Contributions that cognitive theory made


One of the contributions that the cognitive current made to the field of psychology between the 60s of the last century revealed the relevance of the internal role of the individual as an essential element in the regulation of behavior.

Thus, it began to be considered that how a person perceives, processes, interprets, stores and retrieves information becomes fundamental phenomena that guide their own behavior towards the achievement of particular objectives and goals.

From these considerations arose, among other things, what we now know as the self-instructions used in the context of applied psychology.

The cognitive approach in psychology

When considering the component of cognition as an active agent of the individual's behavioral response, the development of various models, theories and techniques of psychological intervention began as opposed to the behavioral approach, which held that behavior was modified only on the basis of factors environmental and external.

Among these more novel postulates, several should be highlighted. On the one hand, Albert Bandura's theory of Social Learning, which has had a very significant importance in the application of cognitive-behavioral psychological interventions aimed at Social Skills Training.

Secondly, Albert Ellis' Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory also stands out, a type of intervention focused on addressing irrational beliefs that has been shown to be effective in therapies for depression or anxiety.

Third, we find Aaron Beck's Cognitive Therapy, a therapy that works on cognitive distortions, automatic thoughts; or, more specifically, the technique proposed by D'Zurilla and Goldfried of Problem Solving in which a series of phases are proposed to effectively face decision-making.

Finally, the foundations of Donald Meichembaum's Self-training Training are also noteworthy, defending the usefulness of adopting an internal discourse and a type of effective self-verbalization in order to facilitate the coping of possible adverse or complicated personal situations. On this last strategy, a series of specific guidelines are offered below to apply this type of psychological resource in a practical way.

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Cognition as a regulating factor of behavior

Observe aspects such as what goes through the person's mind before a certain situation or experience, the level of awareness of their beliefs, the type of reasoning they carry out, the conclusions and ideas they generate in this regard ... all this allows determining more precisely the type of messages or internal discourse that it implements to control its own actions.

All this remarkably affects the emotional experience and modulates in a large proportion the capacity for effective psychological management, since phenomena such as nuclear beliefs and personal schemes, expectations, the cognitive assessment of personal events, decision-making in resolution of conflicts, the factors to which the individual attributes the occurrence of the situations he experiences ... can lead to significant emotional distress if they are not elaborated in a functional and adaptive way.

How to apply the technique of self-instructions?

In the same way that occurs when taking practical driving classes in which the teacher gives instructions on the steps to follow to drive the vehicle, when you have a novel or difficult situation to handle, the clear instructions that the Perceived person are very useful to deal with such a situation in a more competent way and, therefore, to achieve an adequate level in managing the emotions of discomfort that such an event can cause.

In the application of the technique in the field of cognitive behavioral psychological therapy, it is the professional who guides the patient first in identifying the kind of internal discourse that the latter usually uses, as well as in detecting messages that interfere negatively. blocking the execution of the behavior and favoring unpleasant emotional responses ("you do everything wrong" or "you are useless") and, finally, in the internalization of other types of messages that enhance personal self-confidence ("if I am wrong, I can learn from it "or" when I am calmer I can express myself more clearly ").

When we reason about a problem, we tend to use a simple and useful outline most of the time. This way of thinking is what is known as linear thinking.

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