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Exam technique advice

Model Answer for Question 7 Paper 2: AS Psychology, June 2016 (AQA)

  • Levels: AS, A Level
  • Exam boards: AQA

Section B - Psychopathology

07 Describe at least one strategy that might be used in cognitive behavioural therapy for depression. [4 marks]

Suggested Answer: One strategy used in CBT is to identify and challenge irrational thoughts. This is often achieved through a thought diary. This is where the patient writes down their irrational thoughts and then attempts to ‘dispute’ their own thoughts by writing a more rational point of view, before their next session.

Another strategy used in CBT is where a therapist attempts to dispute the irrational thoughts through logical, empirical and pragmatic disputing. For example, empirical disputing is where a therapist questions whether the patient has any evidence to support their irrational thoughts, and thereby challenges the underlying assumption/evidence of the patient, to help them realise that their thoughts are irrational.  

Exam Hint: This question was answered poorly. Too many students spent time outlining theories of CBT (e.g. Ellis) but failed to describe how the strategies are actually used in CBT. Just listing points like homework, disputing, etc. is not enough to answer this question. 

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