Posted in Blog

Conceptual and Historical Paradigms in Psychology: A Critical Analysis

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychology is concerned with a variety of internal processes such as attention, perception, memory, learning, problem solving, language, thinking and reasoning. Obviously, these processes are not directly observable. Cognitive psychologists aim to understand them by observing the performance of people in various tasks – by observing their behaviour.

The most common analogy to describe early cognitive psychologists’ views was the comparison of the human mind with a computer. Both have a hardware – a series of permanent structures where information is processed or transformed – and a software, or the instructions that guide the functioning of the hardware. Basically, when a stimulus is presented to the system, it causes certain internal cognitive processes to occur, until the system produces the desired response or output. This view, known as the information processing approach, was very popular in the 1970s.

It was argued that the process was fundamentally affected by the stimulus input in what is often described as bottom-up processing, and that only one process could occur at any given moment in time – this is known as serial processing. But soon it was evident that task processing often involves top-down processing: the way our mind operates in the presence of a stimulus is strongly influenced by our knowledge and expectations. Read what it says on the screen: you will have no difficulty to identify the word, even when some ‘E’s have been replaced by 3s. Also, it soon became evident that, at least in some circumstances like when we perform a highly practiced task, our internal processes do not operate serially or one at a time, but in parallel. If you have a driving license, you may remember how at the beginning you had to think carefully one step after the other, whereas after a time you find yourself pressing the clutch, changing the gear and observing the mirror at the same time.

The accumulation of theories and research findings, but also the enormous technological and medical advances in past decades, have had an impact on cognitive psychology. Nowadays, we can differentiate at least four main approaches to human cognition:

  •       Cognitive psychology can now be defined in a more restrictive manner as the scientific approach to the understanding of human cognition by the use of behavioural science.
  •       Cognitive neuroscience involves using evidence from behaviour, but also of the human brain, to understand our cognition.
  •       Cognitive neuropsychology involves studying brain-damaged patients to gain an understanding of normal human cognition.
  • Computational cognitive science focuses on the development of computational models of our behaviour and mental functioning to improve our understanding of human cognition.

But just like psychoanalytic therapy derived from psychoanalysis, and behaviourist principles were applied to behavioural therapy, cognitive therapies are the therapeutic correlates of cognitive psychology – although rather loosely.

Cognitive therapy is an active approach where the therapist adopts a very directive role through a small number of strongly structured sessions.

Cognitive therapies focus on cognition – beliefs, attributions, expectancies – and on the mediating role that cognitions play between the events in our life and our reactions to them. Their therapeutic approach is based on the principle that, as erroneous or inadequate cognitions are at the base of psychological distress, behavioural change can be achieved by modifying the underlying cognitions.

There are several different cognitive therapies, however two of the most popular approaches are: Albert Ellis’ rational emotive behavior therapy, and Beck’s cognitive behavioural therapy.

Albert Ellis developed rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) in 1955.

Albert Ellis

REBT is based on the premise that our reactions to the events taking place in our lives are mediated by the beliefs that we hold. To illustrate this, Ellis replaced the behaviourist SR (stimulus-response) format by an ABC format in which:

A. Something happens.

B. You have a belief about the situation.

C. You have an emotional reaction to the belief.

For example:

A. Your discussion question does not receive any follow-on post from your classmates

B. You believe they don’t reply because ‘I am not good at expressing things, and that is not going to change’.

C. You feel depressed.

The goal of REBT is to help people change their irrational beliefs into rational beliefs. This is achieved by the therapist challenging the client’s irrational beliefs with questions such as:

Do you think you are the only one who is not good at expressing things?

Is not having follow-on posts such a terrible thing?

Just because you want something, why must you have it?

Where with different beliefs, your emotional response might be different:

A.  Your discussion question does not receive any follow-on post from your classmates.

B.  You believe they don’t reply because the topic of your post was ‘not interesting’.

C.   You feel motivated to do better next time.

Also, on the premise that emotionally healthy human beings develop an acceptance of reality, even when reality is highly unpleasant, REBT therapists help their clients develop unconditional self-acceptance, other- acceptance and life-acceptance.

The third big name in cognitive therapy, Aaron Beck presented his approach to the treatment of depression in 1967, and in the following decades he and his followers extended their approach to other emotional disorders.

Beck’s cognitive therapy also argues that sustained erroneous thoughts are at the root of many psychological disorders, but he proposes a different methodological approach to these erroneous thought and to their change.

According to Beck, we all possess a variety of beliefs about the world, others and ourselves, often learned through interactions with the world and with others during our childhood. Those beliefs may be central (such as ‘I am less intelligent than the others‘) or intermediate, in the form of attitudes and assumptions (such as ‘being less intelligent than the others is terrible‘).

People tend to selectively focus on the information that confirms their beliefs, rejecting or not considering information that contradicts them. Beliefs are therefore maintained even when they are inexact and dysfunctional. They can be activated by different life events in the form of automatic irrational thoughts, which affect the person’s emotions and behaviour.

Depressed Man

Beck summarises irrational thoughts in a number of categories or inferences, including amongst others:

  • Dichotomous or ‘all or nothing’ thought: ‘Either I am perfect or I am horrendous’.
  • Magnification of the negative and minimisation of the positive:

‘I didn’t get the mark that I expected, therefore I will never be able to succeed in this subject’ or ‘I got a distinction, but only because the assignment was very easy’.

  • Overgeneralisations: I didn’t feel comfortable in the meeting, which means that I am not good at making friends’.
  • Personalisation, or tendency to think that everything others say or think is related to you: The teacher didn’t smile to me this morning, I must have done something wrong’.
  • Mind reading, or believing that you know what the others are thinking: ‘He is thinking that I cannot complete the task’.

The first step in Beck’s cognitive therapy is to identify the client’s automatic beliefs and to dispute them with questions such as:

What is the evidence for and against this idea?

What is the worst scenario here?

Could you resist it?

What is the most probable and realistic outcome?

Once the client is conscious that their thoughts are irrational, they are invited to replace them with alternative rational thoughts, through guided exercises complemented with behavioural experiments and other cognitive and behavioural techniques. These may include training in social skills, problem-solving, relaxation, systematic desensitisation, psychodrama or role playing, amongst others.

 

Copyright—Laureate Online Education © All rights reserved, 2000-2016. The Module, in all its parts—syllabus, guidelines, technical notes, images and any additional material—is copyrighted by Laureate Online Education B. V. Last update: 20 December 2016
Image: ‘Noam Chomsky’ by John Soares, uploaded to Commons by Stevertigo, then modified by Verdy p. (This version was initially uploaded by Stevertigo.) [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons
Image: ‘Albert Ellis’ Permission granted by the Albert Ellis Institute
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Born Equal

This short film here, explains how all men and women were not born equal – especially if you are a person of colour. 

This was filmed in the borough of Southwark, in London, very close to where I grew up as a teenager. What Siana describes has been happening for years and will continue to happen until all people of colour are exterminated from London. 

Because that is what gentrification is. 

A posh term for extermination. 

Denim, by Siana Bangura. 

You can also read an article about the short here:
https://blackballad.co.uk/views-voices/black-women-surviving-gentrification-in-london?listIds=590867cea8c0bab2039c3ac5&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_content=timeline

Posted in Blog

Dear White People, stop quoting Martin Luther King Jnr at me please!

Dear White People,

Did you know that Martin Luther King Jnr wasn’t the only Black activist?

Shock

Every time I get into a debate about racism with a white person, they throw a King quote at me, so I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce white people to some other Black activists and some other quotes, which you might like to use in a debate with me, should you choose to:

quote-you-re-either-part-of-the-solution-or-you-re-part-of-the-problem-eldridge-cleaver-5-79-54

Leroy Eldridge Cleaver (August 31, 1935 – May 1, 1998)

Black Panther Party Leader. 

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Nina Simone February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003)

American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and activist in the Civil Rights Movement

 

Angela Davis

Angela Yvonne Davis (born January 26, 1944)

American political activist, academic, and author.

quote-the-basic-tenet-of-black-consciousness-is-that-the-black-man-must-reject-all-value-systems-that-steve-biko-211099

Bantu Stephen Biko (18 December 1946 – 12 September 1977)

South African anti-apartheid activist.

James Baldwin

James Arthur “Jimmy” Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987)

American writer and social critic (and my FAVE) 

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assata-shakur-686929

Assata Olugbala Shakur (born JoAnne Deborah Byron; July 16, 1947, often referred to by her married surname Chesimard), is a former member of the Black Liberation Army, a black nationalist urban guerrilla group, who was WRONGFULLY convicted in 1977 of the first-degree murder, under New Jersey’s “aiding and abetting” statute, of State Trooper Werner Foerster during a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1973. She escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba, where she was granted political asylum.

Malcolm X

Malcolm X (1925–1965)

African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist.

As you can see, ALL of these quotes advocate peace, therefore you now have no excuse to only know King’s name as the only “Black Peacemaker”. I also know that there are two sides to every coin – as in, some of these people have quoted non-peaceful words. However, you stalked, beat, jailed and assassinated the one black peacemaker you white people keep throwing in our face. So….. what’s your point?

Feel free to steal some of these quotes for a debate. I’d personally love to hear some of them myself.

XOXO

Posted in Blog

Charlottesville: White Christian Ignorance

Quick rant.

I just stumbled upon a blog post by a person who used the analogy of their eating disorder to compare the compelling evil of Satan to the evil we witnessed in Charlottesville over the weekend. According to the blogger, the power of Satan is compelling people to lie and commit acts of evil. The blogger used the example of their eating disorder as an example.

To say that I am speechless is an understatement.

The person who wrote this, follows my blog and is therefore going to see this for which I am not going to apologise. (Before I proceed however, I’ve had a severe eating disorder myself and I’m not denying its evil hold, so I can empathise with the struggle.)

My mother used to always say that we give the devil too much credit, and for once I am going to agree with her. What we witnessed over the weekend was terrorism:

the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

So this is how the events on Saturday unfolded…

According to an article in the Guardian, Virginia has one of the most relaxed sets of laws in the US. Alt Right groups came from different states, having chosen their territory, like a sniper marks its target. These terrorists came with guns, pepper spray, eggs, clubs, vehicles.

They came to kill. 

Speakers, such as the white nationalist Richard Spencer, had planned to address the Unite the Right crowds descending on a public park to defend a statue honoring the Confederate general Robert Lee, which is set to be removed by the Charlottesville authorities. It was the largest event in recent times organized by emboldened far-right racist extremists.

But the police had to cancel the event, due to the tension between the two opposing sides, which then erupted into violence, when the alt-right attacked the other side with a vehicle and then with the rest of their weapons.

That’s not satanic possession. That’s terrorism.

People on social media are saying that Antifa and BALM (Black Lives Matter) were just as much to blame for the violence. Firstly: 

Secondly, if I came at you with a club or a knife, what the fuck would you do? Would you just stand there? The left were protesting against the celebration of monuments of slavery, to which the right responded with violent opposition. This was war. The violence came from the alt-right. 

Furthermore, to dismiss these acts as “signs of the end times” (which is also what the blogger referred to the attacks as), is a dismissal of hundreds of years of black suffering, and therefore displaying hundreds of years of white ignorance, which is why this was allowed to happen. White supremacists want to bring America back to a time before colour touched your soils, however America is built upon racism – the blood, sweat and tears of people of colour. Your rivers run with the outpouring of that suffering.

When are you white people going to get it?

Does blaming demons for you past console your white guilt?

Medieval Supremacy

If you would like to read more on the history of White Supremacy in Charlottesville, then I highly recommend this article: Racism, Medievalism, and the White Supremacists of Charlottesville,  (2017) by Josephine Livingstone.

XOXO

Posted in Blog

The ❤️ of Strangers 

I am so overwhelmed by the love of strangers right now. I’m part of this amazing Epilepsy support group on Facebook, and one of the moderators came up with the awesome idea to do a box swap. Anybody who signed up, would receive some details about one person in the group, and would have to make up a box of “goodies” to cheer that person up. 

I received mine today:


I was so overwhelmed by the love of this stranger that I burst into tears!

It’s breathtaking what the kindness of strangers can do ❤️

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Drowning in Whiteness

 

I am angry and heartbroken.

 

Before I became woke I isolated myself from people of colour unintentionally, and now I log onto Facebook, and I am surrounded by white faces who differ in priorities. Yesterday, I spent pretty much the entire day on Twitter, trying to find out as much as possible about what was happening on the other side of the pond, perhaps because as a person of colour what happens in Charlottesville affects me too. I found solace in Twitter, being able to share the experience with other people of colour – especially in the UK.

Owen Jones gave an accurately passionate analysis on Sky News this morning on the alt-right: we shouldn’t be calling them the “alt-right” any longer We should call them for what they are – Nazis, Extremists, Terrorists. He also said that in the US alone, there had been three times as many terrorist attacks by these extremists groups, than by Islamist terrorists, and yet the mainstream media constantly fails to report any of this.

And this isn’t just happening across the Atlantic, let’s be real here – it’s happening here too. We have our own Nazi Extremist Terrorists here. They’re mowing down Muslims outside their mosques; They’re in the police force killing our black children; They’re teaching our children in schools that black is inferior to white, that white children are smarter, therefore stimulating the mental health problems they’ll struggle with for the rest of their lives; They’re sexually assaulting our black women in bars, clubs, and on the streets; They’re out in packs in the suburbs, shouting out abuse at night in the streets, so mothers are standing in their kitchens afraid that their black sons are going to be lynched at night. And the institution allows this all to happen.

These people all know that white supremacy is going to protect them.

This is all happening in Britain TODAY. So as many people of colour on Twitter have been saying, for all of the British people who watch the news with disconnection and think: “ah, well at least we’re not that bad!” 

You are. 

I woke up this morning, and the “Brexiters” who had finally caught up with the news were already in full force, using the anger of Black people as justification for their racism. The police protected the white supremacists in the violence, yet people of colour were vilified for protecting themselves.

I’m losing friends, because until I was woke, I’d unconsciously surrounded myself around white people, and now I’m being told to shut up because I want to speak openly about the persecution of my people.

Shut about about your disability, shut up about your race issues.

These aren’t our problems.

To them, Charlottesville isn’t a priority, because it’s too far away and the victims are too dark. A twelve year old boy was mown down and killed by a Nazi in Charlottesville yesterday, and yet NOBODY on my timeline is hashtagging support or condolences. To me, this only goes to show the depths of institutional racism within our country, and I really do not care if I offend people now, because I am so angry. Really angry. You’re all going about your Sundays, like it’s any other Sunday, when it really isn’t.

Because these aren’t your problems.
(Correction 15/08: Chyna Fox (YouTube & Facebook VLogger) said that a 12 year old was killed in the protest. This has since been proven to be false.)

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15 Habits of people with concealed depression. 

I’ve been so open, yet still so secretive about my depression.
Here, I stumbled upon an amazing post on the 15 habits of people with concealed depression. So relatable xoxo

Discovering Sooz

Depressionis a very serious mental illness that often goes unnoticed for years. People with concealed depression are battling demons within themselves all on their own. They are not sharing their struggles and do not want to burden those around them.

You see, for most people wounds are not something we are open about. We tend to bottle things up and attempt to remedy them on our own. If you are reading this then you must know someone who you feel you need to better understand or you relate to this yourself. The following 15 habits are some of the most common I have noticed in people dealing with concealed depression.

1. The are often quite talented and very expressive.

Alot of famous people have suffered from mental illnesses, and this suffering gives them deeper emotions. If you really think about it, this is in some form a source to…

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