Thoughts about Cognitive Behavior Management Theory

Theory of Cause (Fundamental Assumption): the basic assumption that can neither be proved nor disproved upon which all decisions are made about a body of knowledge.

Theory of Change: the manner in which the intervention connects to the fundamental assumption to reach outcome expectations.

Thoughts emotion behavior

Objective [logical] conception subjective [value] conception overt behavior

Value is measured on the standard of utility – pleasure/pain

Logical is measure on the theory of meaning of the individual person

Sensation perception conception

Sensations are biological qualia that impact the brain

vision = color, movement, brightness, etc.

audio = tone, beat, pitch, etc.

touch = rough, smooth, hot, cold, etc.

smell = stink, acrid, ‘lemony’ etc.

taste = sweet, sour, salt, bitter

Affect = the innate impact of sensations










Emotions = are the cognitive interpretation or conceptualizations of the sensations and affect – they are therefore always biographical since the individual must review his/her memory to make a decision. Note that affect is often represented as a range – this allows room for the individual to define his/her own degree of emotion.

Feeling is used to express sensation, affect and emotion and therefore is a very imprecise word.

Thoughts are mental representations of concepts and percepts. We usually think of thought in terms of words, however a word is not a ‘thought’ as ‘spring’ would indicate. However, many thoughts may be expressed in words. However, we also have thoughts about intuitions, hunches, visceral or ‘gut’ feelings as well.

Quirk is used to indicate a specific type of thought – e.g., the ineffable thought that cannot be put into words. Thought is the broader generalization and includes quirks.

Thought thinking = Thought is what you have – thinking is what you do.

Belief is a thought that is invested with value [positive or negative] through the use of emotional spin. Beliefs are what is important to the individual.

Mental architecture [structure] = is the cache of thoughts that are contained by any one individual. Such thoughts are generally thought to be stored in hierarchal order in the brain. Recent evidence suggests that they may be stored holistically – meaning that any fragment contains the whole. It is not really what part of the brain that is cut out, but how much is cut out that affects our memory.

Schema – schemata = the ‘strange attractors’ that draw together all of the thoughts connected to a single domain. Usually use the restaurant domain as example. This and many others are conventional schemata. Of primary concern to the helping profession are the personal schemata of self, others and expectations. It is these thoughts and thinking that are the core beliefs that affect our ability to get along in the world.

Inner Logic = is the sum total of the thoughts in the mental architecture that provides the basis for the automatic thinking that goes on constantly = deciding on the cause of an experience, its effect, impact or implications, and the decision of what to do about it. The inner logic forms the individual’s worldview or reality. The inner logic not only interprets all experiences from the individual’s idiosyncratic frame of reference, but also directs the person to what is to be attended to. Thus, two people may, at least theoretically, have exactly the same experience, but have two very different beliefs about the cause, effect and disposition that should occur.

Automatic or reflex thoughts and self-talk = The person has two brain centers and two nervous systems. The right brain is connected with the autonomic nervous system and inhabits the realm of quirks. Any overlearned activity becomes habituated – nonconscious and automatic. Self-talk is the window to the inner logic, since the person will tend to articulate these thoughts out loud at time of stress. Automatic thoughts are concerned with comparing experiences to determine cause, effect and dispositions. Since they are automatic, the person has little or no awareness of them. Automatic thoughts usually have the following characteristics:

• They often appear in shorthand.

• They are almost always believed.

• They are experienced as spontaneous.

• They are often couched in terms of should, ought or must.

• They tend to predict catastrophe, see danger and expect the worst.

• They are relatively idiosyncratic.

• They are persistent and self-perpetuating.

• They often differ from public statements.

• They repeat habitual themes.

• They are learned.

Consciousness = Like the reflex actions of breathing and blinking, we can bring these automatic activities into consciousness for short periods of time. Nonconscious processing is highly efficient but cannot be well monitored – if you learned something in error, the error may continue to occur, but be unnoticed. Conscious processing is slow and cumbersome, but easily monitored and changed. There is reason to believe that consciousness can be used to ‘debug’ automatic or reflex activities.

Interpersonal Cognitive Cycle Model: This is a model that starts with a person [for example: teacher] offering an experience to a student. The student then mediates that experience seeking out the cause, effect and disposition – based on his or her inner logic [all the while thinking automatic thoughts] – then the student responds. This response becomes an event for the teacher who seeks out the cause, effect and disposition [all the while thinking automatic thoughts based upon his or her inner logic] and then responds, which becomes an event for the student. This ‘intimate dance’ continues until one or the other ends the cycle. What is critical to understand about the model is that the teacher and the student both have their own idiosyncratic inner logic and emotional history through which they each experience the cycle. Major discrepancies of conception can occur and if this leads to a significant emotional spin, this can cause the other person to respond in fear/anger – which is likely to evoke a similar response from the other.

Professional Schema: The teacher or clinician cannot interact with a student/client from a personal schema set. Regardless of the child manager’s personal schema, s/he must respond from a conventional schema that has been specifically designed to deal with difficult interpersonal cognitive cycles. Several rituals have been designed which epitomize the desired professional schema [e.g., Interpersonal Cognitive Problem Solving, Life Space Crisis Intervention, Good Choice/Bad Choice]

Mindfulness: Trying to observe your own behavior as if you were observing the behavior of another. Mindfulness is the ability to attend to one’s own automatic thoughts and to adjust those thoughts either for purposes of professional performance or to diminish stress.

Acceptance: The process of reducing emotional content. If one accepts fear and ignores the need to act on this construct, then one is able to accept fear as an object outside of oneself. In mindfulness, one notes the mental state but accepts it as an object without further meaning.