Changing Criminal Behavior Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  950 Words
Date:  2022-05-26

Cognitive restructuring or widely identified as cognitive behavior therapy is often applied to address diverse forms of mental issues. By directly examining behaviors, feelings, and thoughts, it is proposed that a therapist may aid a person suffering from psychological disorders, and most especially mood disorders. This essay defines the purpose of cognitive restructuring theory and the four steps taken in anger control therapy reflecting on case scenarios.

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The primary role of cognitive restructuring is to substitute automatic responses of negative thoughts with more positive ones, providing coping skills which in turn produce a calmer approach to different life stressors (Lee& DiGiuseppe, 2018). The theory assumes that negative thoughts may be expressed through behavior. The theory helps to test concepts for their precision and trying to understand if they are real or aremisguidedinsights.It helps patients by making them aware of negative thought patterns and beliefs and works to change the dysfunctional thoughts. Cognitive restructuring follows four steps: first is the identification of stressing conditions, which is then followed by being aware of beliefs, emotions, and thoughts. The third step is to identify inaccurate or negative thoughts and lastly, is to challenge the negative thoughts (Knapp & Beck, 2008).

In Tom's scenario, the theory of cognitive restructuring could help him in learning to control his anger by knowing how to modify his thoughts.His excessive anger can be handled by following the four steps in cognitive restructuring. Tom would need to make exact reflections on what exactly caused his anger, could it be that he was already angered before facing the situation at the intersection or if he was in a positive mood until the car cut him off. After identifying his cause of anger, the next step would be for him to analyze how the particular situation makes him feel and try to think what the possible reason to his feelings could be. After discussing what Tom felt about the experience and reviewing what he was telling himself after and during the time of the situation, he would need to find any negative thoughts. Lastly Tom would have to reflect on positive thoughts and good experiences and try to weigh which thoughts would be of benefit which could lead him to undesired behavior. This approach would then help Tom knowing how to deal with future irritating situations in a calm way by knowing how to replace negative beliefs with positive ones and be in control of his behaviors (Lee& DiGiuseppe, 2018).

On this one occasion, I handed over a report to my supervisor. He takes the report, and reads through it as I wait for feedback.He thenthanks me for the work but goes on to make some criticisms and claims that I had not done much to his satisfaction. I felt that these comments were unrealistic, got irritated and left the office banging the door behind me. After a few minutes, I noticed I was rudely talking to my friends and decided to sit in a quiet place and calm down so that my moods would not hurt others. I realized that my over anticipation for positive feedback turned out differently and this led to my anger. I then figured out that my moods were not genuine since all my supervisor wanted was for me to score high by correcting my mistakes. I realized my thoughts just misguided by personal interest. After taking a few minutes to reframe the circumstances, I no longer felt angry and went back to my supervisor's office, apologized for my behavior and asked for his guidelines and suggestions on how I would improve my report. In this experience, I applied cognitive restructuring to address negative thoughts by replacing them with positive thoughts.

Even though anger is an ordinary reaction, it has to be expressed appropriately or else it could lead to criminal and social misconducts. Anger activates the body's flight or fight reaction. The adrenaline glands lead to a buildup of stress hormones in the body-cortisol and adrenaline. The person's brain thrusts blood to the muscles preparing for tension. The body temperature, respiration, blood pressure, and heart rate increases and the mind gets alert for any physical reaction (Novaco, 2017). With all this uncontrollable physiological process, a person may end up insulting others or engaging in physical fights which can lead to injuring others or even committing murder and in turn one gets in trouble with the law. At times the best way to react is not to react at all. Reactions worsen situations and can at times be misjudged and used to sue you. Therefore, knowing when and how to respond to a situation can be beneficial. Delaying a reaction, identifying the cause of a reaction and the moods, being aware of thoughts, and distinguishing the negative and positive thoughts can help in controlling one's behavior preventing instances of overacting, and insulting others(Lee& DiGiuseppe, 2018).


Concludingly we can see that cognitive restructuring theory focuses on helping individuals to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. The basic principle behind cognitive behavioral theory is that individual's conduct and reactions can be significantly influenced by something they believe in. If a person could intentionally alter the habit of what they say to themselves, and the personal representations then they could render themselves nicer or constructive. Simply, by modifying how we reason, we can positively modify our feelings and how we react to any situation.


Knapp, P., & Beck, A. T. (2008). Cognitive therapy: foundations, conceptual models, applications and research. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 30, s54-s64.

Lee, A. H., & DiGiuseppe, R. (2018). Anger and aggression treatments: a review of meta-analyses. Current opinion in psychology, 19, 65-74.

Novaco, R. W. (2016). Anger. In Stress: Concepts, Cognition, Emotion, and Behavior, 285-292.

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