Topic 2: Cognitive Theories {by 9/16}

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 9/16.  Have your two replies posted no later than 9/18.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jennifer Vear
    Sep 14, 2021 @ 10:39:19

    1. Lazarus and Folkman describe cognitive appraisal as the process by which an individual will appraise a certain situation, and then how they feel and act in that situation based on that appraisal. Essentially, there are various ways in which an individual can appraise or perceive situations which leads to how they will then act. This is termed as primary appraisal, which explains various ways in which individuals perceive situations. Someone can see the situation as irrelevant, have a neutral perspective or see it as positive, they could see it as a stressful threat or a stressful harm/loss, and finally, even a stressful challenge. These appraisals relate to CBT, as Beck demonstrates that the way in which an individual thinks, feels, and behaves during different situations can affect the person and also prove to be adaptive or maladaptive.
    Furthermore, Lazarus and Folkman also explain the coping process of having three main features. These features include being process-oriented, which is where the individual focuses on the thoughts and actions during a stressful encounter. Then, in contextual, the individual appraises the situation and determines what they are able to do. And then finally, through adaptive changes, the individual will shift their coping skills according to each encounter that they face. Depending on whether an individual is adaptive or maladaptive, they will cope in various ways during stressful situations. For a short-term change, an individual will use emotion-focused coping to help with the immediate situation. However, in order to facilitate long-term change, the individual needs to rely on problem-focused coping. With CBT, the way in which an individual initially appraises the situation can determine if they will react in an adaptive or maladaptive manner.

    2. Although I have not yet worked in a clinical setting, I am very excited to start applying the CBT skills that I have learned in this program in a therapy session. As we have learned, core beliefs are overall perceptions that the individual has about themselves, and automatic thoughts are situational, black-and-white thinking that stems from one’s core beliefs. Negative core beliefs then lead to negative automatic thoughts that can further damage an individual’s perception of themselves and self-esteem. I hope that I will be able to apply these concepts in therapy to help my client recognize their negative self-evaluations in the face of contradictory evidence. Although I have more to learn, I am excited to continue and eventually practice these skills in an internship next summer.


    • Giana Faia
      Sep 15, 2021 @ 11:06:52

      Hi Jenn,

      You did a great job of explains the key feature of both cognitive appraisal and coping. With cognitive appraisal, the person evaluates their interaction with their environment and decided whether or not is it relevant to their well-being, which relates to CBT as we assess the interactions between the person, environment, and behaviors. Coping being the way we try to reduce, minimize, master, or tolerate whatever the situation/ experience is, also relates to CBT because whether a persona is adaptive or maladaptive will influence how they cope. Thanks for sharing!



  2. Morgan Rafferty
    Sep 15, 2021 @ 10:03:03

    Hi Jen! Fantastic post. I am excited as well to learn more about these skills and to eventually put them into practice.
    It is so interesting how individuals can face the same exact encounter and perceive it so differently. A close friend of mine tells this heartwarming story depicting how her daughter Phoebe seems to have been born with a sense of optimism and positivity. At the time she was maybe six years old. The family had just exited an ice cream shop and while walking and eating, Phoebe’s ice cream scoop fell off the cone and flat on the ground. They all paused and looked at it. Phoebe looked up, looked at the cone in her hand and happily said, “I still have ice cream in the cone!”
    I will never forget this sweet tale. What a blessing for her to have this “glass half full” mindset. Surely another child would have burst into tears and cried, “why me?”
    If only we could all be born with this ability. Thank goodness CBT exists!


  3. Morgan Rafferty
    Sep 15, 2021 @ 10:07:27

    According to Lazarus and Folkman, the concept of appraisal was essential to a theory of psychological stress and coping. Individuals differ in their sensitivity and vulnerability to certain types of events. They also differ in their interpretations and reactions to events. In order to understand why/how people react differently when in comparable situations, we need to understand the cognitive processes that are involved. The cognitive process involved is referred to as: cognitive appraisal. How an individual construes an event shapes their emotional and behavioral response. Cognitive appraisal is evaluative; it is the process of categorizing an encounter with respect to its significance for one’s well-being. One’s cognitive appraisal predicts whether they will employ emotion-focused coping or problem-focused coping. If an encounter requires acceptance, emotion-focused coping tends to result. If an encounter can be acted upon, problem-focused coping tends to dominate.

    Lazarus and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping align closely with CBT. The three fundamental propositions of CBT are: 1. cognitive activity affects behavior, 2. cognitive activity may be monitored and altered, 3. desired behavior change may be effected through cognitive change. When problems are external to an individual, coping skills therapies and problem-solving therapies work best. When a problem is internal to an individual, cognitive restructuring methods are the best route. Lazarus and Folkman’s formulation of cognitive appraisal and coping, aligns with CBT in the sense that a situation alone does not affect how a person feels but rather it is the person’s thoughts (appraisal) that act as a mediator between the situation and the resulting emotions (coping style).

    My initial impressions in my ability to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist are that I will require practice to hone these skills over time. I have a clear understanding of how an individual who is functioning maladaptively might very well display a reciprocal interaction of thoughts, emotions and behaviors that negatively feed into each other which results in increased psychological distress; each of those three components potentially worsening over time. I understand the primary goal of CBT as being to help clients identify, evaluate, and modify their negative automatic thoughts and corresponding behaviors. By doing so, clients then can break free from this negative reciprocating relationship of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
    One of the ultimate goals of CBT is to reach a point where your client is able to independently make the modifications to their thoughts and behaviors while developing effective coping and problem-solving skills. In essence, success has been achieved when your client can serve as his/her own therapist with whatever circumstances arise throughout life.


    • Giana Faia
      Sep 15, 2021 @ 10:55:04

      Hi Morgan!

      When discussing out ability to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT practice is going to be key, like you mentioned. As therapists, we work toward helping clients identify, evaluate, and modify certain problem behaviors. By laying this foundation over sessions, we hope to guide the client to use the tools we have provided and begin to apply them themselves. Like you said, helping the client be their own therapist. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!



    • Frayah Wilkey
      Sep 16, 2021 @ 11:10:33

      I think you did a really good job of explaining the concepts in question #1. You defined them in a way that anyone could understand which is a skill that will be really helpful during psychoeducation and the CBT process. I also think you were really insightful with your answer for question #2 and I think you’ll be a great therapist. I look forward to continuing our learning together!


  4. Giana Faia
    Sep 15, 2021 @ 10:46:00

    1. According to Lazarus and Folkman, cognitive appraisal is a process in which the person evaluates whether a certain interaction with the environment is relevant to his/ her well-being and if it is, what that means. Lazarus and Folkman describe two kinds of cognitive appraisal: primary and secondary appraisal. Primary appraisal is when the person weighs whether or not they have anything at stake during the interaction. Secondary appraisal is when the person evaluates their options, if any, surrounding preventing harm/ overcoming it or improving the benefits of the encounter.
    Lazarus and Folkman then go on to define coping as the person’s constant change surrounding behavioral and cognitive efforts as a way to manage specific internal/ external demands that are appraise as taxing or exceeding the person’s resources. In short, coping is when we try to reduce, minimize, master, or tolerate whatever the situation/ experience is. With coping, there are three major features. The first is that it is process oriented, meaning it revolves around what he person thinks or does in certain stressful encounters and how it changes as the encounter continues. Second, coping is considered to be contextual which means a certain person and situation combined shaped coping efforts. Third, we do not make prior assumptions about what good or bad coping is. Instead, we define coping, but do not consider whether or not it is successful. Along with this coping functions can be both emotion-focused coping which is the regulation of stressful emotions or problem-focused coping which aims to change the person-environment relation that causes the distress.
    Both cognitive appraisal and coping are key mediators when understanding stressful person-environment relations as well as their long term outcomes. This relates to CBT because, as we discussed, we look at the environment, person, and behaviors and how they interact with each other. Coping involves both internal and external demands which relates to CBT where we try to understand thoughts/ feelings as well as looking at the environment as means for interactions.

    2. Despite not having any therapy experience as the therapist, I think that by being on the receiving end of CBT, as well as learning the basic principles has helped me see the real life application of these principles. Being on the receiving end and talking through things has helped me better understand these principles which will increase my ability in applying them in the future. As we know, it is critical to form a trusting therapeutic relationship with the client which will help in the overall outcome of therapy. Once the relationship is established and rapport is built, helping clients recognize their ways of thinking, evaluating it, then helping guide them through to action will be key in CBT sessions. This is something I look forward to in the future with continuous practice.


    • Lisa Andrianopoulos
      Sep 16, 2021 @ 11:17:32

      Hi Giana,

      I agree with you about the importance of developing a strong rapport and therapeutic alliance with the client. Yes, it is a core of CBT to address automatic thoughts/core beliefs and work on effective coping strategies. However, none of this is effective if you don’t have a strong relationship with the client in front of you. This is critical if they are to value your discussions and apply it to real life circumstances.



  5. Kaitlyn Tonkin
    Sep 15, 2021 @ 16:03:17

    1. The appraisal process as identified by Lazarus and Folkman is the process of evaluating a situation or event in terms of its relevance to the individual’s well-being. Lazarus and Folkman explained two types of cognitive appraisal: primary and secondary appraisal. Primary appraisal is the process of an individual evaluating if they are in danger or if they are being benefited by the situation and in what way. There are three types of primary appraisals. Once the individual determines if the situation is “good” or “bad”, they have to figure out if anything can be done about the situation and if something can be done, they have to figure out what to do. This is the process of secondary appraisal. While reading, I found that the appraisal process related to CBT in that how someone interprets a situation determines how they will or will not act. This relates to CBT in that our emotions and behaviors are determined by how we perceive a situation. Lazarus and Folkman also describe a process called coping. They defined coping as a “person’s constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the person’s resources” (p. 141). Coping is an individual’s way of dealing with the situation at hand. Lazarus and Folkman identified two types of coping: emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping. Emotion-focused coping is typically used when there is no way to change the situation and it involves regulating one’s emotional response. Problem-focused coping is generally used when the stressor can be changed. Problem-focused coping works on changing something about the environment that is causing stress. The authors also noted three key features of coping, which are that it is process-oriented, contextual, and adaptive. Coping is process-oriented, which means that an individual will focus on what they think or do during a stressful situation. Coping is also contextual meaning that how someone appraises a situation is dependent on the context of a situation. Finally, coping is adaptive and a shifting process. As an individual deals with a situation, they change their coping skills to fit the situation. Coping is related to CBT in that it also deals with how behavior and emotions are related to the environment.

    2. Since this is only my second semester in the program, I have not had any formal CBT experience as a therapist. I have, however, been on the receiving end of therapy, specifically CBT. That being said, I think I will be able to accurately use the skills that I have learned throughout my classes to practice CBT effectively. Moreover, I think my experience in therapy gives me another perspective and skill to effectively practice CBT. Throughout PSY 600 (Counseling Principles and Practices), we were asked to evaluate our skills, and by the end of the course, I felt confident in many of the skills required for CBT, although I did have apprehensions for certain skills. I think it will take some more education and experience for me to feel fully confident in using skills and the basic principles of CBT to deliver effective therapy to my future clients.


  6. Valerie Graveline
    Sep 15, 2021 @ 21:19:03

    1) Lazarus and Folkman describe cognitive appraisal as an individual’s understanding and interpretation of any particular situation or event. They emphasize that cognitive appraisals are for evaluative purposes, so that an individual can decide the significance or meaning of a particular event/situation and its potential impact on their wellbeing. Cognitive appraisals can either be categorized as primary or secondary appraisals. Primary appraisals ultimately refer to instances where an individual interprets a situation as significant or insignificant on their wellbeing. More specifically, primary appraisals can be “irrelevant”, “benign-positive”, or “stressful”. When “irrelevant”, the individual views the situation as having no impact on their wellbeing. To serve as another example, with a “benign-positive” appraisal, the individual views the situation as having a positive impact on their wellbeing. On the other hand, a secondary appraisal refers to an individual’s thought process following how they interpret a situation. For example, an individual interprets a situation as stressful, and then must decide on how to proceed and deal with the situation at hand. Based on Lazarus and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal, it relates to CBT in that they are roughly similar to automatic thoughts, but are much more complex and long-lasting than those thoughts. A client’s cognitive appraisal of any particular event is important to understand especially in CBT because as Lazarus and Folkman (1984) stated, “…in order to survive and flourish people must distinguish between benign and dangerous situations.” (p. 23). If an individual continuously interprets situations as dangerous, it shows the clinician that there are maladaptive thoughts in the client’s cognitive appraisals that must be recognized and reworked.

    Lazarus and Folkman also describe what is known as the coping process. Coping refers to an individual’s thought processes and behavioral efforts to deal with appraisals that they find “taxing or exceeding (their) resources” (p. 141). Lazarus and Folkman describe two forms of coping, including that which is emotion-focused and that which is problem-focused. In emotion-focused coping, an individual’s thoughts and coping strategies are meant to decrease their emotional distress. Meanwhile, problem-focused coping involves strategies that the individual utilizes in order to actively find solutions to any given situation. Problem-focused and emotion-focused coping are similar to secondary cognitive appraisals, seeing as the individual focuses on managing the situation. With this said, this is strongly related to CBT as there are techniques utilized in CBT such as role-play exercises, where a client can plan out/practice how they might respond to a given situation ahead of time in sessions so that they may feel better prepared to deal with the situation when it arises in “real life”.

    2) As I have only new and limited knowledge of CBT, I do not currently feel completely confident in my ability to consistently apply the principles of CBT as a clinician. However, as the semester continues I notice I am feeling more confident in my understanding of the concepts and how I might be able to utilize them in therapy. Being in therapy myself currently, I am able to recognize the techniques that are being utilized and find it very valuable to learn about it not only in class, but from a client’s perspective as well. In my therapy sessions, I notice how my clinician applies these concepts very seamlessly in treatment, and it is interesting to take note on how she does so. I am hopeful that as the semester and the program continues that I will become very comfortable and confident in my ability to consistently apply these concepts in sessions.


    • Kaitlyn Tonkin
      Sep 16, 2021 @ 10:17:46

      Hi Valerie,

      You brought up a great point about how appraisals and coping are related to CBT in terms of certain techniques, such as role-play exercises like you mentioned. I had not thought about more concrete ways that the 3 (cognitive appraisals, coping, and CBT) were related, rather I compared them on more theoretical terms. I think it is interesting that you made this point about how they are related in terms of CBT practices and it made me begin to brainstorm other ideas as well. For example, I have learned a skill throughout therapy called “cope-ahead” which essentially is imagining a stressful scenario and writing out the possible skills and tools that could be used to manage the situation, however, this would not be useful without a cognitive appraisal first!

      Thanks for sharing, your post made me delve deeper into my own brain!



    • Jennifer Vear
      Sep 16, 2021 @ 10:56:38

      Hi Valerie!

      You did a great job describing cognitive appraisal. I especially like how you quoted Lazarus and Folkman that explained how individuals need to distinguish between benign and dangerous situations. This is a very interesting concept, because, on one hand, you mention those who interpret too many situations as being dangerous and stressful, which then leads to them having increased anxiety. But on the other hand, I also think about individuals who are “dare-devils”; those who test the limits of truly dangerous activities. Some adolescents are in that category with their rebellious phases and not understanding what is truly dangerous for them. So, while we will encounter individuals who are extremely anxious, and perceive most situations to be dangerous, we will also encounter those who should perceive more situations as dangerous. We will just have to structure our CBT interventions accordingly.

      Just thought that was an interesting concept to throw in there. Great job!

      – Jenn


  7. Francesca Bellizzi
    Sep 16, 2021 @ 09:59:16

    1. Conceptualized by Lazarus and Folkman, cognitive appraisal is described as a process in which an individual evaluates an encounter with their environment and the degree to which this encounter is relevant to their well-being. Through what Lazarus and Folkman call primary appraisal, an individual can identify the encounter as positive, irrelevant, or stressful (either harmful, challenging, or threatening). The cognitive appraisal process also encompasses a secondary appraisal, where the individual asks themselves if there is anything that they can do to increase the positive outcome, or reduce/prevent any negative outcomes – or assessing their coping “skills”. The final aspect of cognitive appraisal is reappraisal – or the modification of initial evaluations based on new environmental information. Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal relates to CBT in that our perception of our environment influences the way we react, our emotions, and our behaviors. The reappraisal aspect in cognitive appraisal is also similar to CBT’s process of restructuring thoughts as irrational and maladaptive thoughts and behaviors are modified based on new rational and adaptive information.

    Lazarus and Folkman also further expand upon this process by describing coping. Coping is a process in which an individual constantly changes in order to effectively manage stressful demands that are external and/or internal. There are three key features to coping: it is process-oriented (what is thought and done during the stressful encounter), it is contextual (demands and available resources), and it is adaptive (coping strategy changes based on environmental encounters). Lazarus and Folkman define two types of coping, emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping. Emotion-focused coping involves regulating the emotional response and is used when the event is seen as unchangeable. Problem-focused coping involves modifying the relationship between the individual and their environment that is causing distress and is used when the event is perceived as changeable. The process of coping is related to CBT in that – just like cognitive appraisal – our emotions, behaviors, and environment interact with each other. Similarly, both involve regulating emotions and behaviors to adaptively handle a specific stressful encounter/event.

    2. Although I am not a practicing therapist, I have had exposure to CBT through my own therapy as well as through my previous job. At my previous place of work, our clinicians would send our kiddos back to our program with “homework’ and more often than not it was some form of CBT exercises, and I would sometimes help to walk them through the process (as some of our kids needed more guidance than others). All in all, I feel as though I would be able to consistently and accurately apply the basic principles of CBT when my time comes to practice. I do know that I have more to learn, but I am fairly confident in my fundamental understanding; yet, I know that through more learning, exposure and practice I will gain the confidence I need to be truly effective.


    • Kaitlyn Tonkin
      Sep 16, 2021 @ 10:24:04

      Hi Francesca,

      You made a great point in your discussion about how reappraisals are much like restructuring thoughts, which I had not thought about previously – I didn’t even include the reappraisal process in my own discussion. So, reading your post allowed me to take some time to think about how the reappraisal process and CBT are related. A major component of CBT is working with clients to help them create more rational and adaptive thoughts. For example, instead of a client saying “I got a horrible grade on my exam, I am a terrible student, I am going to fail everything”, they could reframe their thought to something along the lines of “I may have gotten a grade I am not happy with and I can use this as a learning experience to do better on the next exam. Now I know what study tactics work for me and which don’t. Just because I got one grade I am not happy with, does not mean I am a failure.” Doing this and reframing thoughts requires the client to think about the situation differently and decide how they are going to move forward, much like the reappraisal process.

      Thank you for sharing!



    • Frayah Wilkey
      Sep 16, 2021 @ 11:05:56

      Thank you for sharing all of your thoughts! I think that having personal experiences with therapy can be really helpful and provides great insight. It gives a different prospective about the overall process and can allow us to see both sides of it which will make the CBT process more effective in my opinion. I also look forward to continuing to learn about it over the next few semesters.


  8. Frayah Wilkey
    Sep 16, 2021 @ 10:33:56

    (1) According to Lazarus and Folkman, cognitive appraisal is defined as the process by which an individual feels or acts in certain situations based on their appraisal or understanding of it. These appraisals are defined as being primary or secondary. Primary appraisals refer to the process by which the person identifies the encounter as positive on their well-being, irrelevant, or stressful. Based on that, the person can make a secondary appraisal to decide if anything can or should be done in the situation. The two also had their own ideas of the coping process, which is necessary for a person to deal with difficult situations. They may change their behaviors in order to increase their well-being in certain situations or interactions. Both of these concepts relate to CBT because automatic thoughts of encounters with others can be an important topic to work on with clients. Sometimes their appraisals are inaccurate and cause them stress or negativity because their automatic thoughts lead them to inaccurate conclusions. Working on automatic thoughts and situation appraisal can allow the client to see things more accurately. Coping skills are also a huge part of the CBT process and they’re necessary for life. Increasing positive coping skills will increase a person’s well-being because their will always be stress and hardship. Individuals need to know how to deal with that in a manner that is beneficial to them. CBT can help with this tremendously by teaching strategies and working on specific techniques.

    (2) With this semester, I’m only about a year into my graduate education so I still have a lot to learn and experience. I feel like I have a good grasp on CBT though, especially because it is what was taught in my undergrad program. Most of my junior/senior level psychology classes were taught by professors who also practiced CBT so I’ve been exposed to the concepts for a few years. I also did ABA for awhile and picked it up relatively quickly so I feel confident that I’ll be able to apply the basic principles of CBT after practice. Even though the two therapies are different in application, some of the concepts are similar and ABA was a good introduction into a clinical setting. With internships and more learning, I think I’ll be able to effectively use CBT as a therapist.


    • Jennifer Vear
      Sep 16, 2021 @ 10:48:47

      Hi Frayah!

      I remember you mentioning before that you have some experience with ABA, which must be an interesting combination of skills with learning about CBT! I am also so excited to start practicing some CBT skills in a clinical setting, but definitely have more to learn.
      Also, you did a really great job explaining cognitive appraisal and coping in relation to CBT. I agree that developing coping skills is extremely important that will help and individuals deal with various stressors and hardships that they may face. However, it is also true that coping skills are just the band-aid, but cognitive restructuring in CBT can help an individual appraise situations in a way that will be more adaptive.


    • Lisa Andrianopoulos
      Sep 16, 2021 @ 11:13:00

      Hi Frayah,

      I agree with you that internships and more learning will help a lot. I am very excited about doing both the practicum and the internship because with that we also have the opportunity to have direct supervision as we apply the concepts and principles we are learning about. Once grounded in the theory, the best learning is on the job!


  9. Lisa Andrianopoulos
    Sep 16, 2021 @ 11:09:17

    According to Lazarus and Folkman, cognitive appraisal refers to how one evaluates a situation or event, and how that evaluation impacts one’s response to it. Essentially, environment and personal factors interact to shape a person’s evaluation of an event and how they react to it with emotions and behavior. As a result, the same event or situation can be viewed very differently from one individual to the next. In cognitively appraising an event, an individual determines the potential consequences (will I benefit from it/experience pleasure now or in the future? Or, will I experience harm/loss, threat/challenge?). The individual also evaluates what can be done about it. In doing so they determine the degree to which they believe they can cope/protect themselves, their options for doing this and whether they will be effective. Resulting sense of control (or lack thereof) and level of stress influences how one reacts. This is a precursor to CBT because as both Becks posit, one’s cognitive appraisals are related to their automatic thoughts and underlying core beliefs. It is these that influence and interact with behavioral and emotional responses to varying situations. In examining these automatic thoughts and core beliefs in CBT, the therapist works to identify and then modify cognitive distortions that lead to maladaptive responses. If this is done successfully, then the response to particular events becomes more adaptive.

    My initial impressions about my ability to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist is that I think I have a pretty good basic understanding of the core principles, though admittedly there is lots more to learn. In that sense, my initial understanding is undoubtedly simplistic. I like the framework that J. Beck discussed. She talked about starting with a first session evaluation, then psychoeducation and discussing the client’s needs/goals. In her case examples, she further talks about discussing goals and steps to achieve them at the beginning of each session. As a new therapist, I can see myself relying on this structure a lot as I believe it will also help me define how I am approaching the treatment (hence the importance of ongoing case conceptualization). Also, I enjoyed J. Beck’s discussion about CT-R that emphasizes strengths, personal qualities, skills and resources on the part of the client. This resonated with me, and I think it is an approach I will use often. As an aside, I also found it very reassuring that she said she wasn’t a very good therapist when she first started, recognizing the need for ongoing learning, practice and experience : ).


    • Valerie Graveline
      Sep 16, 2021 @ 15:30:10

      Hi Lisa,

      I really enjoyed how you explained Lazarus & Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisals and coping processes. I thought your point about how an individual’s sense of control following their evaluation of a situation strongly influences how they react was very important to bring up. When I was reading this in the chapter, it made me think of role-play exercises that client’s could benefit from so that they can prepare themselves for how they will cope from any given situation. I also appreciated how you brought up J. Beck’s point about how she wasn’t very good at CBT or therapy when she first became a clinician. I found that her point calmed my nerves as well, showing that there’s so much for us to continuously learn, even once we are clinicians.



    • Sergio Rodriguez Pineda
      Sep 17, 2021 @ 22:49:56

      Hey Lisa,

      I liked how you explained the work that the therapist is supposed to develop. Also, improve their skills to understand maladaptive responses to help the client change to have a new repertory of behaviors that facilitate a new learning process in the client more adaptive behaviors. However, I also consider that automatic thoughts and core beliefs play a fundamental role in understanding how clients can be aware of their thoughts and modify them.

      Great post!

      Sergio R.


  10. Katie O'Brien
    Sep 16, 2021 @ 11:12:07

    1.) According to Lazarus and Folkman, through cognitive appraisal processes, individuals evaluate the significance of what is happening in relation to their well-being. During primary appraisal, an individual must make judgments regarding whether a situation or event is irrelevant, benign-positive, or stressful. A stressful appraisal may be a harm/loss (referring to damage the person has already sustained), a threat (anticipated harms or losses), or a challenge, which holds the possibility of mastery or gain to the person. Secondary appraisal is when the person then evaluates what can be done about the situation, including if a given coping strategy will accomplish what is needed or if the person can effectively use the strategy. Finally, reappraisal occurs based on new information from the environment or person.

    Coping refers to the constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the individual. The process involves continuous appraisals and reappraisals of the changing person-environment relationship. When a person appraises conditions as amenable to change, they might use problem-focused forms of coping, whereas when a person appraises that nothing can be done to modify harmful, threatening, or challenging conditions. Emotion-focused coping strategies are directed at lessening emotional distress, including strategies such as avoidance, minimization, distancing, and selective attention. Problem-focused forms of coping are directed at defining the problem, generating alternative solutions, weighing the alternatives in costs and benefits, choosing among them, and then acting on it.

    These concepts relate to CBT because it is not necessarily the situation itself that matters, rather how the individual appraises the situation. It is possible for a person to incorrectly appraise a situation as threatening, for example, when it is really not. As new information arises, a person is able to reappraise the conditions, and thus their emotional reaction and even their behavior, can change in light of this new information. These concepts highlight how the environment, personal factors such as thoughts and emotions, and behaviors, can all influence each other in how a person appraises their surroundings and how they will behave, which is at the core of CBT.

    2.) While I do not have clinical experience yet, following my first semester and the introductory readings this week, I am beginning to feel more comfortable with the basic principles of CBT and how environment/thoughts/emotions/behavior triangle is really at play in our everyday lives, and thus, how we can use it to help clients. For example, in my own life now that I know more about CBT, I can use it on a simpler scale for myself during stressful situations. For example, say I have a very long paper due and am beginning to feel very anxious that I will not get it completed in time. My initial appraisal might be: it’s too long, I don’t have enough time to finish, I will get an F and fail out of the program. However, when I take a step back, maybe use some emotion-focused coping to regulate my breathing, and then I can understand how problem-focused coping can help: I can eliminate distractions and get my work done one step at a time, and make a plan to follow through. Once I’m calmer, I can reappraise the situation: while time-consuming and demanding, the task is not impossible. Then I am able to behave accordingly and adaptively, and complete my work before the due date. On a grander scale, I am looking forward to being able to apply these principles to clients’ struggles so that they can internalize the theory as well and apply it to their own lives.


    • Valerie Graveline
      Sep 16, 2021 @ 15:46:40

      Hi Katie,

      I liked your point about how individuals are able to reappraise different situations/events as new information arises, thus influencing their emotional/behavioral reactions to such events. This actually reminded me of a contrasting point brought up by A. Beck in our reading regarding how often, individual’s automatic thoughts continue to occur despite the presence of new information that contradicts these thoughts. Based on Beck’s point, it seems it definitely takes time to teach clients to think of a situation in a different light, and to be open to absorbing new information that contradicts their automatic thoughts considering these thoughts are a reflex.

      Great response overall!!



    • Sergio Rodriguez Pineda
      Sep 17, 2021 @ 20:55:16

      Hey Katie,

      I loved the way you explained some of the strategies from the Cognitive-Behavioral theory in a real life. Specifically with this situation that most of us are going through with graduate school. I consider the hardest part of being a therapist is putting into practice all the theories we learn in class. The first step is planning and you just wrote an excellent example of how real-life scenarios are the best way to learn what’s on the theories. Great post!


  11. Lindsay O'Meara
    Sep 16, 2021 @ 15:22:59

    1. Lazarus’ and Folkman’s conceptualization of cognitive appraisal and coping looks at what situations influence an individual to feel or act, based on the person’s appraisal of what is happening. Cognitive appraisal and coping is similar to CBT in a couple of ways. First, the cognitive appraisal process begins with an event, which leads to a cognitive appraisal, and then a response. This is similar to something happening in the environment, which leads to a thought, which then leads to a behavior. The cognitive appraisal is usually based on experience and leads to primary appraisals. Primary appraisals are similar to cognitive distortions. Problem solving coping is the more effective in the long term. It is important to change the way that we think about things that happen in our environment so that we can lessen stress when events occur.

    2. My initial impressions in my ability to understand and consistently apply the basic principles of CBT as a therapist are positive. I feel as though once I acquire enough knowledge surrounding the clinical practice of CBT, that I will be confident in my ability to use this therapy technique effectively. So far, I do feel as though I have a solid base to work off of, and that I am comfortable with the concepts that I have learned thus far.


  12. Sergio Rodriguez
    Sep 16, 2021 @ 23:05:58

    1) Lazaru’s and Folkman’s establish that cognitive appraisal is a mediator between the event and the response. It is essential to know that appraisal of the situation requires mental activity involving judgment, discrimination, and choice of activity, mainly based on past experience. The process of determining whether a specific encounter with the environment is relevant to well-being, and if so, in what ways, implies a more specific cognitive appraisal procedure to find whether an individual believes he or she has the resources to respond effectively to the challenges of a stressor or change. The appraisal has the primary appraisal, secondary appraisal, and reappraisal. The coping strategy can be Emotion-focused coping – regulating the emotional response to the problem or Problem-focused coping – managing or altering the troubled person-environment relation causing the distress.

    2) When I studied my undergraduate degree in psychology I had the opportunity to do my internship where my internship supervisors were experts in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and evidence-based practice. Additionally, when I came to the United States I had the opportunity to work with children and adolescents using CBT strategies. Therefore, I feel that I have sufficient background to acquire and improve my skills as a therapist in the implementation of evidence-based cognitive-behavioral therapy. I look forward to deepening my knowledge and strengthening my skills.


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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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