Cognitive Interventions

Essay by tholtmotaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, August 2006

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Cognitive Interventions: Positive Reinforcement


Cognitive therapy emphasizes strategies which include logic and reason (Parrott, 2003, p. 302). Cognitive therapists use various types of techniques in counseling. According to Parrott, these include behavioral assessment, positive reinforcement, token economies, assertiveness training, modeling, relaxation training, systematic desensitization, and flooding. Therapists may employ one or more of the techniques when working with clients. Diverse processes are applied depending upon the client and types of issues presented.

The focus of this paper will draw upon the use and application of positive reinforcement. Discussion will incorporate the history, background, techniques, and therapeutic goals of positive reinforcement as well as the application of positive reinforcement in two simulated cases. These cases will include an elderly stroke patient who is fearful of therapy and a teenage client who is working on anger management issues. Both simulations will demonstrate the appliance of positive reinforcement in a step-by-step manner that stresses the need for reason and logic.

History and Background

Historically, positive reinforcement was developed by efforts of cognitive therapists and philosophers. Its roots can be traced back to ancient Greek philosophy, Stoicism. "Stoicism is essentially a system of ethics which, however, is guided by logic as theory of method, and rests upon physics as foundation" (Stoicism, 2006). Stoicism is concerned with how we as human understand the events in our lives. Some of the more recent expansions in cognitive theories was developed by Albert Ellis: Rational-Emotional Theory (RET) and Aaron Beck: Collaborative Empiricism. Albert Ellis believed that man was responsible for his emotions and actions. Under Ellis's theory, illogical thoughts or maladaptive behaviors are the product of the mind needed to learn a new way or perspective. Aaron Beck's theory of Collaborative Empiricism supports the idea that "the way people feel and behavior is determined by how...