Cognitive appraisal has two steps. A person's initial appraisal can be that a situation is irrelevant to their well-being, a danger to their well-being, or helpful; their secondary appraisal determines what the person will do, and involves their perception of their options and resources. These appraisals can be accurate or inaccurate, and helping a person arrive at more apt appraisals is a goal of some modes of cognitive behavioral therapy. When maladaptive cognitive appraisals are thought to cause or maintain distress, impairment, or psychopathology, therapists may assist clients to question the evidence related to an appraisal, notice when irrational fantasies about potential consequences of some situation are linked to the experience of distress or impairment, and begin to respond to these situations in a more rational manner.
- Carpenter, R (April 2016). "A Review of Instruments on Cognitive Appraisal of Stress". Archives of psychiatric nursing. 30 (2): 271–9. doi:10.1016/j.apnu.2015.07.002. PMID 26992882.
- Dienes, K. A.; Torres-Harding, S.; Reinecke, M. A.; Freeman, A.; Sauer, A. (2011). Messer, S. B.; Gurman, A. S., eds. Essential Psychotherapies: Theory and Practice (3rd ed.). New York, NY: The Guilford Press. pp. 143–160.