Cognitive Errors in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Survey of Researchers and Practitioners and an Assessment of the Face Validity of the Cognitive Error Rating Scale

By Milman, Evgenia; Drapeau, Martin | Journal of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies, September 2012 | Go to article overview

Cognitive Errors in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Survey of Researchers and Practitioners and an Assessment of the Face Validity of the Cognitive Error Rating Scale


Milman, Evgenia, Drapeau, Martin, Journal of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies


Abstract

Constructs such as Cognitive Errors (CE) and other types of cognition are crucial to the advancement of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) theory, practice and research. However, much ambiguity remains surrounding the characterization and manifestation of CEs and other types of cognitions (e.g., Kwon & Oei, 1994). In response to this, Drapeau and Perry (2008) developed the Cognitive Errors Rating Scale (CERS) which has the potential to clarify some of this ambiguity and to provide a means of assessing the manifestation of CEs. The present study first investigated whether the ambiguity surrounding the characterization and manifestation of cognition types translates from CBT literature to the experience of researchers and practitioners. An online survey (n=128) indicated that this ambiguity is, in fact, not evident to researchers and practitioners. Demographic variables, including identity as a researcher versus practitioner, attitude toward manual use, and experience in practice, affected participants' assessment of the need for and the benefit from the provision of consensual definitions for cognition types in CBT theory. The study also examined the face validity of the CERS. Results showed that the CERS has strong face validity. The research implications of these findings are discussed.

Keywords: cognitive errors, cognitive distortions, measurement, assessment, Cognitive Error Rating Scale, CERS, face validity, cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT

In conceptualizing psychopathology and its treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) scholarship has postulated the existence of a type of cognition referred to as a cognitive error (CE). Despite the fact that CEs are central to the field of CBT, there is variation in the approaches that have been taken to defining and characterizing CEs. As a result, answers to questions such as "what makes a CE a CE? or "what, if anything, differentiates a CE from an automatic thought or a schema?" differ from one scholar to the next (e.g., Kwon & Oei, 1994). For example, some have characterized CEs as distorted cognitive processes and distinguished them from automatic thoughts which are understood to be the cognitive products of distorted cognitive processes (e.g. Hollon & Kriss, 1984; Kwon & Oei, 1994). Others define CEs and related constructs using a surface versus deep criterion, which represents the degree to which a cognition is accessible to awareness. In this context, both CEs and automatic thoughts are believed to be accessible to awareness (i.e. on the surface) and are distinguished from schemas which are considered inaccessible to awareness (i.e., deep; e.g., Kwon & Oei, 1994; Leahy, 2000).

Researchers and theorists appear to take for granted different terms and characterizations of CEs. This variation has created inconsistency and uncertainty in the field of CBT (Kwon & Oei, 1994). For instance, when given examples of various types of CEs, independent judges are unable to reliably differentiate between them (Krantz & Hammen, 1979). As a result, of the two adult CE measures in existence, the Cognitive Bias Questionnaire acts only as a general gauge of thought distortion rather than a measure of specific types of CEs (Krantz & Hammen, 1979). Similarly, the Cognitive Error Questionnaire (Lefebvre, 1981) probes only four of the dozens of CEs described by CBT theorists (e.g., Dobson, 2010; Leahy, 2000; Sacco and Beck, 1995). Furthermore, measures presumed to target types of cognitions other than CEs are not exclusive of CEs. For example, according to the thought type characterizations presented by Sacco and Beck (1986), item 23 on the Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire (ATQ; Hollon and Kendall, 1980), "I can't do anything well," appears to be both negative thought content characteristic of an automatic thought and distorted thought processing (i.e., over-generalizing) characteristic of a CE. Likewise, item 14 on the Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale (DAS; Weissman & Beck, 1978), "If I fail partly, it is as bad as being a complete failure," is both stable thought content characteristic of a dysfunctional attitude and distorted thought processing (i.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Cognitive Errors in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Survey of Researchers and Practitioners and an Assessment of the Face Validity of the Cognitive Error Rating Scale
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.