Unipolar depression - Beck's model of depression - description and evaluation


/beck’s model of depression

According to Beck's’ model of depression, depression is a result of patterns of negative thinking. There are 3 aspects to Beck’s cognitive model of depression; the cognitive triad; the individual’s cognitive errors; the schemata.

The first part of Beck’s cognitive model of depression is the cognitive triad, which suggests that there are three areas where negative automatic thoughts occur. The thoughts consist of negative views of the self, which involves feeling inadequate and self-critical; negative views of the world which involve feeling defeated or deprived and it creates cognitive biases; negative views of the future means that depression sufferers will have a bleak and defeating outlook on the future and believe that their suffering will continue.

Cognitive errors mean that an individual gives selective attention to the negative side of a situation, and always ignore the positive aspects. Beck described this as the faulty thought patterns, as the negative outweighs the positive even in the positive situations.

The cognitive errors such as selective abstraction change perception and trigger anxiety and negative emotions, which in turn trigger behaviour consistent with the symptoms of depression e.g. social withdrawal, helplessness.

Schemata are mental frameworks built up through experiences of the world and involve developing positive and negative beliefs and attitudes to interpret the world.

A generalised negative belief pattern makes someone vulnerable to depression. A new situation is interpreted through the use of a person’s relevant existing schemata, including self-schemata.

For example, if someone is regularly criticised by their parents, they are going to develop a negative set of belief about themselves.

There are 2 types of schemata that operate in depression  - negative interpersonal schema and depressogenic schema.



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