Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Quick Quiz: Cognitive Distortions

Here's a quick quiz from the world of cognitive behavioral therapy. It's a list of fifteen common cognitive distortions taken from PsychCentral. (Some lists have fewer--ten is typical--others may have more.) Can you name the cognitive distortion for each definition or example?

If you're stumped, we've included an alphabetical list at the bottom of the post, which turns this into a matching game.

Don't expect to get all 15. If you can get just a handful of them right, walk tall!

Here are those (edited) definitions and examples:

1. _______________.
Ex: A person may pick out a single, unpleasant detail and dwell on it exclusively so that their vision of reality becomes darkened or distorted.

2. _______________.
Ex: You place people or situations in “either/or” categories, with no shades of gray or allowing for the complexity of most people and situations. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.

3. _______________.
Coming to a general conclusion based on a single incident or a single piece of evidence. If something bad happens only once, we expect it to happen over and over again. A person may see a single, unpleasant event as part of a never-ending pattern of defeat.

4. _______________.
We assume we know what they are feeling and why they act the way they do. In particular, we are able to determine how people are feeling toward us. For example, a person may conclude that someone is reacting negatively toward them but doesn’t actually bother to find out if they are correct. Another example is a person may anticipate that things will turn out badly, and will feel convinced that their prediction is already an established fact.

5. _______________.
We expect disaster to strike, no matter what. Ex: We hear about a problem and use what if questions (e.g., “What if tragedy strikes?” “What if it happens to me?”).

6. _______________.
Believing that what others do or say is in response to us. We also compare ourselves to others trying to determine who is smarter, better looking, etc. An semi-extreme example, “We were late to the dinner party and caused the hostess to overcook the meal. If I had only pushed my husband to leave on time, this wouldn’t have happened.”

7. _______________.
This distortion has us assuming responsibility for the pain and happiness of everyone around us. For example, “Why aren’t you happy? Is it because of something I did?”

8. _______________.
We feel resentful because we think we know what is fair, but other people won’t agree with us. With this distortion, we apply a measuring ruler against many situations judging its “fairness.” .

9. _______________.
We hold other people responsible for our pain. For example, “Stop making me feel bad about myself!” 

10. _______________.
We have a list of ironclad rules about how people are supposed to behave--especially ourselves.

11. _______________.
We believe that what we feel must be true automatically. If we feel stupid and boring, then we must be stupid and boring — “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”

12. _______________.
We expect that other people will alter their behavior to suit us if we just pressure or cajole them enough. We need to alter others because our hopes for happiness seem to depend entirely on them.

13. _______________.
Instead of describing an error in context of a specific situation, a person will attach an unhealthy descriptor to themselves. For example, they may say, “I’m a loser” in a situation where they failed at a specific task. 

14. _______________.
We are continually on trial to prove that our opinions and actions are correct. Being right often is more important than the feelings of others around a person who engages in this cognitive distortion, even loved ones.

15. _______________.
We expect our sacrifice and self-denial to pay off, as if someone is keeping score. We are bitter when the reward doesn’t come.

These are probably not at your fingertips--why would they be? Even CBT therapists will disagree on some of this terminology.  So, here's the complete list (not in order) to match with the above definitions:

Always Being Right.
Control Fallacies.
Emotional Reasoning.
Fallacy of Change.
Fallacy of Fairness.
Global Labeling (or just "Labeling").
Heaven’s Reward Fallacy.
Jumping to Conclusions (or "Mind Reading")--sometimes listed as separate items.
Overgeneralization. (or "Generalizing").
Polarized Thinking (or “Black and White” or "All or Nothing" thinking).
Shoulds (or "Shoulding").

How's you do? Check your answers on the original list.

These quizzes are good for brushing up, but nothing prepares you for the real exam, like exam questions in the same format as the real thing. The link takes you to SWTP--there are lots of realistic exam questions there--hundreds of them--waiting to help prep you for the big test.

However you study, enjoy. And good luck!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Quick Quiz: Psychoanalytic Terminology

Smile, you're learning about psychoanalysis!

How well are you versed in psychoanalytic lingo? Are you ready to face question about the topic on the social work licensing exam? Well, try filling in the blanks below. You'll be still readier afterwards. Text is drawn from this Wikipedia page (the title of which is one of the answers--don't peek!).

Freud's psychic structures:

________ is the unconscious reservoir of the libido, the psychic energy that fuels instincts and psychic processes. It is a selfish, childish, pleasure-oriented part of the personality with no ability to delay gratification.

________ contains internalized societal and parental standards of "good" and "bad", "right" and "wrong" behavior. They include conscious appreciations of rules and regulations as well as those incorporated unconsciously.

________ acts as a moderator between the pleasure sought by the above two, seeking compromises to pacify both. It can be viewed as the individual's "sense of time and place".

Examples of _________________ (title of Wiki page):

_________: when a feeling is hidden and forced from the consciousness to the unconscious because it is seen as socially unacceptable.

_________: falling back into an early state of mental/physical development seen as "less demanding and safer".

_________: possessing a feeling that is deigned as socially unacceptable and instead of facing it, that feeling or "unconscious urge" is seen in the actions of other people.

_________: acting the opposite way that the unconscious instructs a person to behave, "often exaggerated and obsessive". For example, if a wife is infatuated with a man who is not her husband, reaction formation may cause her to – rather than cheat – become obsessed with showing her husband signs of love and affection.

_________: seen as the most acceptable of the mechanisms, an expression of anxiety in socially acceptable ways

_________: shifts sexual or aggressive impulses to a more acceptable or less threatening target; redirecting emotion to a safer outlet; separation of emotion from its real object and redirection of the intense emotion toward someone or something that is less offensive or threatening in order to avoid dealing directly with what is frightening or threatening. For example, a mother may yell at her child because she is angry with her husband.

_________:  Temporary drastic modification of one's personal identity or character to avoid emotional distress; separation or postponement of a feeling that normally would accompany a situation or thought.

_________: A form of isolation; concentrating on the intellectual components of a situation so as to distance oneself from the associated anxiety-provoking emotions; separation of emotion from ideas; thinking about wishes in formal, affectively bland terms and not acting on them; avoiding unacceptable emotions by focusing on the intellectual aspects (isolation, rationalization, ritual, undoing, compensation, and magical thinking).

Okay, that's enough for one post. How'd you do?

There're more of these on the Wiki page.

Looking for realistic exam practice about psychoanalytic theory (and everything else that may show up on the licensing exam)? Try SWTP!

Good luck on the exam!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Changes to the NASW Code of Ethics are Coming

Changes are coming to the NASW Code of Ethics. Announced on the NASW Blog, changes will go into effect on January 1st, 2018. From the post: 
After careful and charged deliberation, the Delegate Assembly voted to accept proposed revisions to the Code that focused largely on the use of technology and the implications for ethical practice.

The list of sections that have changed:

The Purpose of the Code 1.03 Informed Consent 
1.04 Competence 
1.05 Cultural Competence and Social 
1.06 Conflicts of Interest 
1.07 Privacy and Confidentiality 
1.08 Access to Records 
1.09 Sexual Relationships 
1.11 Sexual Harassment 
1.15 Interruption of Services 
1.16 Referral for Services 
2.01 Respect 
2.06 Sexual Relationships 
2.07 Sexual Harassment 
2.10 Unethical Conduct of Colleagues 
3.01 Supervision and Consultation 
3.02 Education and Training 
3.04 Client Records 
5.02 Evaluation and Research 
6.04 Social and Political Action

Stay tuned for updates--we're as eager as you to see what's what. The new edition drops November 1st. Expect practice tests to reflect the changes shortly after that. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

ASWB Exam Audio

However you prefer to commit info to memory--through text, pictures, sounds, osmosis...--it can help liven up social work exam prep to try some variety in your studying style. A little of this, a little of that. Or maybe a lot of both (it's a big exam). Just make sure some of your text-based learning is via practice tests. Prepping for the social work licensing exam without practice questions is a little like preparing for a marathon just by shopping for shoes and energy gel packets.

Budget-minded audio and variety-pack learners rejoice. There's a good bunch of free audio on the net standing ready to help you get ready to pass the ASWB exam. We've hunted down some and list them for you here--three podcasts and a lecture series.

The Social Work Podcast. Audio hours on a variety of social work topics, some of them very much helpful for the exam.



Columbia U. Social Work Lectures.

And, here's some extra material: TED talks for social workers. Not all that exam-related, but lively and possibly helpful.

If you have any to add, please let us know via comments.

Enjoy them all and good luck on the exam!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Quick Quiz: Name That Ego Function

For this quick quiz, we turn to ego psychology. Below, the section about ego functions from Wikipedia's ego psychology page. Only, the names of each ego function have been removed. Your job: fill in the blank. Name each ego function. (Hint: All are two-word phrases unless otherwise specified.) We've answered the first one for you.

This one's hard! If you can get a few of these right, you're way ahead of the game.

Good luck!

Reality Testing: The ego's capacity to distinguish what is occurring in one's own mind from what is occurring in the external world. It is perhaps the single most important ego function because negotiating with the outside world requires accurately perceiving and understanding stimuli.

_____________ : The ability to manage aggressive and/or libidinal wishes without immediate discharge through behavior or symptoms. Problems with [this ego function] are common; for example: road rage; sexual promiscuity; excessive drug and alcohol use; and binge eating.
_____________ : The ability to modulate feelings without being overwhelmed.
_________ (1 word): The capacity to act responsibly. This process includes identifying possible courses of action, anticipating and evaluating likely consequences, and making decisions as to what is appropriate in certain circumstances.
_____________ : The capacity for mutually satisfying relationship. The individual can perceive himself and others as whole objects with three dimensional qualities.

_____________ : The ability to have logical, coherent, and abstract thoughts. In stressful situations, [this ego function] can become disorganized. The presence of chronic or severe problems in conceptual thinking is frequently associated with schizophrenia and manic episodes.
_____________ : A __________  is an unconscious attempt to protect the individual from some powerful, identity-threatening feeling. Initial __________ develop in infancy and involve the boundary between the self and the outer world; they are considered primitive _________ and include projection, denial, and splitting. As the child grows up, more sophisticated __________ that deal with internal boundaries such as those between ego and super ego or the id develop; these _________ include repression, regression, displacement, and reaction formation. All adults have, and use, primitive ________, but most people also have more mature ways of coping with reality and anxiety. (Blanks in paragraph all the same word, sometimes singular, sometimes plural.)
_________ (1 word): The __________ function is the ego's capacity to organize and unify other functions within the personality. It enables the individual to think, feel, and act in a coherent manner. It includes the capacity to integrate potentially contradictory experiences, ideas, and feelings; for example, a child loves his or her mother yet also has angry feelings toward her at times. The ability to _________ these feelings is a pivotal developmental achievement. (Blanks in paragraphs are different forms of the same word.)

How'd you do?

Check your answers on the source page. Read up on ego psychology while you're there, if you feel like it.

This isn't bread-and-butter ASWB exam content, but not a complete waste of time to review. For realistic exam-style questions based directly upon the ASWB content outline, check out SWTP.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Quick Quiz: Psychoanalysis Mad Lib

Hello, exam prepper! A question: How well do you have psychoanalysis understood? Here's a way to find out. Wikipedia lists seven basic tenets of psychoanalysis. We've cut and pasted them and removed key words and phrases. Your job, should you choose to accept it: fill in the blanks below. 

1.a person's development is determined by often forgotten events in [time of life], rather than by inherited traits alone;
2.human behavior and cognition is largely determined by irrational drives that are rooted in the [psychic location];
3.attempts to bring those drives into awareness triggers resistance in the form of [two-word phrase], particularly repression;
4.conflicts between [type of thought] and unconscious material can result in mental disturbances such as neurosis, neurotic traits, anxiety and depression;
5.unconscious material can be found in dreams and [two-word phrase], including mannerisms and slips of the tongue;
6.liberation from the effects of the unconscious is achieved by bringing this material into the [psychic location] through therapeutic intervention;
7.the "centerpiece of the psychoanalytic process" is the [single word], whereby patients relive their infantile conflicts by projecting onto the analyst feelings of love, dependence and anger.

How'd you do?

Check your answers via the original text on the Wikipedia psychoanalysis page.

For questions about psychoanalysis and much, much more--and for exposure to exam-style questions (there aren't mad libs on the ASWB exam), try SWTP practice tests. Tell 'em Pass the ASWB Exam sent you!

Happy studying and good luck!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

"I truly believe it helped me pass the exam!"

A great note in comments from Bridget:

I wanted to write a note of thanks for this blog and your tips! I instantly related to the overwhelmed feeling and as soon as it was normalized my fear of failing left and I became more positive. It flipped a switch in me and I truly believe it helped me pass the exam. That and the FAREAFI/AASPIRINS tips were literally what got me through! Thank you!! 

Congratulations, Bridget!!!

FAREAFI/AASPIRINS, you ask? She means these.

Share your exam success and what got you there by writing us: passtheaswbexam [at] gmail.com

Good luck! Go get 'em!