The Neoanalytic Perspective

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Transcript The Neoanalytic Perspective

The Cognitive Perspective
Theories of Personality
Chapter 16
May 2, 2002
Class #13
Albert Ellis
(1913- )
Ellis was born in Pittsburgh in 1913 and raised in New York City.
He made the best of a difficult childhood by using his head and
becoming, in his words, "a stubborn and pronounced problemsolver”…
A serious kidney disorder turned his attention from sports to
books, and the strife in his family (his parents were divorced
when he was 12) led him to work at understanding others…
In junior high school Ellis set his sights on becoming the Great
American Novelist
He planned to study accounting in high school and college,
make enough money to retire at 30, and write without the
pressure of financial need
Background Information
The Great Depression put an end to his vision, but he
made it through college in 1934 with a degree in
business administration from the City University of
New York
Ellis devoted most of his spare time to writing short
stories, plays, novels, comic poetry, essays and
nonfiction books
By the time he was 28, he had finished almost two
dozen full-length manuscripts, but had not been able
to get them published
He realized his future did not lie in writing fiction, and
turned exclusively to nonfiction, to promoting what
he called the "sex-family revolution"
Background Information
As he collected more and more materials for a essay called
"The Case for Sexual Liberty," many of his friends began
regarding him as something of an expert on the subject
They often asked for advice, and Ellis discovered that he liked
counseling as well as he did writing
In 1942 he returned to school, entering the clinical-psychology
program at Columbia
He started a part-time private practice in family and sex
counseling soon after he received his master's degree in 1943
He received a doctorate in 1947 also from Columbia
Background Information
In the late 1940s he taught at Rutgers
and New York University, and was the
senior clinical psychologist at the
Northern New Jersey Mental Hygiene
He also became the chief psychologist
at the New Jersey Diagnostic Center
and then at the New Jersey Department
of Institutions and Agencies
Background Information
Ellis initially believed that psychoanalysis was the
deepest and most effective form of therapy
But Ellis' faith in psychoanalysis was rapidly
He discovered that when he saw clients only once a
week or even every other week, they progressed as
well as when he saw them daily
He took a more active role, interjecting advice and
direct interpretations as he did when he was
counseling people with family or sex problems
His clients seemed to improve more quickly than
when he used passive psychoanalytic procedures
Rational-Emotive Therapy
By 1955 Ellis had given up psychoanalysis
entirely, and instead was concentrating on
changing people's behavior by confronting
them with their irrational beliefs and
persuading them to adopt rational ones…
Very confrontational style
This role was more to Ellis' taste, for he could
be more honestly himself. "When I became
rational-emotive," he said, "my own
personality processes really began to vibrate"
Attack on Rogers…
Ellis says his goal as a therapist is to “make
mincemeat” out of his client’s illogical ideas
Feels much of Rogers’ ideas are nonsense…
We don’t have to be loved by everybody
We don’t have to be successful or competent at everything
Therapists don’t have to be warm, caring, and have a
reflective acceptance of what the client is saying
Quite to the contrary, it better to challenge their faulty
beliefs – that’s the job of the therapist – that’s what we are
getting paid for…not for “echoing”
Ellis on bringing religion into the mix…
Ellis is a self-proclaimed atheist clinician
Some of his viewpoints:
He feels that extreme religiosity is essentially an emotional
He feels that devoutly religious persons tend to be
“inflexible, closed, intolerant, and unchanging”
The best solution to emotional problems is to be quite
He feels there is no intrinsic connection between religion and
One can be a highly moral atheist or a distinctly immoral religionist
(or vice versa)
Walter Mischel
(1930- )
A native of Vienna, Austria, Mischel moved to
New York as a young boy when his family fled
the Nazis
He earned his bachelor’s degree from New York
University and his master’s degree from the
College of the City of New York
He earned his doctoral degree in psychology in
1956 from The Ohio State University
After graduation, Mischel joined the faculty of the
University of Colorado, and later served a four-year
stint as assistant professor of social relations at
Harvard University
In 1962, he joined the Stanford University faculty,
becoming professor of psychology in 1966 and serving
two terms as department chair
In 1983, he joined Columbia University as professor of
psychology, serving as department chair from 1988 to
Mischel has written seven books,
including a textbook, Introduction to
Personality, now in its fifth edition
He has received numerous awards,
including the American Psychological
Association (APA) Distinguished
Scientific Contribution Award and the
APA Distinguished Scientist Award
Mischel who grew up down the street
from Freud initially was an advocate of
Became discouraged when these
techniques failed to be effective when
applied to juvenile defenders on NYC’s
Lower East Side
Mischel began his work with a criticism of
traditional personality theories…
The psychodynamic theories presumed a
maladaptive childhood…
Trait theories assumed a relatively stable
underlying personality structure…
Both theories tried to "tap into" the
presumably enduring, stable trait which
would enable the clinician to predict future
behavior with relative accuracy
Mischel doesn’t buy into this – feels there is more
What about environmental conditions?
Most all theorists recognized that there were large
behavioral variations among individuals, Mischel
emphasized the wide variations within individuals
He called this concept "behavior specificity"
For Mischel this term meant that an individual's behavior is
determined by the specific situation in which he or she finds
He stated further that the individual will behave in similar
ways only to the same extent that the circumstances lead to
similar goals or consequences
Patients know themselves better than their
psychologists do???
Well that’s what Mischel thought…
People can predict their own behavior and
explain what's wrong more often than their
Maybe, Mischel and Rogers should have gotten
He felt however, that people often believe they
and others have cross-situational consistency
when in fact they do not
Interaction point of view…
Mischel felt there was an interplay
between the internal entities of the
person and social situations
The person and the situation point of
Felt that the personal cognitive/affective
factors were constantly interacting with the
situational things
Cognitive Social Learning Theory
Mischel felt that personal factors such as
memories of previous experiences determined
what skills, strategies, and affects were being
used to produce behavior
Mischel’s theory predicts that the history of
rewards and punishments experienced in a
given situation and the resultant skills, etc.
developed in that situation will determine
one’s present behavior
Aaron T. Beck
(1921- )
One of the most famous scholars in the field of
cognitive psychology is Aaron T. Beck
He formulated the cognitive theory of depression and the subsequent
psychotherapy based on it
His cognitive theory characterizes all
The theory proposes that depressogenic schemas (dysfunctional
attitudes) develop early in certain people's lives
However, these schemas lay latent until negative life events activate
Beck’s Background
Aaron Beck was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on July 18, 1921.
He graduated from Brown University in 1942 and attended Yale University,
where he earned his Ph.D. in psychiatry in 1946
He became interested in psychoanalysis and cognition during his residency
in neurology
Beck served as Assistant Chief of Neuropsychology at Valley Forge Hospital
during the Korean War
He graduated from the Philadelphia Psychoanalytic Institute in 1956
After graduation, he launched into a research program to validate
psychoanalytic theories
However, after his research did not support his hypotheses, he rejected the
psychoanalytic approach and began to develop a cognitive therapy for
Beck’s Cognitive Distortion Model of
Depression (1967)
Before activation by specific experiences, they do not
directly influence mood or cognition, nor are they
accessible to people's awareness
However, after they develop, the presence of these
excessively rigid and inappropriately negative schemas
contribute to people's cognitive predisposition, making them
more vulnerable to depression
The schemas prompt people to have negative thoughts
about themselves, the world, and the future, thoughts that
distort their conscious thinking and behavior
Beck’s Cognitive Distortion Model of Depression
Beck theorized:
That depressed individuals have distorted
negative thoughts about themselves and
the present situation they are in
That depressed individuals have negative
thoughts about their future
Beck’s Cognitive Distortion Model of Depression
Negative thinking is also where the
concept with which cognitive therapy of
depression began in the work of Beck
and Ellis
They felt that negative thoughts nearly
always contain gross distortions
Other researchers disagree…
Alloy and Abramson (1988)
Suggest that depressives are more accurate in
their assessments of the facts concerning their
lives than are non-depressives, who tend to have
an optimistic bias
Non-depressed individuals may overestimate the
amount of control they have in situations
There is much evidence that increased attention to
yourself, in contrast to increased attention to the
people, objects, and events around you, is
generally associated with more signs of depressed
Non-depressed people paint
too rosy a picture of real-life?
Seems to suggest that we fool ourselves
into being happy
Unrealistic Optimism
Weinstein (1980)
People tend to think that they are invulnerable
They expect others to be victims of misfortune, not
Such ideas imply not merely a hopeful outlook on life, but an
error in judgment that can be be labeled unrealistic optimism
People believe that negative events are less likely to happen
to them than to others, and they believe that positive events
are more likely to happen to them than to others
Weinstein (1983)
The tendency for people to claim that their chances of
suffering from various problems are less than the chances of
others around them
Weinstein & Klein (1996)
Probably the biggest gap in research on this topic is
the absence of information about the behavioral
implications of optimistic biases
Do optimistic biases really result in unnecessary harm?
Are they ever beneficial?
Positive Illusions?
It has long been assumed that the mark
of a mentally healthy individual is the
ability to be in touch with reality
In other words, a well-adjusted person
is someone who views herself and the
world around her with great accuracy
Taylor and Brown (1988)
Challenged this widely held tenet of psychology by
proposing that positive illusions and not accuracy in
viewing reality is essential for mental health
These researchers suggested positive illusions, which
they define as “unrealistically positive selfevaluations, exaggerated perceptions of control, and
unrealistic optimism”, are both pervasive and
enduring in well-adjusted individuals
They supported their claim that most individuals hold
unrealistic positive illusions by citing research that
found the majority of individuals see themselves as
better than average and better than others see them
Final Words…
Mischel and Beck put a lot of weight on the
social aspects involved in cognition
It seems situational effects can cause faulty thinking
Negative schemas
Affect is involved in both theories but seems
to be emphasized more in Mischel’s
Both theories may contain a bit of the old
psychoanalytic stuff but they have added
much to it…
Clearly moving away from it
Slides 26 and 27 prepared by