Approaches in cognitive restructuring
Talk Sense to Yourself: A program for children and adolescents
The main goal of any type of behaviour-change intervention should be the eventual handing-over of control to the individual concerned so that he or she is responsible for managing the behaviour. A self-control programme developed by Wragg (1989) is a good example of a cognitive behaviour modification programme. The programme Talk Sense to Yourself uses individual coaching and rehearsal to establish self-talk strategies in the student. These self-instructions are used to help the student monitor his or her own reactions to daily problems and control and manage such situations more effectively.
The first stage in intervention is to help the students analyse their own inappropriate behaviour and to understand that what they are doing is not helping them in any way (e.g. lashing out at others, arguing with staff). Next the student is helped to establish both the desire to change and the goals to be aimed for over the following week (to stop doing the negative behaviour and to start doing the more positive behaviour).
Over a number of sessions the student is helped to change negative thoughts and beliefs to more appropriate positive perspectives. A key ingredient in the programme is teaching the student to use covert self-talk statements that serve to inhibit inappropriate thoughts or responses, allowing time for substitution of more acceptable responses - for example, to be assertive but not aggressive; to approach another student in a friendly rather than confrontational manner.
Cognitive approaches overlap significantly with what is known as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). Psychologists may use cognitive behaviour therapy to help a student overcome irrational thoughts, depression, anxieties or phobias. The various forms of CBT are associated more with clinical treatment rather than classroom-based interventions, so are outside the scope of this book. Information is available in Lane.