MCC 670 – Cognitive Models

“Cognitive hypotheses can be applied with every client because the content and process of thought is an element in all problems and solutions” (Ingram, 2012, p. 191). This hypothesis is based on psychodynamic, humanistic, existential, and CBT models.

Metacognitive Model (C1)

Metacognition refers to thinking about thinking. In other words, you are focusing on your thoughts and feelings without identifying or reacting to them. Critical thinking is the ability to evaluate thinking and requires the following skills:

  1. Able to separate self from thoughts
  2. Not give power or control to thoughts
  3. Evaluate one’s thinking in terms of goals
  4. Taking the role of executive over one’s thoughts.
  5. Non reactivity to inner experience

is this hypothesis a match?

This hypothesis is useful in achieving emotional regulation, achieving goals, & harmonious relationships. It is useful for OCC, PTSD, depression or substance use.

treatment planning

Step one involves psychoeducation of the fundamental nature of metacognitive beliefs. Homework assignments that allow us to apply this skill and engage in self-monitoring of our thoughts. Ingram, (2012) also mentions clarifying questions as useful to understand her thinking. Ongoing efforts to build metacognitive skills and practice mindfulness & acceptance activities are also discussed by Ingram, (2012).

Limitations of Cognitive Map (C2)


This hypothesis is useful when a “person’s cognitive map (e.g. beliefs, schemas and narratives) are causing problems or preventing solutions” (Ingram, 2012). Maladaptive belief systems act like “self-fulfilling prophecies that need to be identified, evaluated, and challenge” (Ingram. 2012).

key concepts

cognitive map

“deep structures of thinking, such as schemas, rules, or cultural worldviews. They provide meaning and purpose, a rulebook for how to behave the world” (Ingram, 2011, p. 195).

limiting narratives

“a cognitive map that is extended through time” (Ingram. 2012, p. 292). We all tend to arrange life experiences sequentially and create story around these experiences for sense of continuity and meaning. We can address them by understanding simply that our stories define our life.


“Adler used the term lifestyle for “the convictions individuals develop early in life to help them organize experience, to understand it, to predict it, and to control it” (Ingram, 2012, p. 198).

ABC Model

[A] Event -> [B] Thinking -> [C] Feelings
[A] Event -> [B] Causes -> [C] Feelings

Deficiencies of cognitive processing (C3)

overview & key concepts

“the client demonstrates Deficiencies in Cognitive Processing, poor reality testing, and an inflexible cognitive style” (Ingram, 2012) This hypothesis is useful with depression, anxiety disorders, or psychosis, as an example.

information processing

Ingram, (2012), discusses information processing and describes concepts of input, processing, and output. Input consists of how we intake information. (i.e. Attentional mechanisms). Processing consists of how we imbue this data with meaning (i.e. Perception). Output consists of our behavioral response.

Beck’s Errors in Thinking

  1. Overgeneralization – (always or never)
  2. Personalization (assumption that external events r/t you)
  3. All-or-Nothing Thinking – Polarizing thoughts black/white
  4. Arbitrary inference – Jumping to conclusion.
  5. Mind Reading – Assuming you know what others are thinking
  6. Emotional Reasoning – thinking with feeling

blocks to listening

Ingram, (2012), discusses filtering, dreaming, prejudging, and rehearsing and identifying. The MBTI describes cognitive styles & the MMPI describes defensive styles.

treatment planning

Ingram, (2012), discusses the concepts of Socratic dialogue, collaborative empiricism, confrontation, CBT, and homework assignments….

Dysfunctional self-talk (C4)

overview & key concepts

DYSFUNCTIONAL SELF-TALK (C4) – The problem is triggered and/or maintained by Dysfunctional Self-Talk, (i.e. automatic thoughts, internal tapes, or interior monologue). Sample problem areas can include anxiety, depression, impulsive behavior, healthy eating, substance abuse (Ingram, 2012).

treatment planning

It starts with promoting self awareness and gaining an understanding of our thoughts and belief systems. Deciding to change and enacting a plan to make it happen are final steps.


Ingram, B.L. (2012). Clinical Case Formulations: Matching the Integrative Treatment ​Plan to the Client. (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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