Beck’s approach was called reconstructive therapy, and he believed negative thoughts often begin from childhood, and developed the cognitive triad (negative self-schema, negative thoughts about the present and negative thoughts about the future). A negative opinion of themselves (self-schema) could be due to rejection or criticism from parents/peers or any tragic events. These negative thoughts are reactivated when a situation arises similar to one previously that made them feel negative about themselves. For example, a person who was bullied as a child gets bullied in the workplace, reactivating old memories and making them depressed. Beck also said this happens automatically; there is no conscious decision to change thought patterns into negative ones. It causes individuals to misperceive reality and make errors in thinking.
Errors in thinking include over-generalisation, where you come to a sweeping conclusion on only a single event, e.g. “I must be stupid because I did badly in class today”. Personalisation is another error in thinking, and this is where an individual assumes responsibility for bad events in the world, e.g. “It’s my fault everyone has the flu”. Magnification and minimisation are the other errors in thinking, and this is where you make a big deal over a small amount of bad events and make nothing of good events, e.g. a man loses £5 and gets very angry and upset but finds £20 later on and feels nothing. CBT challenges negative thinking by using counselling methods involving the individual providing evidence for their reasoning that they are ‘worthless’ or ‘nobody loves them’. This is called hypothesis