Dr. Levy's CBT Blog
Insights on Well-Being, Contentment, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
How do we interpret the events that happen in our lives? Cognitive theory can help us get a better understanding of how that happens. The first concepts that you want to familiarize yourself with are 'assimilation' and 'accommodation.' Charlotte Nickersen wrote a very informative - and well illustrated - article with a simple overview of these concept.s
When individuals are confronted with new information that is inconsistent with preexisting schemas (i.e., stored bodies of knowledge), one of two processes occurs: assimilation or accommodation. Assimilation is the incorporation or alteration of new information to fit into existing schemas. Accommodation is the modification of existing schemas (and creation of new ones) to incorporate new events and information.
Although accommodation is necessary to integrate a new experience, individuals sometimes over-accommodate when interpreting input in their environment. Over-accommodation occurs when schema changes are inaccurate and overgeneralized.
Assimilation is interpreting incoming information in light of prior beliefs:
Dr. Daniele Levy is a licensed psychologist offering CBT via Teletherapy from Menlo Park, CA. Her background uniquely combines leading edge training in behavioral sciences with deep expertise coaching and mentoring working professionals in dynamic organizations.