Advances in Cognitive Theory and Therapy: The Generic Cognitive Model

Annual Review of Clinical Psychology

Vol. 10:1-24 (Volume publication date March 2014)
First published online as a Review in Advance on January 2, 2014


For over 50 years, Beck's cognitive model has provided an evidence-based way to conceptualize and treat psychological disorders. The generic cognitive model represents a set of common principles that can be applied across the spectrum of psychological disorders. The updated theoretical model provides a framework for addressing significant questions regarding the phenomenology of disorders not explained in previous iterations of the original model. New additions to the theory include continuity of adaptive and maladaptive function, dual information processing, energizing of schemas, and attentional focus. The model includes a theory of modes, an organization of schemas relevant to expectancies, self-evaluations, rules, and memories. A description of the new theoretical model is followed by a presentation of the corresponding applied model, which provides a template for conceptualizing a specific disorder and formulating a case. The focus on beliefs differentiates disorders and provides a target for treatment. A variety of interventions are described.


*Author note: A.T. Beck prepared the theoretical section and E.A.P. Haigh prepared the applied section, but they take joint responsibility for both sections.