The clinical applications of the cognitive information-processing model
have been very significant. Examples:
1. Beck’s therapeutic approach: Aaron Beck a former disillusioned
psychoanalyst developed a cognitive approach therapy. His work uses the
idea of cognitive restructuring or reframing. His therapy is best known
for treatment of depression. In Beck’s view, people need to put aside
their faulty schemas and to build new ones. They need to cast aside
their self-defeating, negative thoughts and substitute positive
self-talk i.e. cognitive restructuring or reframing. They should also
focus on information in the present situations rather than rely on their
preconceptions. He used the term cognitive triad to refer to negative
thinking about three important aspects of life = the self, the world and
Clients may be asked to write down their negative thoughts as follows:
1. Briefly describe an upsetting situation
2. Identify the emotions associated with it.
3. List the corresponding automatic thoughts.
4. Provide rational responses to the dysfunctional ideation.
(Bedrosian & Beck, 1980, p. 142)
Or a refinement of this, called reattribution training, aims to correct
negative attributional styles (A.T. Beck, Rush, Shaw, et al., 1979).
Patients are taught to explain their difficulties to themselves in more
constructive ways e.g. “It wasn’t my fault it was the circumstances”;
“It’s not my whole personality that’s messed up it’s just that I’m no
good with strangers”.
There are several other therapeutic techniques within the cognitive
framework and many have been found to help people move toward more
One of the leading theorists in this area is Fred Kanfer (Kanfer &
Busmeyer, 1982; Kanfer & Schefft, 1988). Kanfer (believes that much
human behaviour isn’t well-monitored, rather it occurs automatically in
response to certain cues. Therapy is partly an effort to break down this
automaticity. The person needs to think about things more and monitor
what’s going on in any given situation. Obviously it would be a problem
to monitor our behaviour for the rest of our lives so the idea is to
make the “new and better” responses, the automatic ones.
Kanfer believes that the way to get these new and better automatic
responses is to create different schemas and that this can be done
through things such as role-playing, and imagery.
The cognitive self-regulation perspective views therapy as a dynamic
feedback system with a hierarchy of goals. People in therapy are taught
to use feedback from decisions they’ve put into practice to make further
decisions and then monitor the effects of behaviour change. The aim is
to make the client a better problem-solver.