without fully understanding why a person is reacting to a situation in a certain way. Once we can understand the thought process, reactions, automatic thoughts, and perspectives of our clients we can much better help them help themselves. I loved Ellis’s attitudes and found his chapters to be very insightful. Also funny that he devoted an entire chapter to a psychologist smackdown that happened at a conference that he used to illustrate a point. Every person has a series of thoughts, either conscious or unconscious, that leads to certain actions or reactions. If we can help clients become more aware of the way their own brain works we can help empower them to change their own reaction patterns.


    • Rachel Marsh
      Sep 17, 2022 @ 20:53:51

      Hello Sam,

      I loved reading your post! I especially enjoyed your insights on the second question. I totally agree that as humans, we are inclined to offer solutions without gaining insight into the reasons behind an individual’s reaction to situations. You also brought up a great point when you talked about how we all have thoughts that underlie these reactions whether we are aware of them or not. The great thing about counseling, as you highlighted, is that we can help our future clients be more introspective and assess these patterns to become more aware of how they impact their reactions and change them adaptively.
      On another note, I also loved reading about Ellis. I also particularly enjoyed the chapter where he had a conflict with his psychoanalytic colleague about the connection between emotions and thoughts. The chapter does a great job at highlighting how thoughts precede emotions, especially when adding how Ellis’ colleague contradicts himself in the argument but still fails to acknowledge the relationship.
      Overall, great post! You made some insightful points.


  8. Tom Mandozzi
    Sep 14, 2022 @ 21:06:18

    I initially found it challenging to comprehend the concept of cognitive appraisal. However, upon further reading and review of the lecture slides, the concept makes a lot more sense to me. Particularly helpful was the explanation of cognitive appraisal as the process of evaluating whether a specific encounter with the environment is relevant to an individual’s well-being and in what ways. Cognitive appraisal is a mediator between an event and the behavioral response and/or emotion that results from the event. Cognitive aspects such as judgement, discrimination, choice of activity and past experiences are heavily involved in the appraisal of a given situation. Primary appraisal involves questioning whether we are in trouble or are being benefited, at what point in time, and in what way. To put it more simply, primary appraisal assesses how significant a situation or event is for a person. The encounter is irrelevant when there is no implication for the person’s well-being. The encounter is benign-positive if the outcome is considered positive and preserves or enhances well-being. The encounter may also be stressful and fall into one of the following three categories: harm/loss, threat, and challenge. Primary cognitive appraisal in the “harm/loss” category occurs when some damage has already been sustained to the person and is always involved with some level of threat. The “threat” category implies the presence of harms or losses that are anticipated in the future but have not yet taken place and are characterized by emotions that are unpleasant, such as fear, anxiety, anger, etc. and causes anticipatory coping. On the other hand, the “stressful” category focuses on the potential for gain or growth in an encounter is characterized by emotions that are pleasant, such as eagerness, excitement, etc. The assigned readings continue to emphasize that despite the differences between threat and challenge appraisals, they can both occur simultaneously and can shift and vary as an encounter takes place.

    Secondary appraisal involves what, if anything, can be done about the harm, threat, or presenting encounter outcome. What can be done to overcome or prevent harm from the threat? What can be done to improve upon the benefits? Secondary appraisal considers which coping option will accomplish what it is supposed to and how likely the person can apply such strategies effectively. This appraisal process also involves the outcome expectancy and efficacy expectancy of the person’s evaluation that a certain behavior will lead to certain outcomes and their conviction that they can successfully execute such behaviors to ensure these expected outcomes. Emotional reactions and stress levels are determined by the interaction between secondary appraisals of coping options and primary appraisals and to what strength and degree of stress is experienced. Furthermore, a reappraisal is a changed appraisal based on new information from the environment. Building upon the conceptualization of cognitive appraisal, coping is a person’s changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific internal and external demands that are appraised. The three main features of coping are process oriented (focused on what is actually done or thought during encounter), contextual (considers appraisal of demands and available resources), and adaptive (the process of coping is constantly shifting and changing from one form to another). It is important to emphasize that the process of coping has major implications for whether outcomes are adaptive or maladaptive and can significantly impact clinical presentation and presentation of mental health diagnoses. I think the interrelated relationship between cognitive appraisal and coping are heavily related to the principles of CBT because it involves both cognitive and behavioral processes that are integral to CBT treatment interventions. By understanding the relationship between cognitive and behavioral processes in the context of encounters in the environment, we as therapists can provide psychoeducation and support cognitive restructuring and behavioral activation interventions with our clients.

    After completing the Counseling Principles and Practices course last semester, I feel a lot more confident in my understanding of the core components of CBT. I think that course, along with the information I have read about so far in this class, has helped me develop a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between our cognitions, emotions, and behavior. Understanding the interrelated connection between these aspects is critical in understanding CBT interventions that can help support our clients. Assigning homework and following a measurable and appropriate treatment plan will also complement these CBT interventions that are implemented in session. I look forward to my continued learning about the principles of CBT as it related to clinical practice and treatment interventions and to growth as a clinician.


    • Sam Keller
      Sep 16, 2022 @ 14:36:46

      Hi Tom!

      Saying ‘at first I didn’t understand this’ gives me a lot of respect for you. I find that often we view saying ‘ I don’t know’ as some kind of taboo thing, so good for you. I alkos like you talking about how past experiences affect how an individual appraises a given situation. The rest of your post about cognitive appraisal was a good concise explanation. Talking about the emotional and behavioral aspects of coping was a good shout out too. I too am looking forward to being able to put CBT skills into practice! Good post overall.


    • Kristin Blair
      Sep 17, 2022 @ 13:49:28

      Hi Tom!

      I think you did a fantastic job at really breaking down primary and secondary appraisal! I honestly think reading YOUR post helped me understand it on an even deeper level, so thanks for that!
      I big takeaway for me was how much I liked how you talked about the importance of adaptive and maladaptive coping and how that can impact clinical presentation and presentation of mental health diagnoses.

      Also, loved PSY600 and agree that it gave me personally a lot more confidence in applying skills moving forward in this program.
      Great post!


  9. Patricia Ortiz
    Sep 14, 2022 @ 21:50:03

    Stress is perceived as the imbalance between the demands placed on the individual and the individual’s resources to cope (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984).
    According to Lazarus, cognitive appraisal happens when a person weighs two important aspects that significantly influence how they respond to stress. These two elements are the threat level of the stress to the person and the estimation of the resources needed to reduce, tolerate, or get rid of the stressor and the stress it causes. Primary and secondary appraisal are the two main categories or stages in cognitive appraisal. People ask themselves “Am I in trouble or being benefited, now or in the future, and in what ways?” during primary appraisals. People classify the scenario as a threat, a challenge, or a loss if the response to this question is yes. Threat and challenge appraisals might make reference to recent or upcoming occurrences, whereas loss relates to injuries or damages that have already occurred. Challenge suggests that one concentrates on the success, the social rewards, and the personal progress that the circumstance could provide, whereas threat suggests potential risk to one’s wellbeing or self-esteem.
    A secondary appraisal is an evaluation of coping mechanisms and responses to the question, “Can I deal with this situation?”.
    For instance, let’s use speeches as an example. A person who thinks these don’t really matter and they’re actually pretty easy will experience less tension than a person who has low self-efficacy, who believes that these speeches will have a significant impact on the rest of their lives and will be extremely difficult. This is an illustration of how two people who experienced the same stressor (the speeches) assessed it in different ways. Their different appraisals will lead to quite varied stress reactions.

    Coping refers to “cognitive and behavioral efforts to master, reduce, or tolerate the internal and/or external demands that are created by the stressful transaction” (Folkman, 1984).
    Folkman and Lazarus distinguish eight groups of coping strategies: confrontative coping, distancing, self-controlling, seeking social support, accepting responsibility, escape avoidance, planful problem-solving, and positive reappraisal. Also, Lazarus and Folkman recognized at least two main categories of antecedents: those associated with the characteristics of the individual and those linked to the features of the circumstance. These antecedents will directly influence how people assess and cope with the situation. The first group includes things like commitments (which indicate what is essential to the person and, thus, what is at stake in that situation), beliefs (such as ideas about personal control), and personal characteristics (such as self-esteem).
    Appraisal is how a person interprets stimuli in their environment subjectively and Coping is the mechanism they use to bear stressing and demanding situations. All of this relates to CBT because CBT is focused on rationalizing the person’s negative thoughts and behaviors. This is achieved by challenging cognitive errors, core beliefs, dysfunctional assumptions, and automatic negative thoughts and reframing them more rationally. When therapists apply CBT they are teaching clients how to cope with cognitive distortions by identifying, recognizing, and managing them. Also, CBT relates to cognitive appraisal because Cognitive distortions and automatic thoughts are wrong ways in which the person thinks about themselves and the environment, they are often inaccurate and negatively biased, similar to what happens with cognitive appraisal.

    (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!)

    I feel more confident now in understanding and applying the basic principles of CBT as a therapist than at the beginning of the summer. When I was an undergraduate student I did my internships in different health care centers and rotated in different units, some of them were for instance, in a psychiatry unit; I conducted case studies of psychiatric patients, assisted in psychiatric cases, and presented case studies to the therapist in charge, also, I volunteered in the unit of Neuropsychology, Neurodevelopment, Child Psychiatry, and Family Therapy where I handled clients’ medical records, took them to the consulting room, and served as a Co-therapist to families, children, and adolescents with behavioral issues. In the majority of those scenarios, I could see how CBT was applied.
    I remember working in some cases of clients with major depression and using cognitive restructuring with them to help them get rid of those automatic thoughts and therefore suicidal behaviors. Also, using journaling and thought records (writing is a great way of getting in touch with our own thoughts!). I asked the clients to list negative thoughts that occurred to them between sessions and positive thoughts they could choose instead. All of this and the theory that I am getting now is for sure making me more confident and secure about applying CBT!.


    • Sam Keller
      Sep 16, 2022 @ 14:53:15

      Hi Patricia!

      I really liked the way you described stress as an imbalance between the demands placed on the individual and the resources they have to deal with it. I think that is a very important concept. Some clients will have less resources such as time, emotional supports such as friends and family, money, and energy. It is also important to keep in mind how these resources can be depleted over time. If you are using resources faster than you can gain them back (by getting good sleep, physically relaxing your body, earning money, taking time away from stressful; environments) our ability to cope will slowly decrease even if the situation has remained the same. Also don’t forget about reappraisal! Our appraisal can change as we gain more information and this gives us the ability to view the situation differently. Overall great post!


    • Tuyen Phung
      Sep 16, 2022 @ 21:49:35

      Hi Patricia,
      You caught a very interesting point about cognitive appraisal and coping in relation with CBT. I like the idea of focusing on negative thoughts and behaviors in which people interpret their situations. I also think this is the main point why cognitive appraisal and coping are considered in the history of CBT. If cognitive appraisal explains adaptive and maladaptive functioning in people due to their own interpretation. Regarding this point, I wonder how CBT can be beneficial in the treatment for individuals with cognitive impairment. I am impressed with your experience in the practice of therapy in the past. I think that your past experience will be very advantageous for you in the future internship and practice.


  10. Tuyen Phung
    Sep 14, 2022 @ 22:58:03

    Cognitive appraisal refers to the role of a mediator between an event and the response of an individual. To put it simply, cognitive appraisal is people’s perception of an event before they come to a response. The appraisal can be judgment discrimination and perception about the event. For example, when a person sees a dog running toward him, his cognitive appraisal is manifested through the thought that this is an aggressive dog. It will bite him and he might run away quickly. However, if he judges the dog as pretending to be aggressive to threaten him, he might stop and scare it. With the example, cognitive appraisal plays a central role in his response. Cognitive appraisal relates strictly to CBT in various ways. On the one hand, the approach of CBT focuses on cognition as the main factor leading to the change in emotion and behavior. On the other hand, cognitive appraisal helps both therapist and client understand the origin of issues through maladaptive function. With cognitive appraisal, the primary appraisal helps individuals understand reasons for issues while the secondary appraisal is helpful in the process of treatment.

    Coping process refers to the attempt to change thoughts and behaviors to manage demands, both internally and externally. People use coping when they need to balance stressful status and outcomes. Emotion-focused coping focuses on an emotional response to an issue through various strategies, from less emotional distress such as avoidance and distraction to positive attitudes such as optimism. Problem-focused coping focuses on managing the relationship between an individual and the environment, which is the main source of distress. Coping relates to CBT in its practice of managing emotions and behaviors, which are especially applied to the treatment of emotional disorders and maladaptive functioning. Overall, cognitive appraisal relates to cognitive perspectives of CBT while coping relates significantly to its behavioral perspectives.

    With my initial understanding of CBT, I am more interested in it. Even though I have not learned deeply skills and techniques of the approach, I understand more about the relationship among thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Working with thoughts is important in CBT before gaining consistent behavioral and emotional changes that lead to well-being. In applying CBT in working with clients in the future, I think that it is important to gain trust and build a therapeutic relationship before clients can open to be challenged and change their status.


    • Patricia Ortiz
      Sep 16, 2022 @ 17:53:33

      Hi Tuyen!, I agree with you that building a therapeutic relationship before clients can open up to be challenged and change their status is critical. I believe that the therapist should always show empathy and sincere understanding for the situation that brings the person to consult and always accept the points of view of clients unconditionally without judging. Seeking help requires a lot of effort for some people and we should always be appreciative of that.


    • Teresia Maina
      Sep 18, 2022 @ 18:04:15

      Hi Tuyen,

      I really enjoyed your example of cognitive appraisal, it helped me visualize the concept. As we progress through this program I also find learning about CBT very interesting and I’m excited to learn more. I liked that you mentioned the importance of a good therapeutic relationship. A therapeutic relationship has the ability to progress or hinder a client’s progress.


  11. Tayler Shea
    Sep 14, 2022 @ 23:17:52

    Lazarus’ and Folkman’s Cognitive appraisal is when a person is evaluating if the environment which they are in is relevant to their well-being and how it is relevant. There are two types of appraisals – primary and secondary. Primary appraisal is when a person is considering if they have anything to gain or lose in a given situation. A secondary appraisal is when the person evaluates what they can do to prevent harm in the situation or improve the likelihood of the potential benefit.

    My understanding of this in my own words would be that cognitive appraisal is the process in which a person is analyzing a situation to determine if the situation is beneficial or harmful to them. This happens before the client reacts or behaves in the situation. There are two parts of cognitive appraisal: first, the person will determine if the situation is harmful to them, beneficial to them, or irrelevant to their life (primary appraisal). If they determine that the situation could be beneficial, then they will use a secondary appraisal to determine what they can do to increase the chances of the situation being beneficial. If they determine that the situation could be harmful, then they will determine what they can do to minimize the chances of harm. Cognitive appraisal can be used to better understand why a client behaved a certain way by focusing on how the client felt in the environment that they were behaving within.

    In my opinion, this relates to CBT in many ways. CBT is based on the theory that thoughts, emotions, and behaviors all influence one another. The theory of cognitive appraisal is implying that the client’s thoughts and emotions regarding the environment or situation that they are existing within will impact the way that they behave in that environment. Additionally, the client’s ability to cope with situations will impact their evaluation of the environment. If the client does not have adequate coping skills, then they are likely to perceive an environment as more threatening than it actually is. This also relates to CBT, as CBT is a skill-based therapeutic approach where we would teach our clients skills (such as coping) which would then influence the client’s confidence or self-efficacy. Once the client has a higher self-efficacy then their likelihood of evaluating situations during primary appraisal as threatening will decrease. The client will then be more likely to determine and behave in ways that will result in a beneficial outcome during secondary appraisal.

    An example of this would be if you were working with a client and their boss heavily critiqued a project that they were working on. If your client has low self-efficacy, they may evaluate this environment and decide that it is a threatening environment during primary appraisal. They may then react by becoming very hostile and defensive. During the secondary appraisal, your client may evaluate the situation and decide that they should behave by nit-picking their co-worker’s project to take attention off their own mistakes. Becoming hostile and insulting a co-worker’s project is not a healthy coping mechanism or suggested behavior, but in the viewpoint of your client who has low self-efficacy and feels threatened, pointing out someone else’s mistakes may decrease the chance that they will be reprimanded and increase the odds that their boss will cut them some slack.

    This theory heavily influenced the development of CBT, as it is stating that the client’s thoughts and feelings directly influence their behaviors and reactions to environments. CBT built upon this. A CBT therapist would treat the client mentioned above by working to build the client’s self-efficacy by teaching them skills that they can use during stressful situations. These skills would help the client so that they will then evaluate situations as less threatening and behave in an appropriate way.

    I feel confident in my ability to understand and apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist. I feel as though the courses in this program complement each other well in the sense of building student confidence. The Abnormal Psychology and Tests and Measures courses helped me feel confident in my knowledge of the different mental health disorders and methods that we have in measuring and diagnosing those disorders. The Counseling Principles and Practices course taught me many basic CBT skills and gave us the opportunity to practice those skills, and this course so far has helped me understand the theoretical concepts that lead to the development of CBT and the cognitive processes that were discovered along the way.

    I am naturally outgoing and empathetic. These two personality traits have made me feel very confident in my ability to build rapport with my clients and allow them to feel accepted within our therapeutic relationship. Rapport building is one of the key aspects of CBT, and I feel very confident in this skill. Additionally, I feel confident in my understanding of how thoughts and feelings influence behaviors. I also understand that teaching our clients specific skills is a core component of CBT and that our goal is for clients to be able to live a healthy, happy, and functional life, independent of our help, in the future. I think that I have a lot to learn regarding implementing specific CBT skills and techniques to change thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, but I understand the foundational theories that CBT was built upon and my ability to create a collaborative, safe, and comfortable therapeutic experience for my client. I am excited to learn more skills!


    • Tuyen Phung
      Sep 16, 2022 @ 22:05:30

      You explained deeply about cognitive appraisal, coping in relation with CBT. Especially, your explanation about cognitive appraisal helps me understand more about how cognitive appraisal works in CBT. I would like to focus on the primary and secondary appraisal. I agree that the primary appraisal occurs when people determine their situations, whether it is harmful or beneficial to them and the secondary appraisal helps to determine what they should do in the situations. In application with CBT, I think that the primary appraisal refers to the initial part of self-awareness in which people become aware of their own status and situation. Also, the secondary appraisal takes place after the awareness. They determine what they can do to improve their condition, leading to other strategies for changes. With your ability of rapport building and knowledge in CBT, I think that you will have a good therapeutic relationship as a CBT therapist in the future.


  12. Teresia Maina
    Sep 15, 2022 @ 13:13:28

    Lazarus’ and Folkman’s cognitive appraisal refers to an individual’s interpretation of a situation that influences whether the situation is perceived as stressful. Appraisal of a situation is based on an individual past experience which helps them make a judgment on what response will be most beneficial. Cognitive appraisal is dived into two stages primary and secondary appraisal. Primary appraisal is when an individual evaluates how a situation will personally affect them. The situation can be viewed as irrelevant, benign-positive, or stressful. A situation is deemed irrelevant when it does not impact an individuals well being, basically meaning the individual is not invested in the outcome. Benign positive is when the outcome of a situation will increase a person’s well-being. Stress appraisal includes harm/loss (the damage is already done), threat (could lead to harm in the future), and challenge (could lead to growth). The conclusion from primary appraisal will determine what the next steps will be also known as secondary appraisal. That is when you evaluate the factors and decide the best way to respond. Coping is a strategy used to manage stressful situations both externally and internally. Problem-focused coping is similar to problem-solving it involves identifying the problem, taking into account possible solutions, and weighing the benefits and cost of the solution. Basically addressing the problem that is causing distress. Emotion-focused coping involves changing or reducing negative emotions associated with stress, it is used to maintain hope. Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping is to CBT? Cognitive appraisal is similar to CBT how an individual views their environment influences they way their emotions and behavior. Similarly, CBT helps the client recognize their maladaptive coping strategies and helps them learn positive coping skills.

    I feel fairly confident in my ability to understand and apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist, although I am still a little nervous about applying it in session. Throughout my course in this program, I’ve been able to build upon my understanding of the core components of CBT like the importance of a good therapeutic relationship, and homework. This course and PSY 600 have helped me understand how our behavior and emotions are influenced by how we perceive the environment and me confident in my ability to apply this concept as a therapist. I am excited to learn more about the principles of CBT and build upon what I have already learned.


    • NikkiAnn Ryan
      Sep 16, 2022 @ 15:21:33

      Hi Teresia,

      I like the way that you pointed out that CBT can help clients recognize their maladaptive coping strategies. This highlights that not all coping strategies are beneficial and that some may, in fact, be harmful. CBT can be a great way for counselors to help clients recognize this and learn more helpful strategies. Also, I too found that PSY 600 was really helpful for understanding the way we perceive the environment and the connection between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. I’m sure you will do great with applying these concepts in sessions!


    • Kristin Blair
      Sep 17, 2022 @ 13:41:48

      Hi Teresia,

      I thought your description of how Lazarus and Folkman’s theory related to CBT was very insightful and straightforward, especially your points on how the environment affects an individual.
      I also feel the same about applying CBT in practice. The more classes I take, the more I understand and feel a much better sense of how to apply the knowledge! Lastly, I also agree that PSY600 was very helpful as well!


  13. Rachel Marsh
    Sep 15, 2022 @ 13:41:19

    Question 1

    Cognitive Appraisal

    Lazarus & Folkman (1984) conceptualize cognitive appraisal as categorizing an encounter relative to our wellbeing. In other words, they argue that the appraisal process consists of evaluating stimuli as threatening, neutral, or non-threatening to our wellbeing. Moreover, this process is continuous rather than finite (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984)
    Research highlighted by Lazarus & Folkman (1984) suggests that cognitive appraisal mediates stress response. That is, the way an individual appraises a stimulus influences their subsequent emotions. An individual’s appraisal of stimuli may be either accurate or inaccurate. CBT may aim to challenge inaccurate/distorted appraisals and through exploration, encourage the client to adopt accurate appraisals. For example, Lazarus & Folkman (1984) identify several types of appraisals. One of these is known as threat appraisals, in which the individual anticipates damage to tangible or intangible objects. Subsequently, the individual is able to avert possible undesirable consequences. Individuals with clinical anxiety often appraise non-threatening stimuli as threatening. Thus, when they erroneously appraise a non-threatening stimulus as threatening, the stimulus is more likely to evoke emotions of anxiety. Using CBT principles, a therapist could help the client minimize these inaccurate appraisals, subsequently minimizing their anxiety.


    Lazarus & Folkman (1984) characterize coping as a dynamic process in which the individual manages both external and internal demands. Furthermore, they argue that coping occurs in situations that the individual determines to place stress on or exceed their personal capacity to deal with situations (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). This framework of coping outlined by Lazarus & Folkman (1984) can be related to CBT in several ways. Firstly, is in the relationship between emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping. Lazarus & Folkman (1984) identify emotion-focused forms of coping that occur when an individual appraises a situation as being beyond their control whereas problem-focused coping occurs when conditions are stable and able to change. They argue that problem-and emotion-focused coping both inhibit and encourage each other in the coping process. For example, Lazarus & Folkman (1984) highlight an example from Hay & Oaken (1972), which t out that nurses often use distancing and avoidance, which helped them effectively provide care, but also made them come across as detached and robotic to their patients, making the patients feel their need for support and warmth were not met. In CBT, a therapist can assess which types of coping an individual is likely to use, and how the two forms of coping inhibit or encourage one another in certain situations.
    Secondly, Lazarus & Folkman (1984) identify coping resources and limitations that facilitate or inhibit coping, respectively. In CBT, a therapist may be able to assess these in the context of the client’s coping behaviors to identify areas that prevent adaptive coping or encourage maladaptive coping.

    Coping & Cognitive Appraisal

    The constructs of cognitive appraisal and coping can also be related to one another more broadly in the CBT process. For example, Lazarus & Folkman (1984) point out that appraisal determines the coping methods an individual chooses to employ. The CBT model emphasizes the importance of generalization in that it argues that the aim of therapy is to help clients become more independent in reflecting about their thoughts and their subsequent effects (Beck, 2021; Volungis, 2019). By assessing the interplay between these two constructs and adapting how the client appraises stimuli, this can also change their coping for the better in therapy. This is a skill that therapists can instill in their clients to apply to all areas of their life, rather than just the thoughts they address in therapy.

    Question 2

    After reading about the basics of CBT such as the CBT model and central themes of CBT, I feel ambivalent in my abilities. After the readings, I realized I know more about CBT than I initially thought. I took several courses in undergrad that covered CBT and its related principles, especially in terms of empathy, unconditional positive regard, and genuineness. With that, I am a little more confident than previously. While I understand the process a bit more through reading, I still feel as though I lack enough direct experience and would need more practice to solidify my skills. I appreciate how CBT is collaborative and characterizes the client as the expert in their thoughts, emotions, and experience. With that, it is definitely something that I look forward to learning more about and refining my skills so I can help prospective clients in this way.


    Beck, J. S. (2021). Cognitive therapy: Basics and beyond (3rd ed.). Guilford

    Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York, NY:
    Springer Press.

    Volungis, A. M. (2018). Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Theory into practice. Rowman &


    • Yoana Catano
      Sep 15, 2022 @ 23:05:49

      Hi Rachel,
      I like the way you highlight the appraisal process as being continuous, as we learnt in class, more adaptive individuals, use more often the re-appraisal process, this means, they continue assessing not only the event, but also the coping resources utilized to learn or modify. Also, these individuals tend to be more accurate in appraising situations, being consistent with the coping utilized to respond effectively. On the other hand, as you explain, psychological distress appears when one event is appraised as harmful when is not, in the case of anxiety for example.
      I also agree in the idea that problem-and emotion-focused coping both inhibit and encourage each other in the coping process, one does not exclude the other one; in some occasions, the emotion-focused is utilized first while some problem solving is developed to cope with the event.
      Finally, I’m glad that you are able to utilize the knowledge from undergrad, definitely is a process that has to be continuous, every client will be a new learning process, but also, theory is always updating, I feel like the therapeutic process always teach us something new, in this collaborative process, even if is not the main goal, we always learn, re-assess our abilities, and improve our counselling skills.


    • Amanda Bara
      Sep 16, 2022 @ 11:49:26

      You did a really nice job organizing your thoughts in this discussion post. I like how you said CBT should help to minimize inaccurate appraisals. I think that minimizing the appraisals may be helpful in some instances where it may be more important to integrate specific coping skills. I really like your comparison of coping and cognitive appraisal to CBT. Specifically, I think it is so important to introduce that concept of generalization. The aim of CBT is to help individuals learn certain coping skills and generalize them to other areas of their lives. Nice discussion post!


    • Patricia Ortiz
      Sep 16, 2022 @ 17:42:02

      Hi Rachel, I also appreciate how CBT is collaborative and characterizes the client as the expert in their thoughts, emotions, and experience as you mentioned before. I like that CBT teaches the clients the abilities and skills to understand one’s maladaptive thoughts and behaviors and reevaluate them. Also, teaches them to use problem-solving skills to cope with difficult situations. With that being said, CBT guides clients into learning to develop a greater sense of confidence in their own abilities and this is for sure a great tool for effective change.


    • Teresia Maina
      Sep 18, 2022 @ 18:12:05

      Hi Rachel,

      I really enjoyed reading your post! I agree that reading had made me understand the basic principles of CBT more but I’m also nervous about using these skills in session due to not having enough experience. I’m excited to keep learning about CBT but also to start practicum and internship to practice the skills we learn in class. Overall great discussion!


  14. Rylee L Ferguson
    Sep 15, 2022 @ 14:11:04

    Cognitive appraisals are internal conceptualizations of what people observe. They can be immediate reactions that one takes without really thinking, such as ducking when you see a ball flying towards your head. Your cognitive appraisal identifies danger and you react quickly to avoid the threat. On the other hand, cognitive appraisals can also be much slower internal deliberating that leads to the experience of emotions. For instance, after the initial shock from seeing the ball, one might be able to realize it was foam and did not pose a real threat. This rationalization can lead to relief and calm the previous anxiety. This phenomenon ties into coping, or how one chooses to deal with a situation. For instance, the former cognitive appraisal suggests that one might have to avoid the danger by ducking, dodging, or running. However, the second appraisal suggests that less intense reactions are appropriate, such as deflecting or even catching the foam ball. A person’s cognitive appraisal of a situation determines how well and in what ways they may be able to cope with it. One way this could relate to CBT is individuals could tend too often towards negative appraisals of situations unnecessarily. As a result they could overthink what coping skills are required and wrongly conclude that they are unable to cope properly. This might look like someone feeling that talking on the phone presents a huge threat to their reputation as they could fumble their words and be unable to cope with the failed social interaction. This could lead to future avoidant behavior as they continue to fear that they do not have the means to deal with answering or initiating phone conversations. CBT would work to right these wrong appraisals so people could become more confident in their coping strategies and once again be able to take calls.

    My initial impression is that being able to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT will be integral to my work as a therapist. I think I have a grasp on the big picture of CBT currently and my understanding will continue to grow so that I can also thoroughly comprehend its nuances. I think a firm understanding will better my ability to express the process of CBT to future clients. Helping them to see how it works can help enhance their motivation and expectations that their situations can improve. For instance, one of the readings described the difference between maladaptive behavior and adaptive behavior as quantitative rather than qualitative (Volungis, 2018). This means that when people experience mental illness, it is not completely foreign but rather normal responses experienced at an unhealthy extent. Being able to understand this and relay it to a client can help them feel less alien. I hope to be able to effectively express CBT concepts such as this to help my future clients understand and cope with their experience of mental illness.


    • Yoana Catano
      Sep 15, 2022 @ 23:17:30

      Hi Rylee,
      Your response is very easy to read and understand, I like the example you use and the terminology to explain cognitive appraisal and coping. Sometimes cognitive processing can happen very quick and sometimes it stays as ruminating. As we have learnt in class, cognitive appraisal will bring the response to an event, and I really appreciate the way you explain how the response can be functional and expected if we understand what they read into the event, or the way it is appraised. I am sure you will be a great therapist; it seems like you have good understanding of CBT.


    • Amanda Bara
      Sep 16, 2022 @ 11:44:09

      I loved your example of the ball and how you tied it into cognitive appraisals. I enjoyed reading your discussion post and think it was well thought out. I like how you pointed out that CBT works to make individual’s cognitive appraisal’s more rational. I also like how you indicated that it works to help individuals be more confident in their coping strategies. Your integration of Professor’s thought in the reading really stuck out to me and I think it is so important as a counselor to view people’s responses as being normal but to an unhealthy extent. Nice discussion post!


  15. Kristin Blair
    Sep 15, 2022 @ 14:34:53

    Lazarus and Folkman break their cognitive appraisal belief into the primary and secondary appraisal. What is different about their theory of cognitive appraisal that I found interesting is that most theories have “stages” where one comes after another; they describe it as the secondary appraisal happening simultaneously with the primary appraisal. Their theory mirrors CBT’s focus on an individual’s interpretation or response from experiencing a specific interaction or event. These interactions or events are often from a stressor but don’t necessarily have to be.

    This theory is very helpful when working with individuals in counseling/therapy. It feels natural to ask about an antecedent when someone shares an emotion about something that has happened. Additionally, I believe that if someone can understand how and/or why they feel/felt a certain way and what triggered it, then they can make some notable changes in their life. It is a way of potentially altering the way the mind perceives certain events and interactions to avoid having unwanted feelings in the future.


    • Tayler Shea
      Sep 16, 2022 @ 22:16:23

      Hi Kristin!

      I like how you noticed that Lazarus and Folkman’s theory is different from other theories in the sense that they don’t list multiple “stages”! I agree that their theory is similar to CBT in many ways. It’s important to focus on the client’s interoperation of an environment to understand their behaviors and how to change them.

      I agree that this theory will be helpful in working with clients. It is so important to understand how the client is feeling and WHY they may be feeling that way or what triggered it!


    • Rachel Marsh
      Sep 17, 2022 @ 21:05:38

      Hello Kristin,

      I enjoyed reading your post! Specifically, I appreciate how you brought up the importance of identifying events that preceded a certain cognition or emotion. This ties in well with your point about helping individuals change adaptively by identifying antecedent events and subsequent emotions/thoughts. As emphasized in the readings over the past few weeks, emotions and thoughts often precede behavior. But when we can identify what precedes these behaviors and adapt thinking/feeling patterns in an adaptive manner, then we can also hope that the individual experiences positive behavior change in turn. The primary aim of CBT is to instill these changes in the client. Moreover, CBT aims to cultivate autonomy in the client by empowering them with the skills to assess their thinking and feeling patterns independently and make positive changes.
      Overall, great post!


  16. Vanessa U.
    Sep 21, 2022 @ 14:31:28

    Cognitive appraisal connects with CBT almost as an adjunct of Bandura’s reciprocal determinism.
    An individual’s unique set of environmental experiences, behavior, and emotions have a substantial impact on how one will assess future decisions or respond to perceived threat.
    Early impressions/ideas of utilizing CBT in a therapeutic environment would suggest that, using open ended questions, followed by thought challenging would be one particular tool to begin to “soften” the rigidity around potentially damaging thoughts.


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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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