Cognitive Restructuring Essay Discussion Paper
David, a highly successful computer programmer, is a thirty-four-year-old bachelor with very limited dating experience. He would like to find a girlfriend but is afraid to approach women because he fears they will think of him negatively and probably ridicule him for his lack of dating experience. Also, he feels self-conscious because he sees himself as overweight and has a receding hairline. a) Referring to the above case study, specify David’s behavior that you are aiming to change and create a definition of the target behavior. (4 Marks) b) By using cognitive behavior modification procedures, demonstrate THREE (3) steps that are involved in cognitive restructuring for David. (6 Marks) Cognitive Restructuring Essay Discussion Paper
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a) The behaviour that we are aiming to change in David is his avoidance behaviour towards approaching women due to his fear of rejection and negative evaluations. The target behaviour is to increase his frequency of approaching and engaging in conversations with women.
Target behaviour: Increase David’s frequency of approaching and engaging in conversations with women.
b) Cognitive restructuring is a process that aims to identify and change negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to undesirable behaviour. Here are three steps involved in cognitive restructuring for David: Cognitive Restructuring Essay Discussion Paper
Step 1: Identify and Challenge Negative Thoughts
David has negative thoughts that contribute to his avoidance behaviour. For example, he believes that women will ridicule him for his lack of dating experience and physical appearance. Cognitive restructuring involves identifying these negative thoughts and challenging them with evidence that contradicts them. For instance, David can challenge his belief by recognizing that most women are not judgmental and may find his sincerity and confidence attractive.
Step 2: Replace Negative Thoughts with Positive Ones
Once negative thoughts are identified and challenged, David can replace them with positive ones. For example, instead of focusing on his weight or a receding hairline, David can focus on his strengths and qualities that make him a great catch. He can tell himself positive affirmations such as “I am confident, charming, and deserving of love.”
Step 3: Practice and Reinforce Positive Thoughts and Behaviors
To make the change sustainable, David needs to practice his positive thoughts and behaviours. He can start by taking small steps, such as initiating small talk with female coworkers or acquaintances. Every time he engages in a conversation, he can remind himself of his positive qualities and focus on building connections. He can also reinforce his positive behaviours by rewarding himself for every successful interaction, such as treating himself to a favourite meal or activity.
By using cognitive restructuring, David can change his negative thoughts and behaviours towards approaching women and increase his chances of finding a girlfriend. Cognitive Restructuring Essay Discussion Paper